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Trading votes for higher rubber price?

In northern Kerala, Thalassery Archdiocese Archbishop Joseph Pamplani's promise that if the BJP government increases the price of rubber to Rs 300 per kg, the BJP will get an MP from Kerala to the Parliament has triggered spontaneous political debates. As criticism came from various political quarters, he came with a political interpretation of the statement. Bishop Pamplani's reasoning was that the church has no truck with any party including the BJP and said that it will support them because the BJP tas the ruling party at the Centre can help them. The head of the archdiocese also clarified that if anyone is worried that the church is close to the BJP, they are mistaken. While the BJP is rallying to woo Christians with all means at its command in Kerala, the archbishop of the Syro-Malabar Church himself came out with the promise of vote help, which prompted a retort from both the left and right fronts. CPM was the first to express shock and dismay. Party secretary M.V. Govindan said that rubber price is not the only problem and the church should remember the move of Sangh Parivar and BJP to turn the country into a Hindutva nation. He recalled the protest rally held by 79 Christian organizations in Delhi to protest against the increasing violence against Christians in India and the complaint made by them about 598 attacks. Leader of Opposition V.D. Satheesan said that the Bishop's response was emotional and the Centre cannot be supported solely on the basis of the price of rubber. He also drew the attention of the church leadership to the Modi government's persecution of Christians. In the run-up to the Lok Sabha elections what the prominent figures in the Christian community and various political parties are sharing warnings is the apprehension about the various religious, community and caste groups falling a prey to the bidding of the sangh parivar.

In the sangh parivar bible 'Bunch f Thoughts', out of the three sections identified as internal threats, the first is Muslims and the second Christians. However, as part of concerted efforts to realize the parliamentary ambitions, that are constantly withering in Kerala, the BJP is using a strategy of mobilizing one against the other of the internal threats. This undercurrent is playing out behind the ongoing efforts in Kerala to create a rift between the Christian and Muslim communities and to foster hatred against the Muslim community. That is why everyone except the BJP read the politics of the archdiocese president's statement and came against it. On the other hand, the BJP, which welcomed the statement of the church leadership, stopped short of saying anything on the issue of rubber price, but sang hallelujah for the politics underlying it. Even though the hate campaign of a section of Christians in Kerala was at its peak, the archbishop did an exercise to win the sympathy of the BJP, without parting with the CPM and the leftist government, which had held the church and the policemen in thrall, without uttering a single word in response. It is in recognition of this that CPM warned that BJP's social engineering will not work in Kerala.

The only doubt is whether the archbishop's statement that only the Centre can help the rubber price rise was made knowingly or by pretending ignorance. Political parties or organizations have not been able to understand how the changes in the world as a part of globalization and the decisions they take in economic and commercial matters will affect their own people. The GATT and ASEAN agreements signed by India have caused the fall in the price of rubber. Neither the state nor the Centre can raise the price of rubber in India, which has yielded to the free trade agreements brought in by rulers including the BJP's Prime Minister. This is amply demonstrated if one looks at Karnataka, which in Modi's language has a double engine rule. In Karnataka, which ranks third in rubber production in the country, rubber plantations are located in Dakshina Kannada, Chikkamagaluru and Kodagu districts. In these three regions, which overlapp the kindred jurisdiction of Thalassery archdiocese, the laity who are rubber farmers of the high range have been electing three BJP MPs with a huge majority. One of them is now a minister at the Centre to boot. However, none of them has been able to touch the falling price of rubber. Even their own archbishop as head of the archdiocese has not been able to influence the BJP in this regard. The answer to what the Modi government's sympathy for farmers has been lies in the past experiences of other farmers' struggles that shook India. In the face of all this, approaching the BJP by offering votes against higher rubber price is tantamount to insulting not only the farmers but also their own brethren who are crying out against the atrocities of the sangh parivar in the country.

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TAGS:Archbishop Mar Joseph Pamplanirubber price riseRs 300 per kgChristian help to get a BJP MPsanghparivar atrocities against ChristiansThree BJP MP's in Karnataka
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