Though a formal announcement is due about his candidature, former Gujarat cadre IAS officer Christy Fernandez on Thursday met three senior bishops of Catholic Church to seek their blessings amid reports that State secretariat of CPI(M) has decided to field him as an LDF-backed independent from Ernakulam Lok Sabha constituency.
A devout Catholic from Kollam and secretary of then President Prathibha Patil, Mr. Fernandez visited Syro Malabar Church’s Ernakulam-Angamaly archbishop Cardinal Mar George Alancherry, Latin Catholic Church’s Verapoly Archbishop Dr. Francis Kallarakkal and Kochi Bishop Joseph Kariyil on Thursday morning and held discussions with them.
Mr. Fernandez reportedly told bishops that a formal announcement about his candidature would be made only after the CPI (M) State committee ratifies the list of party candidates. With the retired IAS officer being pitted against sitting MP and Union Minister of State K.V Thomas, the constituency with a sizable population of Latin Catholic community will witness a contest between two of its members.
Talking to The Hindu after meeting bishops, Mr. Fernandez expressed confidence that the Left would wrest the seat from the Congress this time. Saying that a strong anti-incumbency wave was prevailing against the Congress governments in the Centre and the State, he added that LDF candidate could capitalise on the prevailing situation very easily.
He played down the political dimensions of his meetings with bishops saying he regularly meets them. A native of Clappana in Kollam district, Mr. Fernandez said he had deep roots in Kochi with his family shifting here 17 years ago. “I will contest once the Left gives me a green signal and I will be a Left-backed independent,” he said. Though he was never a part of the Left movement in the country, he said he always preferred working for the poorest of the poor.
When asked about his equation with BJP’s prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi, under whom he was principal secretary for urban development, Mr. Fernandez said he still maintained a cordial relationship with Mr. Modi. “He is undoubtedly an effective administrator. But we have to judge each person on the basis of the aftereffects of their actions. So I have reservations about him,” said Mr. Fernandez.
Settled in Kaloor in the city, Mr. Fernandez said it was the pro-poor attitude of the LDF that attracted him to it. The Congress needed to be more accountable to the public, he said.