Financial aid to churches, SC status to converted Christians among Naidu’s poll sops

Amaravati: In an attempt to woo Christian voters, Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister and Telugu Desam Party (TDP) supremo N Chandrababu Naidu on Thursday promised a number of sops for the community living in the state, including houses for pastors, financial support to churches and Scheduled Caste status to converted Christians if his party is voted to power again in the Assembly elections.

“We will build houses for pastors and give permission for construction of churches in villages. We will give financial support for the construction of churches,” Naidu said in a meeting of Christian pastors and other preachers here.

He also promised to give priority to Christians in nominated posts and “Scheduled Caste status to converted Christians.”

As of now, Christians get one per cent reservation under BC (C) quota in the state while the reservation for SC stands at 16 per cent. Reservation for converted Christians, however, is a complex and controversial issue as it allegedly promotes religious conversions.

During the interaction, Naidu held Prime Minister Narendra Modi responsible for attacks on minorities and slammed YSR Congress chief Jaganmohan Reddy for supporting him.”PM Narendra Modi is attacking the TDP as well as Andhra Pradesh. Christian preachers are being attacked,” he said.

He added, “Reddy said Modi would come to power again. Does Jagan want a person to come to power who did nothing against those who attacked Christians and Muslims? Does Jagan support Modi attacking Muslims and Christians?” he asked.

Naidu called Modi a “fanatic” and said that Reddy acts like a “psycho”. “Modi has become a fanatic… Modi’s rule is like that of a mafia and psycho. Will Christians support Jagan who is a slave of BJP and Modi?” he further asked.

Meanwhile, Jamaat-e-Ulema Hind (Andhra Pradesh chapter) leaders met Naidu and extended their support to the TDP. They promised to work for TDP’s victory in assembly elections.

Andhra Pradesh will vote to elect 175 members of Legislative Assembly on April 11. The results will be declared on May 23.