In what can be seen as an attempt of promoting conversions, Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister N Chandrababu Naidu said that his party will fight to provide Scheduled Caste status to converted Christians. It looks like Naidu made this statement in a desperate bid to lure the Christian community and seek their support in 2019 Lok Sabha elections.
Chandrababu Naidu, who participated in the state government organized Christmas celebration said, “Christmas is the day when all people share love and peace. Christian missionaries served great for education and health. We saw Mother Teresa, how she served society.”
The Telugu Desam Party chief said, “Our government has spent Rs 250 crores for Christians in these four years. We will fight for giving the SC status to converted Christians and till then we will support you. I assure you to develop Guntur general hospital with six acres of additional land.” On the developmental work undertaken by the state government, the Chief Minister said that the Andra Pradesh government has provided full economic support for the construction of churches in the state.
Adding to this he said, “For Christian Bhavan, we gave two acres land and Rs 10 crores. Now, we are allotting additional six crores as per your appeals. We will provide full economic support for the construction of churches even without contribution. We will give 24 December as an optional holiday. We will spend Rs 100 crores to develop burial grounds for Christians.” The Chief Minister also said that for the marriage of Christian girls the government is providing Rs. 50,000.
Earlier in 2015, while participating in the foundation laying ceremony of Christian Bhavan at Adavi Takkellapadu in Guntur district had announced that the Andhra Pradesh government had proposed that it will appoint a cabinet sub-committee to monitor and protect land owned by various Christian bodies. Naidu during this ceremony had also said that converting to Christianity will bring about an ‘overhaul’ in the ‘socio-economic’ conditions and henceforth, the government was offering Christmas Chandranna Kaunka to mark the festive occasion.
So, it seems that the Andhra Pradesh government is all up for supporting the cause of conversion and to woo the voters they’re resorting to a new low. Chandrababu Naidu who claims himself to be the ‘facilitator’ of the third-front is trying to allure the voters and for this is rolling out ‘incentives’ like providing Scheduled Caste reservation to the converted Christians.
Claiming that the conversion to Christianity will better the socio-economic condition of people is in itself an attempt towards playing divisive politics and bringing about hatred towards other religions. Naidu with this gesture has gone on to contradict himself when he said that TDP respects all religions because with his attempt to provide reservation just for the sake of amassing votes for the party in 2019 he is stooping to a new low.
For Telangana assembly elections Chandrababu Naidu made an alliance with the Congress party, where the Minority department of Telangana Congress Committee came up with a Christian Manifesto promising rewards and perks for the Christian community. The manifesto raised the need for protection of Christian bishops, pastors & evangelists; it favored salaries to be paid to Pastors. In order to appease the Christian community, the idea of Christian Bhavan in state and Christian Community Halls in districts were also included. Christian Manifesto further talked about giving lands to Churches, graveyards & seats in Parliament for Christians. The manifesto also mentioned that it would allocate subsidy for Christian pilgrimage.
— Gopal Krishna Agarwal (@gopalkagarwal) November 10, 2018
TDP’s alliance with the Congress party in Telangana assembly elections and then this manifesto coming from the Congress party showed that TDP supports the idea of Christian manifesto. Chandrababu Naidu has stooped to an abysmal low by offering SC status to converted Christians which is basically promoting and incentivizing conversion to Christianity.