Thalassery: Putting rubber back into the centre of the state's politics, Thalassery Arch Bishop Mar Joseph Pamplany said the Church would stand by those who help the rubber farmers.
He refuted the reports which claimed that he would offer support to the BJP.
"Be it the Central government or the state government, we will stand with those who support the farmers," he said.
"Church won't support or help any party or religion. However, the BJP is not untouchable for us," he added.
"Is there a situation in which we cannot talk to the BJP? The Church or its leadership has no qualms about talking to a party that is ruling the country. I have talked to them about many things. Such discussions are ongoing in all sectors. There is no need to portray this as a position of the Catholic Church. What I expressed at that conference was the sentiments of the farmers from the high range. There is no need to misinterpret it as an alliance between the Church and the BJP," Mar Pamplany explained.
He was referring to his speech to the Catholic Farmers Conference of the Thalassery Arch Diocese. While addressing the gathering he said that 'if the Central Government raises the price of rubber to Rs 300 per kilogram, the Church will help the BJP in Kerala and will overcome the situation of the BJP not having an MP from the state.'
"The Church does not practice untouchability. The Catholic Church has worked hard to remove social evil from Kerala. Hence the word 'untouchable' is not there in our dictionary. Whoever comes here will be welcomed regardless of their party or politics," he told Manorama News.
Referring to CPM State Secretary M V Govindan's statement that rubber price was not the sole issue that farmers faced, the Bisho said that it indeed was a huge issue. "Govindan Mash must have thought that the price of rubber is a trivial matter. But, high-range farmers do not think that way."
Kerala's Minister for Public Works and Tourism, Mohammed Riyas was cautious in his response to the question on the Bishop's statement. "I haven't seen the statement of the Bishop. I will comment only after having seen the statement and in what context he has said so if at all he has spoken like that."
However, the minister said that the RSS was aiming for a Hindu Rashtra as it was fast approaching its centenary year in 2025 and that the minorities of the country including Muslims and Christians are in fear. He said that the absolute majority of Narendra Modi in the past two elections has given the much-needed fillip for the RSS in this regard.
Govindan shot down the statement and said that no such social engineering will have any impact in Kerala. Without directly commenting on the statement of the Bishop, he said that whatever RSS and BJP try in Kerala, they won't be successful.
(With inputs from IANS)