Finance Minister T.M. Thomas Isaac, stating that the Church does not have to set voting preferences for the public, came down heavily on Union Minister Vayalar Ravi for “justifying” an alleged call by the Church to the faithful to vote for believers.

Addressing a function to mark the release of the third edition of his book ‘Lottery Vivadam: Mattoru Choothattam' (‘Lottery Controversy: Another Gambling') here on Wednesday, Mr. Isaac said the call to vote for believers was out of place in a secular democracy. Voting should not be on the basis of religion, but on the basis of politics, failing which it would not be long before calls for voting were made with the religion being specified.

The Congress was failing to foresee this dangerous outcome, proof of which was Mr. Ravi's statement on Wednesday at Thrissur, apparently justifying the call to vote for believers. A Central Minister speaking in that manner, particularly when the Election Commission had prohibited even pastoral letters, showed that the Congress had left behind the secular values and principles upheld by leaders like Jawaharlal Nehru, Mr. Isaac said.

Mr. Isaac said his book, which has its third edition coming out in the same month as the first edition, dwelt upon the fact that the lottery controversy was raked up by vested interests to divert public attention from the actual issues with an eye on the forthcoming local body elections. The issues that were buried by the controversy were dealt with in detail in the book, the fourth edition of which would include the Abhishek Manu Singhvi episode, he added.

Critic Sukumar Azhikode, who released the book, brought out by Chintha Publications, by handing over a copy to Coir and Cooperation Minister G. Sudhakaran, said political controversies these days had stooped to the level of mudslinging and were more of street-fights than fact-based arguments.

Mr. Sudhakaran also spoke. Communist Party of India-Marxist district secretary C.B. Chandrababu presided.

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