Thalassery: Leaders from the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) had met with Thalassery Archbishop Mar Joseph Pamplany of the Syro-Malabar Catholic Church last Tuesday. Video footage and photographs of the meet has surfaced.
The meeting assumes significance amid the controversy surrounding the senior Bishop's statement that his community will vote for the party if the Centre promised to increase the procurement price of rubber to Rs 300 per kilogram.
The meeting was held at the Thalassery Bishop's House. BJP Kannur District President N Haridas confirmed that the Bishop had shared his worries about rubber price during the meet.
Meanwhile, the Bishop's House clarified that the BJP team had come to invite the Church representatives for the sitting of the Minorities Commission.
While addressing a farmer's rally in Alakot, the Bishop had promised to support the BJP if the rubber procurement price was increased.
As Pamplany's statement went viral, along with the speculation that he had openly voiced his support to the BJP, the Archbishop clarified that he was not referring particularly to the saffron party but to whichever party promised to raise the procurement price of rubber.
"I did not say that I will help the BJP. It can be the Congress or even the Marxist party. At present, the BJP is in power at the Centre and they are in a position to help us.
"So if the rubber price is increased to Rs 300, the farmers of the high-range areas will vote for them. The farmers are in dire financial straits. That is why farmers said they will support the party which helps them out," he said.
The Archbishop said if it's the BJP that helped them, the farmers would vote for them.
"If the ruling Left front in Kerala can do it, then they will get the farmers' support. Everyone knows the BJP has no MP from Kerala. Even the Left front has no MP from this area," Pamplany said.
The Thalassery Archbishop said his statement was not in support or against any political party. He said he was just airing the concerns of the rubber farmers.