The church groups in Kerala are hellbent on not letting the environment committee's recommendations be implemented, while the ruling UDF is in a political dilemma over whether to back the committee's recommendations or to retain the 'friendship' with the church.
The church had said that they will not support the candidature of PT Thomas, the sitting Congress MP from Idukki constituency. Thomas had openly come out against the Church over the Kasturirangan Committee report. "The church has politial motives", said Thomas. He also alleged that some clergies were trying to malign his reputation in the high range district. Thomas had argued that the Kasturirangan report recommendations will not adversely affect the farmers and had strongly supported the report.
Although his response met with strong opposition from Church, it earned him praises on social media networks and across the media.
The high command had initially included Thomas' name in the tentative list of candidates. However, yielding to church's demand, the party has finally decided not to give him a ticket.
The church has been, for over a year now, arguing that the green committee reports, if implemented, will adversely affect thousands of their people, mostly farmers living in areas mentioned in the report as 'ecologically sensitive'.
The Kerala Catholic Bishops' Council, in its election circular which was read out in the churches during Sunday mass on March 9, had asked the believers not to vote for those supporting the Kasturirangan panel report.
Around 123 villages are notified as ecologically sensitive areas (ESA) in the report.