A statement made by Mar Joseph Pamplany, Arch Bishop of Roman Catholic church, Thalassery in north Kerala, was criticised by the ruling Communist Party of India and even the Congress in which he said that the church believers will help the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) to elect its first MP from the state.
Addressing a meeting of the Catholic farmers’ conference on Sunday in the north Kerala town, the Bishop said that there was no need to keep the ruling party of the country away from the church.
“The church has no aversion or untouchable attitude towards the BJP. After all, it is ruling party of the country. If the framers’ problems are addressed, we will vote for BJP,” he said.
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Natural rubber is priced between ₹130 and ₹150 now and he wanted to Centre to hike it to ₹300 a kilogram. “If the Union government raises the price of rubber, the church will naturally help the BJP to elect a member of parliament from the state,” the Bishop said.
The church usually does not support any party, but it will support any Union or state government that will stand with farmers, he said, adding there is no need to misinterpret it as an alliance between the church and the BJP.
The Bishop said that rubber farmers reside in the hilly terrains where there are incursions of wild animals and at the same time, the low price of rubber in the state have made their life miserable.
Criticising the Bishop’s statement, All India Congress Committee (AICC) general secretary K C Venugopal said, “Hope the Bishop had forgotten about the attack against church and priests in north Indian states. We have no idea in which context he made such a statement.”
“Nobody will keep a hen with fox. How can the church support protagonists of Hindu Rashtra”? asked state minister for local self-government M B Rajesh.
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The BJP, however, has lauded the Bishop’s statement. “We welcome his statement. The party notched a big win in Christian majority north-eastern states and we hope it will reflect in Kerala as well,” BJP state president K Surendran said, adding the party will take up rubber farmers’ plight with the Union government.
Surendran also criticised the Congress and CPI(M) for instilling a “fear psychosis” in minority communities to keep them as mere vote banks.