Congress, BJP slam Kerala CM for 'ignorant' remark against priest

Kerala CM P Vijayan's remark terming a priest as "ignorant" for criticising the ruling Left on its defeat in the Lok Sabha polls was strongly condemned by the opposition Congress and the BJP on Saturday.
Congress leader Ramesh Chennithala (L) and BJP leader V Muraleedharan
Congress leader Ramesh Chennithala (L) and BJP leader V Muraleedharan

Thiruvananthapuram | Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan's remark terming a priest as "ignorant" for criticising the ruling Left on its defeat in the Lok Sabha polls was strongly condemned by the opposition Congress and the BJP on Saturday.

While Congress leader Ramesh Chennithala mockingly called the CM as "the most knowledgeable" person in the state who has the habit of terming priests "wretched creatures" and "ignorant", BJP leader V Muraleedharan said that Vijayan's remarks indicate that he continues to be intolerant towards those who disagree with him.

The Marxist veteran, when he was the state secretary of the CPI(M), had called the former Bishop of Thamarassery diocese Mar Paul Chittilappilly a "wretched creature", Muraleedharan claimed.

Chennithala further said that those in the political field will always be criticised and therefore, they should analyse the criticism and deal with it in a calm and balanced manner.

"Is it appropriate to call a priest or bishop ignorant if he expresses his view on something? How can you call those who criticise the government or the CM a wretched creature or ignorant? It is not right to do so," the Congress leader said.

Muraleedharan said that Vijayan's remarks indicate that he has not changed, despite being a CM for eight years, from the time when he had called a bishop a "wretched creature".

"He is intolerant towards those who disagree with him. That is what he showed back then and even yesterday," the BJP leader said.

Muraleedharan further said that what the priest said about the LDF is what the people of Kerala were also thinking.

Geevarghese Coorilos -- former Metropolitan of Niranam Diocese of the Malankara Jacobite Syriac Orthodox Church -- in a Facebook post had said that "floods and epidemics do not always come to the rescue and people in Kerala will not fall more than once in 'kit politics." The priest, known for his pro-Left views, had made the remarks on Facebook in connection with the LDF's loss in the LS polls.

Hitting back, the CM on Friday had said that the priest's post shows "that even among priests there are sometimes some ignorant persons".

On Saturday, when reporters asked the priest as to why he had put up the post, Coorilos said he has nothing to say on the matter as all that he had to say he has mentioned in his Facebook page and it is still there.

"That topic is closed. I have said what I had to say on the issue. I am not going to say anything more," he said.

When his reaction was sought to the CM's remark calling him "ignorant", the priest said, "I have never reacted to personal remarks and that is not going to happen ever".

He also made it clear that his heart was always with the Left front and it shall continue to be so.

Coorilos, in his social media post, had also said that one of the main reasons for the LDF's defeat in the Lok Sabha polls was the anti-incumbency sentiment among the people.

The priest had also criticised the Left for allegedly attacking the Congress and Rahul Gandhi more than the BJP.

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