Catholicos to meet Sonia
Baselius Mar Thoma Paulose-11, Catholicos of the East and Malankara Metropolitan, will meet AICC president Sonia Gandhi in New Delhi on Saturday to request that members of the Malankara Orthodox Syrian Church be fielded as Congress candidates for the April 13 Assembly elections.
After a meeting in this connection at the Malankara Bishop's house here on Wednesday, George Joseph, secretary of the Malankara Association, said that the Orthodox church would ask both the United Democratic Front and the Left Democratic Front to allot a total of 11 Assembly seats in Central Travancore to its members.
“The Orthodox church feels that the community is considerably strong in the eleven segments. Out of the eleven demanded from the UDF, nine are from the Congress and two from the Kerala Congress (M). The Malankara Metropolitan will meet Ms. Gandhi regarding the nine seats from the Congress,” Dr. Joseph said. He said that when the Orthodox church sought a seat to its community member from the UDF in the last Lok Sabha elections, it was promised that the demand would be met in the Assembly elections and the next Lok Sabha elections. Hence the community gave up the demand for a seat in the last Lok Sabha election.
But now the community felt that it was being sidelined by the UDF, Dr. Joseph said. “We are concentrating on the UDF because more than 70 per cent of the community members are with that front. Other communities are using pressure tactics to enlist their members as candidates. Only those in the Orthodox church are being ignored,” he said.
Dr. Joseph said that those projected by the community as candidates were not novices in politics. “They are top-level leaders of the Congress and the Kerala Congress (M). The community can ensure the victory of candidates from all the 11 constituencies, be it the UDF or the LDF,” he said.
If community members contest against each other in any constituency, the community would go for conscience vote, he added.