Now, it seems that this appeal has had its intended impact. A dominant segment of Kerala Christians has declared that it is ready to lend its support to the saffron party BJP.
Catholic Church opens doors to support the BJP
The Syro-Malabar Catholic Church’s Archbishop recently made a statement that has created a strong buzz in support of the BJP in Kerala. While attending a farmers’ meeting, the church’s Archbishop Joseph Pamplany highlighted the plight of rubber farmers within the state. Going ahead, he announced that the community is open to voting for the BJP if it listens to the genuine demands of the state rubber farmers.
He said, “Rubber prices have plunged. Who is responsible for it? Nobody. If the party that rules the center takes a favorable stand, the prices can be raised to Rs 250 per kg. We should understand that a protest becomes valuable in a democracy only when it turns into a vote. We can tell the central government. If you buy rubber from farmers at Rs 300 per kg, whatever your party, we are ready to vote for you.”
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Archbishop Joseph Pamplany added that the settler farmers will solve the BJP’s grouse that they don’t have an MP in Kerala. He also added that the Christian community in Kerala was no longer afraid of the RSS. Notably, the Syro-Malabar Catholic Church is a dominant voice among Christians within the Kerala. They play a decisive role in the electoral success of any party.
These remarks came on a day when the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) announced that its dialogue with Christians in Kerala would continue. For this, the Sangh and BJP had formed Kerala- and district-level mechanisms for dialogue with Christians.
The BJP has been trying to pull Christian voters to its side before next year’s general election. It wants to take a sizeable number of voters from the Christian community, especially the Catholics, who are numerically strong. In its southern outreach, the saffron party has been trying to breach the fortress, which is considered the last bastion for communists in India.
Also read: Communists face serious heartburn. Kerala BJP leaders booked for unfurling posters of Bhagwan Ram and Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj after victory
Stats on Rubber
1.14 lakh metric tons of compounded rubber were imported in 2021–2022, which is 0.19 lakh metric tons more than the previous year, according to the United Planters’ Association of Southern India. Imports of natural rubber totaled 5.82 lakh metric tons in 2018–19 and 5.46 lakh metric tons in 2021–2022.
Higher imports have been badly impacting the domestic rubber farmers. The BJP may seem to fulfill two targets in one go. It can form a committee to end the problems faced by rubber farmers, which can ultimately reduce rubber imports and create a strong farmer-friendly environment within the state.
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