Kerala Assembly Elections | BJP-Church talks won’t impact election: Mani

KC(M) chairperson says party has integrated well with the LDF

March 15, 2021 12:21 am | Updated 01:36 am IST - KOTTAYAM

The attempts by the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) to align with various Churches and expand its social base in the State will not have much of an impact on the Assembly elections, says Jose K. Mani, chairperson of the Kerala Congress (M) [KC(M)].

“The BJP, like any other party, is reaching out to different social groups ahead of the election and the meetings that it held with the Churches should be viewed in this context. None of these Churches will intervene in mainstream politics though they constantly raise the issues faced by their people,” observed Mr. Mani, in an interaction with The Hindu .

The KC(M), at the same time, shares a common ground with these Churches as most of the social issues raised by them, be it pertaining to farmers or the allocation of title deeds, are the focal points of the regional party as well.

‘No political angle’

Mr. Mani refused to view a scheduled discussion between the BJP national leadership and representatives of the Jacobite Syrian Church in New Delhi as a political development. “The Jacobite Church has approached different parties, including those in power, for a solution to its dispute with the Orthodox Church. This forms the background of these discussions,” he added.

As to how far the KC(M)’s association with the Left Democratic Front (LDF) has been fruitful at the grassroots, Mr. Mani said the party had integrated well with the coalition over three to four months. “Our decision to leave the United Democratic Front (UDF) and later to join the LDF had come at a very crucial time. The State was on the throes of an all-important election to its three-tier bodies, and this helped us set a platform for the integration process,” noted Mr. Mani.

‘Issues addressed’

The LDF government, in return, has addressed the key issues highlighted by the KC(M), including title deeds in Idukki, appointment of 3,000-odd teachers in aided schools, increasing the support price for natural rubber and declaring the minimum support price for 16 crops, he said.

Hence, issues regarding the allocation of Piravom and Kuttiyadi seats could be settled without further ado. “The controversy over the candidacy of Sindumol Jacob in Piravom, triggered by a ticket aspirant out of frustration, was settled immediately on an intervention by the CPI(M) district secretary in Piravom. The situation in Kuttiyadi was different, but that too could be addressed after consultations with the CPI(M),” he said.

On leaving UDF

On his decision to leave the UDF, Mr. Mani said the Congress, as the leading partner of the coalition, had always pursued an agenda of slicing and subsuming its smaller partners.

“The injustice meted out to the KC(M) in the name of a post in a local body was a part of this agenda. Now that the Congress itself is facing disintegration in Kerala, we see it as an opportunity to expand our presence in the State,” Mr. Mani said.

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