» 06/27/2012, 00.00
The "curious" ascent of Sangma, a tribal Catholic backed by the Hindus
The political history of Purno Agitok Sangma makes his candidacy for President of India a novelty. A member of Congress (in government), he then left to form a nationalist party. Now, has the support of the Bharatiya Janata Party, the ultra-nationalist Hindu party.
Mumbai (AsiaNews) - A very curious situation is looming in
India. For the first time, a Catholic politician is running for president of
the country. But what's even more strange is that Purno Agitok Sangma has the
support of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), the
pro-Hindu party. Purno was a member of the Congress (the ruling party, ed) and former president of the Lok Sabha
(Lower House or House of the People). But when in 1998 the problem arose of
electing Sonia Gandhi as president of the Congress, he - along with Sharad Pawar - left the party to form the
Nationalist Congress Party (NCP). Now, to present his candidacy, Sangma has
left the NCP. And at a press conference, the BJP has announced that Sangma, a
tribal Catholic and native of Meghalaya (a Northeastern state), will be its
candidate for the presidential elections on July 19.
Sushma Swaraj, leader of the BJP, said: "Since the
Congress did not want to make a prior consultation with us, we decided that
Sangma is the most suitable candidate. We had two names: A.P.J. Abdul Kalam
[former president of India, ed] and Sangma. Kalamji did not contest the choice
to support Sangma". The announcement came a day after the Catholic
politician's withdrawal from the Nationalist Congress Party, which instead has not supported his presidential race.
For several weeks, even many Catholic associations have
underscored the need for a Christian president, as Muslims, Sikhs and Dalits
have already led the country. The first to propose Sangma's name were J
Jayalalithaa and Biju Patnaik, the respective chief
Tamil Nadu and Orissa.
Sangma says he is not the candidate of a single party, but a
representative of the 100 million tribals in India. "I'm happy about the
support of the BJP", he said, "but it isn't the only party. Also the Akali
Dal [Sikh party, ed], the Jharkhand Mukti Morcha [or Jharkhand Liberation Front, the local
party claiming the regional autonomy of the states in India, ed] and other
smaller parties have expressed their support."
Meanwhile, the Congress has
indicated Pranab Mukherjee, former Minister of Finance of the Government, as
its candidate. However, he doesn't have the support of all the allies of the Congress. Among these are also the Shiv Sena (an ally of the BJP, ed.) and the Janata
Dal (secular party, an ally of the Congress, ed.) Sangma has said to precisely these groups that he
would ask "in person" for their support for his candidature.
Activist priest: Sangma is a disgrace to all of India
Interviewed by AsiaNews, Fr. Cedric Prakash, director of the Jesuit center "Prashant" for human rights, justice and peace comments on the nomination of the tribal Catholic politician and the support of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP). The declarations of Sangma that "absolve" the BJP for the pogrom in Kandhamal show all his opportunism.
Raghuvanshi: BJP manipulates Christian candidate for president
PA Sangma, tribal Catholic of Congress Party, states there is"no evidence" to say that the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP, Hindu radical party) is responsible for the anti-Christian pogrom in Kandhamal. According to Lenin Raghuvanshi, human rights activist, the BJP is exploiting the politician to get the tribal votes.
06/10/2017 14:03:00 INDIA
In Jharkhand, Hindu extremists accuse a Catholic headmaster of boycotting their shops
Dilip Ekka heads St Joseph’s School. Nationalists want to undermine India’s Catholic educational system. For Sajan K George, Christians have "been targeted by extremist groups” because they work for tribal development.
Catholic priest arrested for pedophilia in a Hindu fundamentalist plot
Hindus want to stop Tribals from getting a Catholic education so as to better control them, says the Bishop of Amravati. Government and press are abetting the whole thing. "The authorities should wake up; such episodes are the seed of a great tragedy", says human rights activist.
Vote begins to elect next president of India
Polls put Pranab Mukherjee, former Minister of Finance, as the favorite. Against him, PA Sangma, a controversial Christian politician who has won the support of the opposition ultranationalist Hindu denying the pogroms in Orissa. The results will be released on July 22 next.
VATICAN - ASIA
The world is in urgent need of the Church's mission
October is a month devoted to awakening the call to mission among Christians. In the world there is indifference or enmity towards God and the Church. Religions are considered the source of all wars. Christianity is the encounter with a Person who changes the life of the believer and places him at the service of the wounds of the world, torn by frustrations and fratricidal wars. The example of the Patriarch of Baghdad and of the President of South Korea.
12/10/2017 HONG KONG - CHINA
12/10/2017 VATICAN - ITALY
13/10/2017 VATICAN - LEBANON
AsiaNews IS ALSO A MONTHLY!
AsiaNews monthly magazine (in Italian) is free.