Strike after bishop’s house attacked in Kerala

May 20, 2014 by  
Filed under newsletter-india

Idukki, May 18, 2014: Residents of Idukki district in Kerala called a two-hour strike protesting the attack on the residence of Bishop Mathew Anikuzhikattil of Idukki.

Diocese Of Idukki The strike was called from 2am to 4pm on May 17.

A group of unidentified persons reportedly threw crackers at the bishop’s house at around 10pm on May 16.

The incident happened after the defeat of Congress candidate Dean Kuriakose in the Idukki constituency, where the winner was Joyce George, a Left Democratic Front-backed independent, who was initially considered a rank outsider.

George won with a thumping margin of over 50,000 votes in what has traditionally been a Congress bastion and which was won by Congress leader P.T. Thomas in 2009 with a lead of roughly 75,000 votes.

The political situation in Idukki was made complex after the Catholic Church strongly opposed the recommendations of the Kasturirangan report, which was aimed at the protection of the Western Ghats.

When Congress MP P.T. Thomas spoke in favor of the ecology report, it infuriated the Church. In the resultant turn of political events, Thomas was denied a chance to contest from Idukki and in his place, Dean Kuriakose was fielded.

The Congress had counted on a sure victory in Idukki because P.T. Thomas had not only won the seat convincingly in 2009, but since then the Kerala Congress (J) had also joined the United Democratic Front. But all those calculations were debunked as popular sentiment went against Congress apparently because the party was seen to be backing the Kasturirangan report.

On a different level, Congressmen in Idukki are also annoyed because they feel that the party’s ally, the Kerala Congress, did not fully support Kuriakose. Responding to allegations that the Kerala Congress ditched the Congress candidate in Idukki, Kerala Congress leader Francis George said the allegation was false.

“The Kerala Congress is not responsible for the erosion of votes in Idukki. We have not sabotaged the chances of the Congress candidate. Our party would never adopt such third-rate tactics,” Francis George said.

Kerala’s ruling Congress-led UDF finished with 12 seats out of the 20 in the state, which was considered commendable in the backdrop of a humiliating defeat for Congress across the country. Of the 12 seats, Congress alone accounted for eight seats in Kerala.

– gulf news

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