The Bishop of Palakkad Archdiocese Jacob Manathodath has denied reports that he has extended support to the BJP candidate from Palakkad for the upcoming Assembly elections in Kerala. There was speculation that the Catholic Bishop had expressed support for ‘Metroman’ E Sreedharan, who is the BJP’s candidate from Palakkad, after the latter met him to seek his support. However, two sources from the Archdiocese office have denied this, stating that Sreedharan had come to meet him and that the Bishop only extended his wishes for the elections. Pictures of the meeting were shared on the Facebook page of BJP in Palakkad.
The Bishop, during Sreedharan's visit, had addressed the media and said, “We are so lucky that we are able to welcome someone like E Sreedharan at this House. I have heard a lot about him, I have read about him, and I have told the youth and others to follow him. We welcome him and wish him all the best.”
The diocese also added that they have not voiced any support for any political candidate for the elections. It was earlier reported by The Hindu that the Palakkad Bishop had triggered a controversy by writing to the CPI, demanding that a Christian industrialist be made the LDF candidate in the Mannarkkad Assembly constituency.
‘Metroman’ E Sreedharan, who joined BJP last month, is contesting from Palakkad. He is up against United Democratic Front candidate Shafi Parambil and Left Democratic Front’s CP Pramod. Sreedharan had earlier stated that he is ready to be the chief ministerial face of the BJP-led NDA.
Launching his campaign on Monday, Sreedharan said the party is fighting the elections on the plank of development and reasserted his claim that the NDA will form the government in Kerala after the Assembly polls. Sreedharan said if elected, he would try to “regain the lost glory of Palakkad district in rice production.”
Out of the 140 Assembly constituencies, the CPI(M) will contest from 77 seats, of which nine are for party-backed independents. Its ally CPI will contest from 25 seats. Under the UDF, the Congress will contest from 92 seats, while its long-time ally IUML will contest from 27 constituencies. In the NDA, the BJP will contest from 115 out of 140 seats.
Also read TNM's coverage on Kerala elections: