Religious, historical topics dominate Kerala’s election discourse

| Updated: 11 April, 2024 5:23 pm IST

Thiruvananthapuram– Kerala is currently experiencing a distinctive narrative as the crucial polls draw near, with less than two weeks remaining. Religious and historical topics are dominating the state’s political discussions.

The screening of “Kerala Story,” a controversial film by Doordarshan, followed by the Idukki diocese of the Syro Malabar Church showing it to young parishioners, has bolstered the BJP. The party claims that the church is echoing its sentiments and concerns.

On April 7th, the Idukki diocese announced it had screened “Kerala Story” in various parishes to educate the youth about the dangers of ‘Love traps’ from members of a particular community. This decision received widespread praise from many churches, including the Thalassery and Thamarassery dioceses, which also showed the film.

ALSO READ: Idukki diocese screens “Kerala Story” for youth – THE NEW INDIAN 

Fr Jince Karakkat, Spokesperson for the Syro Malabar Church in Idukki, stated, “We chose this subject this year for a reason. There have been instances of girls from our community falling into traps set by a certain group, severely affecting their families. Therefore, the church decided to educate them by screening ‘Kerala Story’.”

Two days after this screening, a section of the Angamali archdiocese showed a documentary on the Manipur riots at the Sanjopuram church. The documentary was presented to students attending a faith camp during school vacations, reflecting the KCBC’s strong stance against the Manipur riots.

The debate on religious matters that later ignited controversies along communal lines continued when K Surendran, the NDA candidate for Wayanad and the state president of the BJP, brought up the ‘Name Change’ issue of Sulthan Bathery. Surendran declared on a national news channel that if elected as MP, he would ensure the renaming of Sultan Bathery, which commemorates Tipu Sultan, to ‘Ganapathy Vattom’.

ALSO READ: BJP candidate blocked from campaigning at Kerala Law College – THE NEW INDIAN 

This statement was met with widespread criticism and mockery by left-wing leaders and online activists, who argued that the BJP was diverting attention to less critical topics when there were more pressing issues at hand. Nonetheless, Surendran stood by his claim, insisting that ‘Ganapathy Vattom’ was the original name and should be restored.

In the meantime, accusations and counter-accusations on topics like ‘Love Jihad’, ‘Ganapathy Vattom’, and other matters from various political and community leaders have failed to gain significant attention on the ground, overshadowed by pressing concerns such as inflation, human-wildlife conflict, and the disbursement of salaries and pensions.

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