To prove his party’s “Sabka Saath Sabka Vikaas” adage, Prime Minister Narendra Modi is scheduled to hold discussions with various church leaders in Kochi on Monday, when he starts his two-day visit of the state.
Meanwhile, in a significant development on the eve of the PM’s visit, UDF’s Pathanamthitta district chairman Victor Thomas joined BJP in the presence of party senior Prakash Javadekar and state president K Surendran on Sunday.
BJP sources said leaders of eight denominations of the church will meet the PM. Syro-Malabar church major archbishop cardinal George Alencherry, Malankara Orthodox church head catholicos Baselios Mar Thoma Mathews-III, Syro Malankara Catholic church head major archbishop cardinal Baselios Cleemis catholicos, Verapoly archbishop Joseph Kalathiparambil, Jacobite church metropolitan trustee Joseph Mor Gregorios, Knanaya church head Mar Mathew Moolakkatt, Knanaya metropolitan Kuriakose Mor Severios, and Chaldean Syrian church head Mar Awgin Kuriakose are expected to hold discussions with the PM.
Insiders, however, said they haven’t received the final list of the church representatives with whom the PM is to hold talks. “Many church leaders have expressed their wish to meet the PM. We have sent the list of such leaders to the Prime Minister’s Office. We have asked them to undergo RT-PCR tests and get ready for the meeting. But it is up to the PMO to finalise the list,” shared a BJP leader from the coastal state.
Meanwhile, amid speculations about the launch of a political party backed by the BJP in the state, Kerala Congress (Joseph) deputy chairman and former MLA Johnny Nellore on Wednesday resigned from the party and announced plans to form a “secular party with national relevance.”
Different church denominations have different issues, ranging from raising the minimum support price for rubber and a better deal for farmers in general, improving the lot of the coastal communities to help negotiate an amicable settlement between feuding church groups. Also on the agenda is talk about rising attacks against Christians in the country.
According to Kerala BJP president K. Surendran, the PM and BJP will also have their task cut out regarding the long-standing church feud between the Orthodox and Jacobite factions.
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