The Kerala Legislative Assembly election is scheduled to be held in May 2021. This election is extremely critical for the Congress party, which has lost its political significance in almost all states of the country. Now, the Syro Malabar church in Kerala has issued a stern directive to the Congress party. The Changanassery Archbishop Mar Joseph Perumthottam has warned the Congress party against deciding its candidates for the upcoming Assembly election without consulting the church.
The Metropolitan Archbishop has instructed that Congress should consult the minorities before it decides on its candidates for the minority-dominated areas. It also said that the party should consult the church before deciding candidates for the Christian areas in the state.
In an editorial in Deepika, the official mouth-piece of the church, Mar Joseph Perumthottam stated that Congress should not field candidates from outside the community. The editorial piece recalls that in 1951, Jawaharlal Nehru had issued a similar directive to PCC presidents.
Saying so, the Archbishop wrote that the candidates should only be those who have won the trust of the minorities in the area from where they are being fielded. It said that outsiders, who do not belong to the community either by faith or birth, should not be touted as candidates in the minority Christian constituencies.
The 2021 Kerala Legislative Assembly election is round the corner. Those who are familiar with Kerala’s demography and politics will know that politically, by and large, Kerala has been bi-polar, with power alternating between the CPI(M)-led Left Democratic Front and the Congress-led United Democratic Front in Assembly elections.
However, going by the declining performance of UDF including its two main elements, the Congress and Muslim League over the last three decades, Congress would be leaving no stone unturned to reverse its losing streak and making a political U-turn. In such a scenario, it would be interesting to watch whether Congress will be giving in to the Syro-Malabar church’s demands.