LS polls: Modi reaches out to Christian community in Kerala

Pathanamthitta: Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Friday reached out to the Christian community which has a significant presence in this southern district, and also projected Anil K Antony — son of Congress stalwart and former Union Minister A K Antony — as a symbol of the youth.

“This is the kind of freshness that is required in Kerala politics,” Modi said, referring to Anil Antony who had left the Congress and joined the BJP last year and is the saffron party’s candidate from the Pathanamthitta Lok Sabha constituency.

Addressing a large gathering of NDA workers and followers here, the PM said that in the last Lok Sabha elections in 2019, the BJP got a vote percentage in double digits and therefore, the target of double digit seats from Kerala is not too far.

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“In the last elections, the people of Kerala made us the double-digit vote percentage party. And now, our destiny of double-digit seats here is not so far,” he said. “Lotus is going to bloom in Kerala this time.”
Modi reached out to the Christian community, which has a significant presence in this southern district, by recalling his meeting with Pope Francis at the Vatican.

In an apparent reference to the incident of a vehicle hitting a Catholic priest in Poonjar in Kottayam district last month, Modi said, “It is unfortunate that even church priests in Kerala are not safe from violence”.

He also attacked the CPI(M)-led ruling LDF and the Congress-led UDF opposition in the state, alleging that the people of Kerala were suffering from consecutive corrupt and incompetent governments of these two fronts.

Addressing the public campaign here for candidates of the BJP-led NDA in the upcoming Lok Sabha polls, Modi claimed that the people of the state have endured hardships under the LDF and UDF governments that are allegedly plagued by corruption and incompetence.

He also took a dig at both fronts, raking up the issue of gold smuggling through diplomatic channels under LDF rule and the solar panel scam under the previous UDF rule.

Modi claimed that the people would benefit only if the cycle of consecutive LDF, UDF governments is broken as they are allegedly only focused on vote-bank politics.

The PM also contended that the thinking and ideology of both the LDF and the UDF are outdated and in sharp contrast to the progressiveness and forward-thinking of the people of Kerala.

He also said that both the LDF and UDF governments have turned a blind eye to the struggles of rubber planters.

“Additionally, the state’s law and order situation has significantly deteriorated,” he claimed and alleged that colleges in Kerala have become the dens of “communist goondas”.

Modi urged the people of Kerala to give him their blessing and complete support and guaranteed that there will not be any lapses from his end in fulfilling their desires.

“It is ‘Modiyude Guarantee’,” he said.

Another ‘guarantee’ he gave is that whenever and wherever an Indian is in any difficulty, the government would firmly stand beside them. He said this while referring to the various instances, including the COVID-19 pandemic, during which Indians stranded abroad were brought back to the country.

At the public meeting, NDA’s Lok Sabha candidates V Muraleedharan (Attingal), Anil K Antony (Pathanamthitta), Sobha Surendran (Alappuzha), and Baiju Kalasala (Mavelikkara), among other leaders, were present.

In addition to them, Padmaja Venugopal, who recently joined the BJP after quitting the Congress, was also present on the stage.

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