The Kerala Catholic Bishops Council (KCBC), a powerful body that has immense clout in Kerala’s political scene and government policies, has extended its support to the Modi Government.

At a meeting on Tuesday, KCBC president Baselios Mar Cleemis said the organisation will support all the people’s welfare programmes of the new Government.

The KCBC, which spearheaded the campaign against the Madhav Gadgil committee report as well as the Kasturirangan Committee report for the environmental protection of the Western Ghats, has been seen as the major factor in the defeat of the Congress candidate in Idukki in the recent Lok Sabha elections.

Crucial role

The church bodies played a crucial role in the election of the Left Democratic Front candidate. The LDF had supported the church stand on the Gadgil and Kasturirangan recommendations. Christians, who make up the largest group among the settlers in the High Range region, stand to lose economically if the recommendations are implemented.

The Catholic church, though traditionally a close ally of the Congress and the United Democratic Front, chose to dump their candidate in Idukki, mainly because of the Western Ghats issue. And, it had all along opposed the Communist parties.

However, the State unit of the BJP has supported the Gadgil recommendations and senior Central leaders also have indicated that they favoured the recommendations. If the Centre decides to go by Gadgil, it will be a huge setback for the church’s campaign and a rebuff to its electoral strategy of dumping the Congress in Idukki.

Bishop Mathew Anikkuzhikkattil, the controversial bishop of Idukki who attended the KCBC meeting, told media persons that the defeat of the Congress candidate was a triumph of the Catholic church and the farmers. He said the Congress should learn a lesson from the defeat.