Leading this year’s Christmas celebrations, Chief Minister Jayalalithaa on Saturday appealed to Christians to engage in noble work and pray for universal welfare.

Addressing a cross-section of religious and political leaders at the launch of the traditional Christmas celebrations that she hosts each year, Ms. Jayalalithaa stressed the importance of faith, which was essential to achieve success in life. Miracles could happen if one believed; without faith one could not succeed, she said.

Ms. Jayalalithaa narrated a parable about how faith produced miracles to an audience that included G. Ramakrishnan, CPI (M) State secretary, D. Pandian, CPI State secretary, R. Sarath Kumar, All India Samathuva Makkal Katchi president, and C.K. Tamilarasan, MLA and general secretary of the Republican Party of India. 

Most speakers expressed their confidence in Ms. Jayalalithaa making a good future Prime Minister.

P.H. Pandian, AIADMK organising secretary, outlined various welfare measures implemented by the Chief Minister for the Christian community. In fact, Tamil Nadu was perhaps the only State in the world that provided assistance for undertaking pilgrimage to Jerusalem, he said.

George Antonysamy, Arch Bishop, Madras-Mylapore archdiocese, demanded Scheduled Caste status for Dalit Christians and inclusion of Christians in the Most Backward Classes list.

V. Devasahayam, Bishop, Church of South India, Diocese of Madras, described her as a “star that was rising from the south and destined towards the north” in an endorsement of Ms. Jayalalithaa as a future Prime Minister. The Chief Minister later cut the cake with a prayer that the food shared would unite everyone more closely in love and brotherhood.