Sabarimala opens for 'Uthram festival', Covid-19 negative certificate mandatory

The Sabarimala temple opened on Thursday morning for the "Uthram festival" at the hill shrine in Kerala. The temple will remain open till March 28. Covid-19 negative certificate is mandatory for devotees who want to visit the temple. The issue of Sabarimala women's entry is back in the limelight in the state, as both the Congress-led United Democratic Front (UDF) and BJP-led National Democratic Front (NDA) are using it as a major poll plank for campaigning in the ensuing assembly election. Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan has said that the state government will take a decision after consulting with all believers once the final verdict on the temple comes. Congress and BJP have mounted pressure on the Left to clarify if they would submit a new affidavit in Supreme Court on Sabarimala. The election for the 140-member Kerala Assembly will be held on April 6. The counting of votes will take place on May 2.