Orthodox Church to put up four candidates in Kerala

March 21st, 2009 - 8:11 pm ICT by IANS  

Sonia Gandhi Kottayam (Kerala), March 21 (IANS) Irked at the Congress party for ignoring its candidate request, the Orthodox Church in Kerala has decided to put up four candidates for the Lok Sabha polls.
The 2.5 million-strong Kottayam headquartered church approached the Congress party with a request to put up a senior Indian Administrative Service officer at the newly constituted Pathanamthitta seat, where the church has a strong presence. However, the Congress refused.

The church said that four of its members will contest the Kollam, Kottayam, Idukki and Pathanamthitta seats.

The Orthodox Church had sent a letter to Sonia Gandhi expressing its wish that one of its members, who are active Congress supporters, be fielded.

Speaking to IANS, George Joseph, secretary of the church, said that the Congress had not even acknowledged the letter.

“We are certain that we can dent the hopes of the Congress in a few places because we have 298 churches in the state and we are going to take up this seriously,” said Joseph.

The names put up by the church for Pathanamthitta included senior IAS official Jiji Thompson, Lal Varghese Kalpakavadi, chief of the farmers wing of the Congress party, and Babu George, a Congress leader who worked up the ladder through student politics.

“We know we will not win but we can easily take away 50,000 votes which could dent the prospects of victory for the Congress candidates. The laity will respond to the call from the church,” said Joseph.

However, the laity feels that this is nothing but a ploy to source funds for the church in the name of election.

Leader of opposition Oommen Chandy belongs to the Orthodox Church.

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