Congress leader and former Chief Minister Oommen Chandy and Leader of the Opposition Ramesh Chennithala on Sunday visited the headquarters of the Malankara Orthodox Syrian Church (MOSC) at Devalokam in Kottayam.
The leaders, who arrived at the Orthodox headquarters by 11 a.m., met Catholicos Baselios Marthoma Paulose II, the head of the MOSC, and held discussions with him.
In an hour-long meeting, the leaders are learnt to have sought the Orthodox sect’s support to the United Democratic Front (UDF) in the upcoming Assembly elections, besides giving an assurance on settling the church dispute amicably. Both parties, however, did not comment on what exactly transpired in the discussions.
The Congress leaders were also accompanied by the local MLA and senior Congress leader Thiruvanchoor Radhakrishnan. The meeting assumed importance in the wake of setbacks suffered by the UDF in local body polls, especially in the UDF fortress of Central Travancore.
The distancing of UDF’s traditional vote bases such as Christian and Nair communities played a major role in the advancement of the LDF in the recently held local body polls. The predominant objective behind the visit of Mr. Chandy and Mr. Chennithala was presumably to consolidate the party’s support among its core vote banks.
Earlier, Mr. Chandy and Mr. Chennithala had visited the community heads, including Cardinal George Alencherry, the archbishop of Syro-Malabar Church, and bishops of Catholic dioceses of Pala, Changanassery, and Kottayam. They are planning to meet the heads of other religious and community organisations in the coming days.