THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: With just one day left for the crucial Piravom bypoll and as the battle between the UDF and the LDF turn more and more political, the guessing game over the possible role of the Jacobite and Orthodox Church factions in determining the outcome of the election has become increasingly insignificant, with both factions deciding to strike a realistic approach and not to give any open directives to the believers. Bishops of two sides are exercising restraint now, on the basis of decisions taken at the highest level of both the Churches, it is reliably learnt.
Fr Johns Abraham Konattu, priest trustee of the Orthodox Church, has stated that followers of the denomination can exercise their ‘’conscience vote.’’ He is also on record emphasising that the Church was aware of the fact that Chief Minister Oommen Chandy belonged to the community. ‘’It is a fact that the Orthodox Church has some difficulties with the regard to Kolencherry church and a few other parishes. But, believers are free to exercise their franchise according to their conscience,’’ he said.
‘’That the outcome of the result in favour of or against the UDF is not going to pose big difficulties for the continuance of the Oommen Chandy Government is also a factor which prompted the top hierarchy of the Jacobite Church to follow a middle path in the current political scenario. The Church is keen not to precipitate the church feud at this juncture. The Church does not want to interfere in politics in a big way and the faithful are free to vote according to their choice,’’ said Oommachen Venkadathu, one of the members of the 21-member working committee of the Jacobite Church.
‘’Though we don’t have any problem with the Left or LDF candidate M J Jacob and the fact also remains that the former government had supported us on many counts, we cannot neglect the contributions of the late T M Jacob such as sanctioning of educational institutions to the community. He was always in the forefront to address any crisis which confronted the Jacobites,’’ said Biby Kadavumbhagam, another working committee member of the Jacobite Church. ‘’Moreover, the Church cannot forget the late Pennamma Jacob, former MLA, freedom fighter and mother of Daisy, wife of T M Jacob in upholding the cause of the denomination. It is a question of gratitude towards a family in the hour of a crisis,’’ he added.
‘’Though there are many Jacobite priests in our fold who are close to the Left camp, it is a different matter at the time of elections. Unlike in the past two elections at Piravom, the Jacobite Church youth wing is also supportive of a youth candidate this time. The Assembly segment has an upper hand for the UDF, whenever there is no schism in the Congress. The campaigning and fight has turned political,’’ said John Philip, managing committee member of the Jacobite Church.
‘’The UDF Government had not put blocks in the court cases now. The Pazhamthottam church was out of bounds for Jacobites for 38 years,’’ noted a top functionary of the Church.