Kerala archbishop’s offers to help BJP open its account in 2024 general elections in state; sparks row
After Kerala’s influential archbishop of Thalassery archdiocese in Kannur district, Joseph Pamplany made a controversial remark of offering to help the BJP open its account in Kerala in the 2024 general elections if it increases the rubber procurement price to ₹300 per kg, he has now clarified that he made the statement on behalf of farmers distressed due to the falling price of rubber, and not on behalf of the Catholic Chruch.
As per a NDTV’s report, Pamplany said that he had mentioned BJP in his statement as it is the ruling party at the Centre and it would welcome such an announcement from any political party.
Amid archbishop remark, BJP accuses Left and Congress for treating Congress like vote bank
Meanwhile on Monday, the BJP accused the ruling Left in Kerala and the Congress of treating Christians in the state like a “vote bank” and not allowing them to express their views freely if they favour the party in power at the Centre.
Addressing a press conference, Union Minister V Muraleedharan welcomed Pamplany’s statement that their community can help the BJP if the party addresses the concerns of farmers.
He, however, accused the Left and the Congress — the two main parties in the state — of targeting those religious leaders of Christians whose statements tend to support the BJP.
Joined by BJP spokesperson Tom Vadakkan and former Union minister K J Alphons, Muraleedharan said the bishop has been targeted, including online, for his views.
“Do the CPI(M) and the Congress say they (Christian priests) don’t have the freedom to express their views if that indirectly support the government of India. It is a ridiculous situation that both these parties claim to be pro-minorities but if Christian leaders speak some facts which may favour the government of India, then they pounce upon them,” the BJP leader from the state said.
The blame game rages on
He also targeted the Congress for blaming the BJP for alleged attacks on churches, saying these incidents have been reported from Chhattisgarh where the country’s main opposition party is in power. He noted that the BJP is in power in states such as Goa and those in the northeast where Christians are in large numbers.
The minister said earlier an archbishop, who had raised the issue if “narcotics jihad”, was also targeted by the two parties.
Speaking at a meeting attended mostly by farmers, Pamplany had said,”No protest in a democracy has value if it does not translate into votes during elections.”
“We will tell the central government that whichever your party may be, we will vote for you if you can increase the price of rubber to ₹300. The migrant population will address the issue of your lack of an MP from here,” he had said.
The archbishop’s statement comes a couple of weeks after Prime Minister Narendra Modi, buoyed by his party’s poll performance in three minority dominated northeastern states, said the BJP alliance would form a government in Kerala considering the increasing support of minorities for the saffron party.
In Kerala, the rubber plantation growers are under distress as the production cost of rubber is reportedly higher than the trading price of ₹120 to ₹150 per kg.
(With inputs from PTI)
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