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Church term for mascot as PM

Thiruvananthapuram, Dec. 24: A senior Kerala Christian priest has lauded Narendra Modi’s development initiatives and indicated the BJP leader was welcome as Prime Minister provided he is “tolerant” in his approach to different religions.

Catholicos Baselios MarThoma Poulose II clarified that his words should not be construed as “a political stance”.

“There is a general perception that he (Narendra Modi) is not a tolerant person. I never had a chance to know him personally. But members of our community in Gujarat say he has taken a very helpful stand in their businesses, enabling them to pursue their trade without being caught in red tape,” Catholicos, the head of the Malankara Orthodox Syrian Church, said yesterday referring to Modi’s role as Gujarat chief minister.

The Orthodox Syrian Church’s followers include Oommen Chandy, the chief minister of Congress-ruled Kerala.

Catholicos was speaking to reporters at the Church headquarters in Kottayam after a delegation of district BJP leaders called on him to convey Christmas greetings.

Pointing out that corruption and economic inequalities had increased manifold, the priest said whoever helped people overcome the problems and “adopted a liberal approach” towards various faiths was welcome to lead the country.

Asked if his statement should be seen as an endorsement of Modi, Catholicos said: “We haven’t put forth any political stance. We are neither supporting nor opposing anyone.”

If that was not all, the priest voiced his unhappiness at the Chandy government, saying the community had not received “required consideration” under its rule.