Will Vanitha Mathil build politically volatile Kerala?

Even as tCPI(M)-led government in Kerala is gearing up to build an all-women wall (Vanitha Mathil) on the new year day, the war of words between the ruling side and the opposition is scaling new heights. The all-women wall campaign has been mired in controversy ever since Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan made an announcement to this effect on December 1.

The government’s proposed event is an attempt to raise awareness about its stand on the Sabarimala case as well as to “counter” the Sangh Parivar’s protests against women’s entry to the shrine. The move also symbolises the renaissance besides empowerment of women of the state.

However, some of the political parties and Hindu organisations are opposing the LDF-led government’s 600-km-long human chain of women, from Kasargode to Thiruvananthapuram. The Social Justice Department had revealed that the state government would use Rs 50-crore, which has been earmarked for various schemes to prevent atrocities against women, to organise the all-women wall on January 1.

The war of words on the conduct of the event has become a hot topic among the leaders post the State Attorney submitting before the division bench of the High Court that the funds to the tune of Rs 50-crore, earmarked for Women’s Safety, would be utilised towards the all-women wall.

In fact, there has been an explanation annexed to the tune that the funds would get lapsed if not utilised within this fiscal. However, the Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan, answering a motion by a member, had the other day clarified before the Assembly that no government funds would be used for the purpose of the women wall.

The contradiction in the proclamation made in the Assembly and that submitted before the Judiciary has raised the eyebrows of the opposition and critics. The Chief Minister had reiterated on Friday that the government would not spend from any budgeted fund and the organisers and supporters would manage the funds required.

Despite the Finance Minister bringing in a new theory that the submission before the High Court was only a reference of the funds and nothing to the effect of its utilisation for the wall was mentioned in the submission before the court, but failed to satisfy the logic for the simple reason why then such a reference was made in a matter on the women wall.

In fact, the division bench, chaired by the Chief Justice, had ordered the state government to submit the expenditure details of the wall, post the event, even as the bench denying the prayer to proclaim against the use of government funds.

Opposition leader Mr Ramesh Chennithala, while speaking to the media here on Saturday, said he would move a motion against the Chief Minister for breach. “It is failure of responsibility on the Chief Minister as he had not known what the Attorney had submitted before the High Court,” he pointed out.

There has been opposition from various quarters for spending on a ritual rather than using the funds effectively for rebuilding the state, which has been shattered in the recent floods, considered the worst ever natural calamity in the world in 2018. Meanwhile, the High Court had also imposed some restrictions including keeping away citizens below 18 from participating in the all-women wall.

The Insides Speak.