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MRITAPURI, INDIA, October 8, 2001: Has the atheist Chief Minister Antony become a devotee of the woman-saint Mata Amritananda Mayi? Antony, a member of the Congress party, would not call himself a devotee but he admitted that he had found solace in the presence of the Mata, who is lovingly called Amma. "I am no believer nor do I practice a religion, but I do not harbor ill will towards any faith or creed," he said at the birthday celebrations of the Mata at Parayakadavu in Kollam district. "I met her for the first time in a Kochi-Delhi flight in1994. I noticed a radiance and love in her visage. Then in 1996, when I was chief minister, I inaugurated the Amrita project for free houses to the poor and widowed women. Ever since that I insist on meeting her whenever possible." Anthony's philosophic origins lay with Nehru socialism, but many of Kerala's communists have similarly shifted back toward their Hindu roots.