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Temples need freedom from state control, says BJP Kerala chief

JP president Kummanam Rajasekharan

Thiruvananthapuram: Newly appointed Kerala BJP president Kummanam Rajasekharan on Saturday said temples should be freed from state control and the land that they have lost illegally should be returned to them.

“There is freedom for the churches and mosques but not for temples and we are of the firm opinion that temples should be run by devotees in a democratic manner,” Rajasekharan said here in his first interaction with the media after becoming BJP state head on Friday.

He said about 1300 temples were being run by the state-owned Devasom Boards.

“Why is it that boards should run this? It should be left to the devotees as it happens in the remaining 4000 temples in the state, which are run by devotees.”

Rajasekharan (63) noted that politicians were at the helm of affairs at all the major temples that brought in revenue, including Sabarimala and Sree Krishna Temple at Guruvayoor.

Only 30 of the 1300 temples run by boards were in profit, he added.

Rajasekharan also called for an end to the encroachment of land and property of the temples.

“More than 25,000 acres of land of various temples have been lost and we demand that it should be given back to them.”

The appointment of Rajasekharan, a full time RSS pracharak, came as a surprise to many as he had never occupied any political post in the party and was mostly associated with Hindu Aikya Vedi, RSS, or pro-Hindu cultural outfits.

“I see my appointment as a responsibility and with this am entering a new phase. Don’t forget that Deendayal Upadhyaya was president of Jana Sangh. I don’t see any disqualification for me in heading the state BJP,” said Rajasekharan.

He said Kerala politics was set for a great transformation.

“The rival fronts in Kerala (the CPI-M-led Left opposition and the ruling Congress-led UDF) are just one and the same and from now on in Kerala it would be the BJP on one side and all the rest on the other side.”

The two rival political fronts had between them touched new records in corruption and “we will be emphasising on value-based politics,” said Rajasekharan.

His first task would be to select his team and then he would prepare a master plan for Kerala, said Rajasekharan.