Congress President Rahul Gandhi on Saturday said he sees validity in both sides of the argument in the Sabarimala temple controversy, The News Minute reported. This was different from his view in October, when he said that women should be allowed to go to the temple.
Speaking at a press conference in the United Arab Emirates, Gandhi said the matter is not clear-cut. “I see validity in both sides of the argument,” Gandhi said. “I believe that tradition needs to be protected, and I also see validity in the argument that women must be allowed to enter the temple.”
The Congress had initially welcomed the Supreme Court’s verdict in September, allowing women of menstruating age to enter the Sabarimala shrine in Kerala. However, soon after, the party’s Kerala unit changed its stance and participated in massive protests that kept women away from the temple until earlier this month.
Gandhi had in October opposed the Kerala unit’s stance and said: “My stand is against the party’s stand. Men and women are equal. Women should be allowed to go anywhere they want.”
At the same press meeting, Gandhi justified last week’s remarks in which he had mocked Prime Minister Narendra Modi for asking Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman to defend him in Parliament against corruption allegations in the Rafale deal.
“Prime Minister Narendra Modi has helped Anil Ambani steal Rs 30,000 crore and the House of the people, Lok Sabha, is where he should have defended himself but he chose to send another person and that person happened to be a woman,” the Hindustan Times quoted Gandhi as saying.
“I would have made a very similar comment if it had been a man,” he went on to say. “Do not impose your sexism on me. I am very clear that the prime minister should have delivered that defence but he did not have the guts.”
The National Commission for Women had issued a notice to him on Thursday for his “misogynist and offensive” comment against a woman.