Defending the display of a portrait of Jesus Christ at an exhibition organised by the Communist Party of India - Marxist, party general secretary Prakash Karat on Tuesday said it was not done to run down religion or the basic tenets of Christianity.
Terming it as an "unnecessary controversy", Karat in his inaugural address to the CPI-M's state conference quoted Cuban revolutionary leader Fidel Castro to buttress the point that Christianity and Communism could co-exist.
"There are ten thousand times more coincidences of Christianity with Communism than with capitalism", was what Castro once told a meeting of Catholic priests, he said.
Terming the controversy over the display of the picture of crucified Christ at the party show as "unnecessary and unwarranted", he said the CPI-M had no intention to combat any religion though it was unrelenting in its fight against communalism of all hues.
"The CPI-M does not believe in combating any religion. Our fight is against communalism of any variety," he said.
The Catholic church and the Congress party in Kerala had taken strong objection to the display of the Jesus portrait at the party exhibition, terming it a 'blasphemous act' intended to make narrow political gain.
Besides the Jesus portrait, the CPI-M was also embarrassed over a political version of the famous 'The Last Supper' painting of Leonardo Da Vinci with US President Barrack Obama as the central figure in place of Jesus Christ, allegedly put up by party workers to depict the decline of capitalism.