By P. Sreekumaran
THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: The induction of Alphons Kannanthanam into the Narendra Modi Cabinet betrays the Bharatiya Janata Party’s (BJP) desperate attempt to expand its vote base by wooing the Christian community.
But the move is seen unlikely to yield the desired results as the ground reality is entirely different. Unless there is a radical change in the attitude of the BJP, RSS and its fringe organizations, the Christians do not seem to be in a mood to reach out to the Modi dispensation at the Centre.
In other words, the BJP will have to go beyond tokenism to build bridges of understanding with the community, which continues to be wary of the BJP’s intentions.
True, Latin Catholic archbishop Soosa Pakkiam and the archbishop of Syro Malankara Catholic Church Mar Baselios Cleemis have welcomed the decision to have Alphons in the Union Cabinet. But the tone and tenor of their statements reflect the reservations of the Christians vis-à-vis the BJP-RSS combine. They cannot be blamed. They have every reason to be cautious about the BJP’s new-found love for the community, given the continuing attacks against its members, Christian institutions and their places of worship in various parts of the country, especially in north India, by members of the militant Bajrang Dal and Vishwa Hindu Parishad.