‘Communists not against religion’: Kerala minister defends visit to seer

Kerala Finance Minster Thomas Isaac and Public Works and Registration Minister G Sudhakaran received blessings from Bharati Tirtha Swamy.
‘Communists not against religion’: Kerala minister defends visit to seer
‘Communists not against religion’: Kerala minister defends visit to seer
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On Thursday morning, just as Bharati Tirtha Swamy, the pontiff of the Sringeri Sharada Peetham was getting ready to meet the public, he had two special visitors.

The seer from the powerful mutt in Karnataka, who was on a visit to Kerala’s Alappuzha had Thomas Isaac, Kerala’s Finance Minister and G Sudhakaran, Minister for Public Works and Registration visit him at the STV Centenary hall.

Pictures of the two Communist leaders taking blessings from the seer have been published by many BJP leaders on social media. Mocking the ministers, BJP State General Secretary K Surendran titled the pictures ‘Udaranimitham’ or ‘For making a living’.

Many have called the visit to the pontiff ‘political opportunism’ by the Left that otherwise projects itself as against trappings of religion.

Defending his decision to receive blessings from the pontiff, G Sudhakaran told TNM, “It was a noble act and there was no need to ask the party's permission. We went there as ministers. The seer had come as a guest for a government function and he was staying in my constituency. Communists never oppose religion, we are only against religious hypocrisy and religious divides.”

Terming their actions as ‘100% right’, the minister said, “We can oppose an individual's ideologies, but not the individual as such. If that is the case, why should we welcome PM Modi who is in town tomorrow? He is a former RSS man, so should we not welcome him?”

He termed K Surendran’s criticism as unwarranted and said that the BJP leader had ended up mocking the seer.

So why did the ministers present the seer with fruits? “The seer does not accept anything else as gift, so we gave him fruits,” says Sudhakaran.

Media reports claim that while the two ministers were on their way out, the seer gave them an apple each as his form of blessing. He gave Sudhakaran an extra apple and said that it was meant for the Chief Minister.

Ironically, this incident comes days after another minister from the Pinarayi cabinet removed a throne meant for the seer at a government function.

On Sunday, Kadakampally Surendran, the state Minister for Cooperatives, Tourism and Devaswom, removed a throne that had been arranged for the same seer at a function in the premises of the Sree Padmanabhaswamy temple.

The minister had later said that there was no space for royal thrones in a government event.

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