Amit Shah in Mangaluru to stoke Sabari fire?

Bengaluru: BJP national president, Amit Shah, who arrived in Mangaluru Wednesday evening,  is expected to hold a series of meetings on Thursday with the party's Karnataka and Kerala units and RSS leaders of both states.

While there is speculation that Mr Shah could take stock of the political situation in Karnataka following the recent by-polls, which proved most disappointing to the party, BJP insiders say it is highly unlikely that his focus will be on the state when five assembly elections are due in other states.

In their view,  he could be here to discuss the row over the Supreme Court verdict overthrowing an age old tradition and allowing women below 50 into the Sabarimala temple in Kerala.  "He seems to be keen on discussing Sabarimala. With the Supreme Court fixing a date for the  hearing, he may want to draw up a strategy,"  they add, explaining  that if Mr Shah went to Kerala directly to hold talks on the subject, it could be seen as instigating people on Sabarimala. But discussing it in Mangaluru would be safe. 

Also, the party could be interested in keeping the subject alive even after the Sabarimala temple closes after Makara Sankranti, which could put an end to the controversy mid-January.  

The discussion could centre around what strategy needs to be adopted to keep the issue relevant in months to come, claim the BJP leaders.

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