Congress Flip-Flop On Sabarimala: Now Rahul Gandhi Says ‘Can’t Take Open-And-Shut Position’

DUBAI — Congress President Rahul Gandhi, who had earlier argued that all women should be allowed to enter the Sabarimala temple, on Saturday said he cannot take an “open-and-shut position on the issue as there is validity in the arguments of both the sides.

Speaking at a press conference in Dubai on Saturday, Gandhi said the issue is “much more complicated” and he would leave it to the people of Kerala to decide on the matter.

He admitted that his initial position on the Sabarimala issue was different than what it is today.

“I have heard both the arguments, my initial position was different than what my position is today. After I heard the arguments of people of Kerala, I can see validity in both the arguments that traditions need to be protected. I can see validity in the argument that women should have equal rights. So I would not be able to give you an open-and-shut position on this,” Gandhi said.

“After I spoke to the people in Kerala and the Pradesh Congress Committee team in the state and they explained the details, I realised that the issue is much more complicated and both sides have a valid position. I would leave it to the people to decide on this,” he said.

After the Supreme Court verdict, Gandhi had said that all women should be allowed to enter the Sabarimala temple, noting that his view on the issue was different from that of his party’s Kerala unit.

The Congress in the capital had welcomed the Supreme Court verdict, while the party MPs from Kerala opposed it.

The shrine was out of bounds for girls and women between 10 and 50 years of age. The Supreme Court’s September 28 verdict allowed women of all age groups to offer prayers at the hill shrine dedicated to Lord Ayyappa.

The southern state witnessed massive protests from the right-wing organisations after the Left-led state government decided to implement the Supreme Court ruling.