Congress struggles to keep Christian connection in Oommen Chandy’s absence
A seasoned politician, Oommen Chandy always shared an excellent rapport with all community groups, including the SNDP Yogam and the NSS.
THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: With senior leaders, including Oommen Chandy, K V Thomas and P J Kurien, no longer in the picture, the Congress is struggling to reach out to the Christian community. The onus now falls on state president K Sudhakaran to keep the lines of communication open.
A seasoned politician, Oommen Chandy always shared an excellent rapport with all community groups, including the SNDP Yogam and the NSS. Ahead of key elections, he was known to huddle with various Christian groups to ensure their support.
But following the 2021 assembly election debacle, the 79-year-old started limiting himself to his role as Puthupally legislator. For the last 75 days, though, Oommen Chandy has been undergoing treatment in Bengaluru. A close confidant and senior party leader, K C Joseph, told TNIE that it is difficult to describe the vacuum created by Oommen Chandy in state politics.
Among the other past trouble-shooters, K V Thomas, who also shared an excellent rapport with Christian groups, has since joined the left camp, and P J Kurien has been sidelined in the party, where he is currently playing the role of a corrective force.
“Oommen Chandy had widespread acceptance from all community leaders as they trusted him. He ensured that their concerns were always addressed,” Joseph said. Oommen Chandy also used to take former Leader of Opposition Ramesh Chennithala into confidence on all crucial issues relating to Christian groups.
But now the Chennithala camp is unhappy with the way the current state leadership has been sidelining him. A senior Congress MP told TNIE that apart from taking senior leaders like Chennithala and Kurien into confidence, the Congress high command too should ensure that they also speak to bishops.
“Over the last nine years, Christian orphanages in the state have not been receiving foreign aid due to the BJP government’s interference. Church groups are not in the mood to enter into a conflict with the Centre. So, they have come to terms with them as they have apprehensions about the Congress coming back to power. Rahul Gandhi and Congress president Mallikarjun Kharge should come forward and take the bishops into confidence. This would turn the tide against the BJP,” a senior Congress MP said.
Among the other past trouble-shooters, K V Thomas, who also shared an excellent rapport with Christian groups, has since joined the left camp, and P J Kurien has been sidelined in the party, where he is currently playing the role of a corrective force