Archbishop from Kerala sends terse message to Sonia, says Catholics ready to support other parties
news Monday, January 05, 2015 - 05:30
The News Minute | August 16, 2014 | 08:27 am IST The archbishop of Thrissur, Mar Andrews Thazhath in a terse letter to Congress President Sonia Gandhi, warned her that the Catholic community will not hesitate to move away from the Congress lead by 'arrogant' leaders. The letter, which was written in the first week of August, titled 'discrimination/side lining of Catholic communities by Congress led Kerala' has been sent to both Sonia and Rahul Gandhi. The archbishop's main grouse is about the way some leaders have made education and educational institutions their private property, a sector that was widely controlled by Christians in Kerala. He says, "I'm pained to note that because of the confrontational policy of different governments of Kerala, the system of education in Kerala has become a chaos. People are forced to criticise that some departments like that of education are administered by the controlling political party as their private property." The Archbishop goes on to warn Sonia Gandhi that 'the approach of some arrogant Congress leaders hurt their feelings and sentiments' and if things are not changed, his community will move away from the Congress. He says, "The Congress party is under impression that Catholics vote for party, come what may. The political scenario in India is changing. The political equations in Kerala are also changing. Catholics are sending strong signals to the Congress that they are open to other political parties with secular credentials. They may even consider supporting individual candidates in some constituencies where Christians are a majority." The Archbishop reminds Sonia Gandhi about the good relations that former Chief Minister and Congress leader K Karunakaran shared with Catholic bishops. The Archbishop concludes that the 'Congress machinery is not functioning efficiently for the common people' and asks Sonia Gandhi to intervene. With just two years to go for assembly elections, the Congress is hoping that Kerala is one bastion they can retain. At a time when internal battles between Chief Minister Oommen Chandy and Pradesh Congress President VM Sudheeran is at an all time high, the bishop's letter has brought more bad news for the Congress. Though lately the Catholic church has been more open towards the BJP government at the centre, this warning that the community is ready to move away from the Congress does have grave implications. (Christians constitute 19% of Kerala's population and a large chunk of these are Catholics)
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