CM, Devaswom chief lock horns at Sabarimala review meet
Pampa: Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan and Travancore Devaswom Board president Prayar Gopalakrishnan locked horns at the meeting held here on Thursday to discuss the preparations to be made at Sabarimala ahead of the 'mandalam' season. The Devaswom Board chief rejected three proposals made by the Chief Minister at the meet.
One of the suggestions of the CM was that the practice of 'VIP queue' should be stopped, but Prayar did not accept it.
Pinarayi enquired if two kinds of tickets -- of Rs 1,000 or Rs 1,200 -- could be introduced like in Tirupati. The Devaswom chief replied that there was a special queue only for those who take tickets of above Rs 500 for pujas. There are no VIP queues, he clarified.
Pinarayi also proposed that Sabarimala Temple be opened on all days of the year. Prayar pointed out that the temple could be opened only as per the wish of the deity, following all customs and rituals.
The CM, then, said that Prayar was speaking keeping political differences in mind. "We both are politicians. Prayar spoke rudely. People say I, too, speak that way," Pinarayi said while explaining the decisions of the meeting.
The CM also gave some suggestions regarding rope-way and proposed setting up an airport at Sabarimala for the benefit of pilgrims.
Prayar said at the meet that only those women belonging to a particular age group were denied entry to Sabarimala, and not all women.
Ministers Kadakampally Surendran, E Chandrashekaran, A K Saseendran, K T Jaleel, K K Shailaja, Mathew T Thomas were among those who attended the meet. Earlier, it was planned to bring all ministers and other officials to Sannidhanam and evaluate the present situation there. But the venue was changed to Ramamurthy mandapam in Pampa following heavy rains.
The CM convened the review meeting well in advance deviating from the usual routine. Generally, the evaluation meet is held just before the mandalam season. Ahead of this, a meet was held in Thiruvananthapuram on July 20.
Officials in the district-level had been given directions and today’s meet deliberated if all those directions were followed or not. Political leaders and people's representatives from the area also attended the meet.