Thiruvananthapuram: While the Communist Party of India (Marxist) or CPM has been attacking Nair Service Society (NSS) general secretary G. Sukumaran Nair, a sharp critic of the state's handling of Sabarimala issue, senior Congress leaders are rallying behind him.
With elections three months away, senior Congress leader Oommen Chandy is keen on ensuring the NSS support for the United Democratic Front (UDF) that the party leads in Kerala.
The NSS had always maintained an equidistance with both the ruling CPM-led Left Democratic Front (LDF) and the UDF. But ever since the entry of women below 50 at the hill shrine reached a flashpoint, NSS distanced itself from the ruling coalition.
The Congress had always maintained that they stood with the believers and sought not to ruffle feathers of the NSS.
The former chief minister who is close to Mr Nair blamed his successor Pinarayi Vijayan's attempts to ensure women entry in Sabarimala for the unprecedented violence. He condemned ministers and CPM leaders criticising Mr Nair.
Senior Congress leader Thiruvanchoor Radhakrishnan MLA said Mr Nair had kicked off a "movement" and he had never wavered.
"NSS never had second thoughts on changing the tradition and beliefs in Sabarimala," he told DC.
"But unfortunately, the CPM's stand is to sabotage that by hook or crook. Mr Vijayan also gave the police a free hand inciting violence."Mr Nair was also keen to see a political flag in the "movement" which saw several lakhs of women holding a Namajapa rally across the state.
Hindu MLAs in Congress has taken a cautious stand by not openly speaking in favour of the NSS. A senior legislator said Mr Nair was unhappy with Opposition Leader Ramesh Chennithala over the last couple of years.
"This is why Mr Chandy decided to rally behind him. The party also felt Christian leaders like him and former Rajya Sabha deputy chairman P. J. Kurien should come out in support of the NSS's fight in the Sabarimala issue," he said on condition of anonymity....