Bharatiya Janata Party President Amit Shah has sparked a fresh controvesry after he greeted the people of Kerala for 'Vamana Jayanthi' instead of Onam.
Shah raked up a storm after publishing a poster wishing Vaman Jayathi on his Facebook page and Twitter handle.
The poster carried an image of Vaman, the fifth avatar of Lord Vishnu, stepping on the head of King Mahabali, the famous mythological king popular in Malayali lore.
Reacting over the entire situation Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan has hit out at Shah and demanded an apology for the insulting the religious sentiments of the Malayalee community.
"By eulogising Vamana and denigrating Mahabali in his Facebook post, BJP national president Amit Shah has humiliated Kerala and Malayali's national festival Onam. The belief behind Onam is of equality and egalitarianism and it is a festival celebrated by all cutting across caste, creed, religion and other barriers," Vijayan said in a statement.
Asserting that during Mahabalis's rule there was no evil, cheating and wrong doings and the people lived in harmony, the Chief Minister added that Malayalis see Mahabali as the symbol of equality and egalitarianism.
Shah's post received numerous reactions, mostly critical of the BJP leader for distortion.
Kerala state Public Works Minister G. Sudhakaran has asked for a correction. "No idea why he is trying to distort things as this is totally wrong. The need of the hour is to see that he corrects it immediately," he said.
State BJP president Kummanem Rajashekeran, however, downplayed the issue, saying it was just a matter of discussion and nothing more should be attributed to it.
Shah's post came at a time when the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) magazine 'Kesari' ran an article calling for the worship of Lord Vishnu, through Vamana, instead of King Mahabali.
This is incidentally against the fundamentals of Onam celebration where Mahabali occupies the centre stage.
According to the legend surrounding Mahabali and Onam, it is said that Vishnu disguised as a dwarf -- Vamana -- had appeared before Mahabali acting like a poor Brahmin.
Mahabali, known for his generous nature, granted Vamana as much land as he wanted, when Vamana asked for only a piece of land.
Vamana said that he just wanted as much land as could be covered by his three steps.
The King was surprised to hear that but agreed, and soon Vamana began expanding to cosmic proportion.
With his first step Vamana covered the entire earth, and with the other step he covered the sky. He then asked King Mahabali where he should keep his third step.
Mahabali, realising that he was no ordinary Brahmin, with folded hands bowed before Vamana and asked him to place his last step on his head so that he could keep his promise.
The Brahmin placed his foot on the head of the King, pushing him to 'pathala' -- the nether world.
The king requested Vamana to reveal his true identity, whereupon Lord Vishnu appeared before the King in person.
Vishnu explained to Mahabali that the exercise was a test, in which Mahabali had passed. Vishnu then granted him a boon.
Mahabali requested for a visit to Kerala each year on Onam to see his people.
Onam is a tribute to the sacrifice of King Mahabali.