CPI-M shouldn’t use Kerala saints’ photos to get votes: Church

CPI-M

The CPM should not use the pictures of Saint Alphonsa and Saint Kuriakose Elias Chavara to get votes in Kerala, a Catholic church official said on Tuesday.

The Communist Party of India-Marxist’s state party conference will be held later this week and the roads leading to Alappuzha have been decorated, using red colours. The picture of Saint Alphonsa, who became the first Indian to be canonized in 2008, has been put near a church in Aroor here.

The picture of Father Kuriakose, who was elevated as a saint by the Pope last year, was also there.

“If this (putting pictures) is a move to get a few votes by the CPM, then it would be a hypocritical move,” Paul Thelakkat, spokesperson of the Syro Malabar Catholic Church, told the media.

“They should also accept the teachings of these two saints and not just use their pictures to get votes,” Thelakkat said.

He, however, noted that ‘one good thing is that the CPM has come a long way on their policies from when they first started’ and opined that the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) also should evolve the same way.

Thelakkat’s comments came on a day Prime Minister Narendra Modi vowed to protect all religious groups, in an apparent response to a series of attacks on Christian institutions in New Delhi fuelling concerns that minorities are being targeted by Hindu zealots.

Senior CPM legislator Raju Abraham, however, denied the charges of hypocrisy raised by the Church, and noted the party state conference is a vehicle where ideological issues are discussed and they have always kept pictures of social reformers and such leaders cutting across religions.

“There is no hypocrisy in this because we are not facing an election… instead it’s our conference where things are being discussed. We have done this in the past too and nothing more needs to be seen into this,” the MLA said.

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