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Chandy govt's new headache: Modi's meeting with Kerala bishops
|Narendra Modi with Malankara Orthodox Church Bishops|
J Binduraj | Indian Today | Kochi | February 10, 2014:: The meeting of two bishops of Malankara Orthodox Church with BJP's prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi in Kochi on Sunday has become a new headache for the UDF government in Kerala.
The gesture of the church heads is a clear sign that a faction of Christians is disappointed with the Congress rule in the state.
Interestingly, Kerala Chief Minister Oommen Chandy belongs to the Malankara Orthodox Church, which has a strong presence in eight parliamentary constituencies in the state.
He is the only member in the Kerala assembly belonging to the Orthodox Church faction.
Though the Orthodox Church has officially disassociated itself from the meeting of Chengannur Diocese Metropolitan Thomas Mar Athanasius and Ahmedabad Diocese Geevereghese Mar Julius with the Gujarat Chief Minister, the meeting is seen as a reflection of the growing discontent within the church faction about the Congress rule and the uncaring attitude of the government towards the problems faced by the church.
"The two bishops knew Narendra Modi well and it was just a friendly visit," said a church official.
But Bishop Mar Athanasius told mediapersons after meeting Modi that they would be happy to see Modi as the next prime minister.
"I have been in Gujarat for long and seen the developments Gujarat achieved under Modi. I don't find anything wrong in him becoming the prime minister," said Mar Athanasius.
Ahmedabad Diocese head Geevereghese Mar Julius also praised Modi.
"Modi was not indicted by any court of law for Gujarat riots. Human rights violations are happening in Kerala too. Those who rule Kerala didn't bring development as in Gujarat," he said.
Malankara Orthodox Church has got more than 14 lakh members in Kerala and has a strong presence in Lok Sabha constituencies such as Pathanamthitta, Kottayam, Idukki, Kollam, Ernakulam, Thrissur and Mavelikkara.
The church faction is unhappy that though it has a good number of people, only the Chief Minister represents the faction in Kerala assembly.
The church is also critical about Chandy's stand in disputes between the Orthodox Church and the Jacobite Church.
Chandy can't say anything in favour of Orthodox Church as the other Christian members of the cabinet are from other church factions.
"Unfortunately, we don't even have a district Congress committee president in Kerala," said an Orthodox Church official on conditions of anonymity.
Though Modi's team had invited other bishops from other Christian factions too, only two bishops met him at Ernakulam Guest house on Sunday afternoon. The meeting lasted for around 20 minutes.
Courtesy: India Today.