02/16/2017, 11.48

Elections in Mumbai: the Archdiocese does not endorse any candidate or political party

Nirmala Carvalho

A video posted a few days ago seemed to show an alleged support of the Hindu nationalist party in government. An official statement reiterates that the local Church does not endorse any particular group. Catholic leaders invite people to vote. Awareness campaign in schools.


Mumbai (AsiaNews) - The Archdiocese of Mumbai, led by Card. Oswald Gracias, does not endorse any candidate or political party in the upcoming municipal elections of 21 February. A note from the diocese, dispels rumors circulating in recent days about a possible support of the local Church of the Hindu nationalist party in government.

Those doubts were born following a video posted online showing a friendly meeting between Cardinal and Prime Minister Narendra Modi. With its initiative, the archdiocese wants to avoid "the video being used to push people to vote for a particular candidate."

The statement, released on February 14, reads: "It is hereby clarified that the Archdiocese of Bombay and His Eminence, Oswald Cardinal Gracias, have always encouraged all persons to execute their constitutional right of voting. However, the Catholic Church does not endorse or support any particular party or candidate".

Voting for the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation, (BMC) will be held next week. The election campaign is heating up and this is why The Examiner, the official weeks archdiocese, urged the 250 thousand local Catholics to go to the polls.

Fr. Anthony Charangat, editor, said that the political assembly of Mumbai is the richest in all of India. "In 2012 - he added - some candidates won with a thin majority of just 21, 58, 82 or 128 votes. Even a single street, building or neighborhood can determine the balance. This can lead to coalitions to cobble together some majority. "

According to the priest, "it is the responsibility of every citizen to make sure that the funds are used in the best way. For this they have to leave home and go to vote. " Together with the Director, other Catholic leaders argue the importance of voting. This is the case of Gerson Da Cunha, who gave birth to Action for Good Governance and Networking in India (AGNI), supported by the Diocesan Commission for Education (ABE). The aim is to sensitize children on the subject, so that they can then take home the knowledge gained and urge parents to take part in elections.

In this regard, Fr. George Athaide, Secretary of EBA, organized meetings for eight school principals, two for each school. Agni prepared three videos for teachers, to be projected in the classroom and shown to 300 thousand schoolchildren. "In the last election - said Da Cunha - we had a turnout equal to 38.44%. This time will we reach the 60%? ".

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