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Conversion of Hagia Sophia, ‘Love Jihad’ to be a factor in central Kerala constituencies

Issues like conversion of the traditional Hagia Sophia church in Turkey to a mosque, incidents of ‘Love Jihad’ and ‘harassment’ of nuns in a shifting practice in Uttar Pradesh, will be mirrored in the April 6 meeting polls, say voters in Christian dominated Central Kerala constituencies.

Several heavyweights, together with senior Congress chief and former Chief Minister Oommen Chandy, Kerala Congress(M) chief Jose Ok Mani, a key accomplice of the CPI(M)-led LDF, two Rajya Sabha BJP MPs Ok J Alphons and Suresh Gopi are attempting their luck from the constituencies, unfold throughout Ernakulam, Idukki, Kottayam and elements of Thrissur.

Central Kerala is taken into account a stronghold of the Congress led UDF, however the LDF put up a sturdy present in the December 2020 civic polls, successful many native physique seats.

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  • BJP-led NDA can be attempting to make inroads in these areas by reaching out to the Catholic Church, elevating the problems like “Love Jihad” and “Hagia Sophia”.

    Their campaigns noticed senior BJP leaders, together with union ministers, supporting the Church’s views on the problem.

    Both the rival fronts, the LDF and UDF are involved over BJP’s rising proximity to the Church on these issues, however have remained silent, fearing a Muslim backlash in the polls.

    Their campaigns give attention to assaults in the nation in opposition to individuals of the minority communities, allegedly by proper wing outfits beneath the BJP rule.

    Both CPI(M) and Congress have sought to nook the BJP over the alleged harassment of the nuns.

    “Both the rival fronts, the LDF and UDF are concerned over BJP’s growing proximity to the Church on these matters, but have remained silent, fearing a Muslim backlash in the polls”

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    Congress chief Priyanka Gandhi, addressing a ballot rally in Thrissur final week, flayed Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s ‘silence’ on the matter.

    M Alexander, related to actions of the Catholic Church in Pala, mentioned the trustworthy have sturdy views on “Love Jihad”, conversion of Hagia Sophia church in Turkey to a mosque and the harassment of nuns in a practice in Uttar Pradesh, allegedly by actions of Sangh Parivar.

    “People discuss these issues in various platforms, including in our families. But we don’t know how these issues are going to get reflected in the elections,” he mentioned.

    He mentioned the neighborhood can be not happy with BJP in view of alleged assaults on minorities in many elements of the nation.

    Tony P Emmanuel, a common churchgoer from Elanji in Ernakulam distract, mentioned there was resentment in opposition to the stand taken by political events, together with the UDF and the LDF, on the problem of “Love Jihad”.

    Citing a latest assertion by Chandy Oommen, son of former Chief Minister Oommen Chandy, reportedly justifying conversion of Hagia Sophia to a mosque, Emmanuel mentioned they by no means anticipated such a assertion from the son of a senior Congress chief.

    The Kerala Catholic Bishops’ Council had additionally come down on Chandy Oommen for his assertion.

    Oommen, addressing a operate organised by the Youth League, the youth outfit of IUML, had mentioned 1000’s of church buildings have been transformed into dance bars and nobody had any problem.

    Emmanuel alleged that Congress leaders have been even silent over an article penned by Muslim League chief Sadiq Ali Shihab Thangal, hailing conversion of Hagia Sophia to a mosque by the Muslim directors of Turkey.

    “All such issues still remain unaddressed. We are keeping silent now because we don’t want to divide people along religious lines during the elections,” a Church official, who didn’t want to be named, advised .

    He mentioned the Church can be equally nervous concerning the rising clout of the Muslim League in the Congress-led UDF and the stand of the CPI(M)-led LDF on the problems like Love Jihad.

    It was Kerala Congress(M) chief Jose Ok Mani, contesting from Pala Assembly seat because the LDF candidate,who first raked up the “Love Jihad” problem at an election programme this week.

    He mentioned the matter ought to be addressed if the general public has any apprehensions about it, drawing assist from the influential Kerala Catholic Bishops Council, which claimed that “Love Jihad is a reality” in the state.

    However, Mani withdrew his assertion a few hours later, apparently sensing that it didn’t go down nicely with different constituents of the LDF, together with the CPI and CPI(M).

    CPI State secretary Kanam Rajendran had termed the comment as Mani’s private opinion, whereas Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan sidestepped queries on the subject.

    Hitting out at Mani for withdrawing his assertion even after KCBC prolonged assist to him, Kerala Janapaksham chief and Poonjar MLA P C George mentioned “Love Jihad is a reality” and alleged that Mani modified his stand as he was scared of some forces with excessive views.

    While UDF and LDF stay largely silent over the problem, BJP has promised a regulation in opposition to “Love Jihad” if voted to energy.

    BJP state common George Kurian,who can be former vice- chairman of the National Commission for Minorities, mentioned the problem is a matter of severe concern and the Christian neighborhood is a “soft target”.

    “While UDF and LDF remain largely silent over the issue, BJP has promised a law against “Love Jihad” if voted to power.”

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    He mentioned each Fronts haven’t mentioned something concerning the matter although sure investigations revealed that it has connection to terror actions.

    “We have taken a strong stand against it.If we are voted to power, we will definitely bring a law against Love Jihad,” he advised .

    However, BJP’s bid to win the assist of the Church in the polls on these points had not yielded the specified outcomes.

    The Church has criticised BJP in an article on the organ of the Thrissur archdiocese, saying some forces are attempting to make India a nation primarily based on faith.

    It has additionally cautioned voters in opposition to these attempting to woo them, elevating spiritual points.

    The article additionally hit out on the ruling LDF over alleged corruption and nepotism throughout its rule, however nevertheless, didn’t point out something about UDF.

    Though issues seem to be calm on the floor, political events worry the problems could trigger undercurrents in the central Kerala constituencies, the place heavyweights are in the fray.

    Oommen Chandy, who accomplished 50 years as consultant of the Puthuppally Assembly constituency, is contesting the polls from the identical residence turf in the Kottayam district. While UDF constituent Kerala Congress’s chief P J Joseph is combating the polls from Thodupuzha, his sitting seat, Jose Ok Mani is searching for mandate from Pala constituency, held by his father Ok M Mani, for 50 years until his demise in 2019.

    The BJP has fielded its Rajya Sabha MPs Ok J Alphonse and Suresh Gopi from Kanjirappally and Thrissur meeting constituencies respectively.

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    Updated on April 19, 2021 8:44 am

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