Though elections to the Tamil Nadu state assembly are a couple of months away, some Christian preachers have begun praying for the victory of the Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK).
This is not surprising given the fact that a majority of the churches and preachers in Tamil Nadu are against the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) government at the Centre and Prime Minister Narendra Modi since the strict imposition of the Foreign Contribution (Regulation) Act (FCRA).
The FCRA has proved to be a stumbling block for them to receive funds from abroad, particularly when they are unable to account for making good use of them.
The trend of the churches trying to influence their followers, in particular, has been on the rise ever since the BJP government came to power in 2014.
In 2016, too, the churches, particularly in southern Tamil Nadu, had tried to influence but the ruling All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (AIADMK) carried the day with its “financial muscle”.
Since the death of former chief minister and AIADMK supremo J Jayalalithaa, many churches and their leaders had begun to aggressively campaign against the BJP and its allies, including the AIADMK which leads the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) in Tamil Nadu.
The churches and their leaders tasted success in 2019 Lok Sabha elections when the United Progressive Alliance, comprising the DMK and its allies won all but one of the 39 seats at stake in Tamil Nadu.
The churches’ opposition against the Modi government continued when the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) 2019 was passed under which persecuted Christians in Pakistan, Afghanistan and Bangladesh stood to benefit.
No Christian preacher or leader supporting CAA could explain clearly why churches opposed particularly when their fellow religious followers were facing utmost danger, especially in Pakistan.
Yet, the opposition to Modi and the avenues for churches to get funds from abroad for the gains of their own leaders took precedence for some of these churches over a law that benefited their affected fellows in neighbouring countries.
Now, some of these churches and its leaders have fallen to the manoeuvres of the DMK that they continue to oppose the Centre for everything under the sun.
With the DMK going all out to regain power in the state and seeming to be in a tear away hurry, it seems to have impressed on these churches to begin their work for its victory now itself.
The DMK, which never greets the Hindus on their festivals, even arranged a function to celebrate Christmas. The function turned out to be a platform for some people to attack Hinduism, Modi and Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath in the presence of DMK president M K Stalin.
Indian National Muslim League president K M Khader Moideen even gave a to Uttar Pradesh’s anti-conversion laws on the platform. The comments are unworthy of publishing, though a case exists for taking suo motu cognisance of it.
Similarly, a few churches have begun celebrating with its followers the traditional Hindu harvest festival Pongal, which is a worship of the Sun god.
Christianity does not believe in such worship but all these are being swept under the carpet in the church leaders’ eagerness to help the DMK or rather ensure the BJP's defeat.
On its part, the AIADMK, too, is trying to woo the Christians but its alliance with the BJP is proving to be a stumbling block.
That is one of the reasons why the state’s Chief Minister Edappadi K Palaniswami is trying his best to widen his party’s reach among as many people as possible.
It includes the now repealed order to allow 100 per cent occupancy in Tamil Nadu theatres to get the backing of the Tamil film industry.
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