Christian leader, Father Paul Thelakat
Also during the campaign, the CPI-M had openly tried to project that the Church supported Joseph.
The BJP had used PC George, who was booked for a recent hate speech and anti-Muslim rant, as a star campaigner for its candidate AN Radhakrishnan. BJP leaders had claimed that Christians supported the BJP because they saw through the link between other parties and “ultra-community groups” in Kerala.
Highlighting the communal tone of the indirect vote campaign, Thelakat pointed out that this time the CPI(M) and the BJP are trying to use the communal card in their political propaganda. It is symptomatic that the election campaign focused on deep issues of community and sensational issues, including gender. They did not enter into a discussion of social issues, policies and development issues.
“Overall, there was no serious discussion of government policies or plans during the election campaign. The political language was about silly community and religious issues. It escalated the level of speech and the seriousness of the Democratic electorate. The Marxist party must learn that a multi-party democracy can retain its secularism which is not anti-religious but respects all religions,” Fr. Thelakat added.
He was one of the priests who backed the five nuns calling for the arrest of Bishop Jalandhar Franco Mulakkal, who was then accused of raping a nun in Kerala.
Commenting on the phenomenon of political parties and politicians adopting communal language and politics to win votes, Fr Thelakat said that this has unfortunately been a practice all over India. “The canvassing of votes was essentially oriented towards community, religion and caste. It is perhaps also the scourge of democracy in India. A democracy and government should consider everyone as equal citizens without alienating anyone or any group. Politics must have its social ethics of responsibility towards the other. India is a country that has heard the ethics of self-discipline, mercy and charity from the thunder of heaven. He will not involve in politics any means of Machiavelli’s power,” Father Thelakat said.
This was the fundamental mistake made by both the Marxist party and the BJP, he argued.