BJP Resumes 'Sneha Yatra' to Connect with Kerala's Christian Community
BJP Resumes 'Sneha Yatra' to Connect with Kerala's Christian Community

Kochi: With the Lok Sabha polls just months away, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in Kerala has revived its 'Sneha Yatra' on Thursday, an outreach program aimed at connecting with the Christian community in the state. The saffron party initially launched the initiative during this year's Easter celebrations. In a recent state committee meeting, the party decided to resume the yatra during the Christmas season.

BJP state chief K Surendran visited Cardinal George Alencherry, the former head of the prominent Syro-Malabar Church, at St Thomas Mount in nearby Kakkanad in the morning and conveyed Christmas greetings from Prime Minister Narendra Modi. He also visited Archbishop Joseph Kalathiparbil of the Latin Archdiocese of Verapoly and conveyed the wishes of the Prime Minister. Surendran later stated in a Facebook post that it marked the beginning of the 'Sneha Yatra' in the state. He also shared photos of his cordial meetings with the church heads.

However, the church authorities and the BJP leadership were yet to clarify the topics of discussion that came up during the closed-door meeting. A BJP leader mentioned that the meeting with Alencherry was extended for over 45 minutes and characterized it as a warm and friendly encounter. "It was a friendly meeting... The BJP chief conveyed Prime Minister Modi's greetings to him. They later had breakfast together," said K S Shaiju, the party's district president, to the media.

When asked whether any political issues ahead of the Lok Sabha polls came up for discussion, the leader did not divulge any details. "The objective of the visit was to convey the PM's greetings," he said. He also rejected media reports that there were differences between the Church and the saffron party after the Manipur violence issue. "It was just a creation of the media. Both the BJP and the church have always maintained a cordial relationship," he further stated. Though many senior bishops of various denominations have made pro-BJP statements on several occasions in the state in recent times, the alleged silence of the party-led Union government on the Manipur violence issue has reportedly created differences between the duo.

The objective of the yatra is to bring the Christian community closer to the party, BJP sources said. The party leaders and workers would visit Christian homes with the message from the Prime Minister until December 30. The party also recently decided to carry out 'padayatras (foot marches)' across the state with an eye on the Lok Sabha polls. Prominent BJP leaders and workers had conducted the Sneha Yatra, visiting Christian homes and religious heads on the occasion of Easter earlier this year.

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