In an interview to CNN-News18, he refuted allegations that the BJP has taken different stands in the Shani Shingnapur and Sabarimala cases.
Recently, BJP president Amit Shah had referred to the Supreme Court judgment on Sabarimala saying that courts should not give verdicts that cannot be implemented. He had said that the BJP stands strongly by the Ayyappa devotees.
Political critics say that the BJP government in Maharashtra helped implement a similar decision in Shani Shingnapur temple after a Bombay High Court order and was speaking in a different tune in Sabarimala, primarily because Kerala was governed by a Left government.
Fadnavis dismissed such allegations. “This has nothing to do with the Left government. In fact, this has nothing to do with any government. It is about the people. As much as we would want people to change in one day, that does not happen. What SC has said is right, but what Amit Shah has said, is also right,” the Maharashtra CM said.
He claimed that his government could implement the Shani Shingnapur decision only because it could convince people. When pointed out that women in Shani Shingnapur still don’t enter the shrine, he said, “Let us first understand, Shani Shingnapur is not a temple at all. It is about allowing the women on a rock. We could convince people that women should be allowed,” he said, unable to explain how situation was different in both the cases.
Fadnavis said the apex court goes by the Constitution but there is something about people’s feelings and faith. He went on to say that people take time to change and it doesn’t happen in a day.
“In Shani Shingnapur, we were able to tell people that there was no bar for women. People accepted it. Mandate of the court, and people’s sentiments were respected. We need to find a way in Sabarimala where mandate of the court and people’s sentiments are matched,” he added.
When asked if he personally believed that the RSS and the BJP should work to end discriminatory practices in Hinduism against women, he said, “The RSS and the BJP have always been progressive. Until we give equal status to women, this country will never progress. We should remove all those things that are discriminatory against women. BJP and RSS will always support it.”