Kerala archbishop promises BJP Lok Sabha seat in 2024 on condition, triggers row
Thiruvananthapuram/IBNS: An archbishop of Kerala, who is known to be influential, has triggered a row by promising the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) a Lok Sabha seat next year in the Left bastion but on a condition, media reports said.
Joseph Pamplany, the Metropolitan archbishop of Thalassery archdiocese in the Kannur district, has promised the seat if the BJP-governed Centre promises a hike in the rubber procurement price to Rs. 300 per kg.
Pamplany said as quoted by NDTV, "No protest in a democracy has value if it does not translate into votes during elections."
He added, "We will tell the central government that whichever your party may be, we will vote for you if you can increase the price of rubber to ₹ 300. The migrant population will address the issue of your lack of an MP from here."
Slamming the Left and Congress' criticism of the archbishop, Union Minister V Muraleedharan said, "Why was the archbishop trolled after he made the statement? They consider the minorities, the Christians, their vote bank. They want Christians to be their vote bank. This stand is getting exposed."
Father Suresh Mathew, who wrote an article in English weekly India Currents run by Catholic Christians, has also criticised Pamplany's statement.
Father Mathew wrote as quoted by The Indian Express, "Unfortunately, the Christian religious leaders in Kerala have no idea about the ideology behind the BJP, which is the political face of the RSS.
"Their ultimate intention is to establish Hindu Rashtra… Teachings of the official Church are never to align with any political party."
Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his BJP will face a reelection in the Lok Sabha in 2024.