Priests, pastors campaign for BJP in Kanyakumari

May 19, 2016 by  
Filed under newsletter-india

Nagercoil, May 14, 2016: Two weeks ago, as temperatures soared and weary campaigners tried to sharpen their pitch, Nagercoil residents spotted Roman Catholic priest from suburban Chennai, Father David R Thomas, campaigning for Nagercoil BJP candidate M R Gandhi.

Since the 2014 election, some priests have broken ranks to back the Hindutva party, going against the Church’s diktats and even ignoring death threats.

Catholic priest Father Valeriyan of Kanyakumari confirmed to Times of India that this time there would be no ‘secret’ communication to the congregation or directive as to which party they should vote for. “

A few days ago, notices were quietly passed around regarding the Roman Catholic (RC) Church’s preference for the DMK-Congress alliance,” said Father Valeriyan.

In Madurai, TN Bishop Council President and Archbishop, Anthony Pappusamy announced they had decided to support Congress and DMK to back secular and democratic values.

In the border district of Kanyakumari, a BJP pocket borough, the party has gained support from an unexpected quarter – sections of the Roman Catholics and the Pentecostal congregation. The district dominated by the 50-odd Catholic faiths and the nadars (OBC) has seen parties fielding mostly candidates from these groups for assembly and Lok Sabha elections. And being a communally divided district, BJP has won in Kanyakumari LS seat whenever Christian votes have split.

Union minister and senior BJP leader Pon Radhakrishnan bucked the trend in the 2014 elections, to win from Kanyakumari. The 60% or so Christian voters in the district, with six assembly constituencies, have backed Congress in the past. With some RC priests in Kerala “openly” backing BJP, Kanyakumari too has been tinged with the saffron ideology.

“When I needed a passport, Pon Radhakrishnan helped me get one. So, now, I campaign for him every election,” said pastor T Clarat, called ‘kadavulin manithan’ or ‘messenger of god’ by members of Pentecostal faith. The pastor received threats to his life for campaigning for BJP.

– matters india

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