Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Tuesday criticised the Kerala government for the way it has handled the Sabarimala temple controversy, ANI reported. There have been massive protests in the state since September, when the Supreme Court allowed women of menstruating age to enter the hill shrine.

“The conduct of the Kerala Left Democratic Front government on the Sabarimala issue will go down in history as one of the most shameful behaviour by any party and government,” Modi said at a public meeting in Kollam. “We knew that communists do not respect Indian history, culture and spirituality but nobody imagined that they will have such hatred.”

Modi claimed that the National Democratic Alliance government was working day and night for the people in the state, the Hindustan Times reported. “...but it pains me no ends that the Kerala of spiritual and tranquillity, of harmony and happiness has become hostage to the corruption and communalism of two alliance, the Left Democratic Front and the United Democratic Front,” he added.

The prime minister said the Left Democratic Front, led by the Communist Party of India (Marxist), and the Opposition United Democratic Front are two sides of the same coin.

The Bharatiya Janata Party has frequently carried out protests and called shutdowns in the state since the Supreme Court verdict. The saffron party and the state government, led by Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan, have accused each other of fomenting violence in the state. Vijayan has blamed the Sangh Parivar, submitting in a report that 9,489 of the 10,561 people accused of inciting violence were from its outfits.

Modi criticised the Congress of changing its stance on the entry of women into the shrine. “The Congress has multiple stands – they say one thing in Parliament but a different thing in Pathanamthitta,” he added. “Our stand on this issue has always been clear. And the actions of our party match our words.”

Modi was referring to Congress President Rahul Gandhi’s comment last week that both sides in involved in the row have made valid arguments. In October, Gandhi had said that women should be allowed to visit the temple. The Congress had initially welcomed the Supreme Court verdict but soon the party’s state unit changed its stance and participated in protests to keep women of menstruating age away from the temple.