» 07/19/2012, 00.00
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.
Mumbai (AsiaNews / Agencies) - This morning, the elections are being held
for the new president of India.
Mukherjee, candidate of the United
Progressive Alliance (UPA, the ruling coalition), is seen as the favorite
to replace Pratibha Patil, the first woman ever elected as president. His
main contender, PA Sangma, a Christian politician supported by the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP, the Hindu
ultra-nationalist opposition party). Beginning
at 10 (local time), the voting will end at 17 (local time). The results will
be announced on July 22 next.
President of India is not elected by the people, but an electoral college
composed of members of parliament and several States assemblies. The mandate lasts five years.
Minister of Finance (he resigned after his official candidacy, ed), Pranab
Mukherjee is considered one of the most experienced and capable politicians in
the country. His
political career began in 1969 under the government of Indira Gandhi, for whom
he was Minister of Finance. During
Prime Minister Manmohan Singh's first term, he has served as defense minister
(2004-2006) and for Foreign Affairs (2006-2009).
political history of Purno Agitok Sangma, a tribal Catholic, makes his
candidacy for the presidency, "curious". A
member of Congress (the main UPA party) and former president of the Lok Sabha
(Lower House or House of the People), in 1998 he left the party to form the
Nationalist Congress Party (NCP). At
the root of the rupture, the decision to elect Sonia Gandhi Congress President.
his election campaign he has effectively "acquitted"
the BJP for the anti-Christian pogroms in Kandhamal, generating a strong debate
among the Indian public - Christian and otherwise - because his candidacy is
supported by the ultra-nationalist Hindu party.
President has no real power in India,
but can play a key role in the case of a constitutional crisis: a scenario that
could take shape with the general elections of 2014. Precisely
for this reason, the Congress is hoping on a victory for Pranab Mukherjee to
regain popularity and recover from a series of corruption scandals, as well as
the problems in the Indian economy.
Cardinal Gracias: Prayers for new Indian president
The President of the Bishops' Conference of India greets "with pleasure" the election of Pranab Mukherjee, who has impressive political "leadership qualities" and a great "interest" for the good of the country. The prelate calls for renewed cooperation between the government and the Catholic Church, the mission among the poor and the marginalized.
Hindu nationalists oppose government’s targeted minority welfare policies
The governing UPA administration is preparing a minority map of the country so as to best target social spending at the regional level. BJP nationalists are against.
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Washington trying to save nuclear deal with New Delhi
Secretary Rice speaks to her Indian counterpart to reiterate US intention to go ahead with deal as is. India’s ruling alliance is divided over the issue. United States warns that if the Congress Party fails to get its allies on board, India’s campaign for a seat on the United Nations Security Council will suffer.
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.
India government seeking stricter controls on foreign donations
A new bill plans to strengthen government control over foreign donations to Indian NGOs and associations. Christians fear it is an additional move by Hindu fundamentalists against the Churches.
Card. Tong’s article on China-Holy See dialogue, arouses joy and dismay
The Hong Kong bishop’s optimism over a change in the method of appointing bishops and the function of the Patriotic Association. But it is unclear whether it is real change or just nominal, in words. Underground bishops are patriotic and love their country, but the Party is suspicious of them. Freedom in episcopal appointments is “essential", but the bishops are not free to exercise their ministry. Patriotic bishops controlled in their visits with members of the universal Church. The "bugs" (hidden microphones) in a bishop’s office.
Card. Tong: The future of Sino-Vatican dialogue from an ecclesiological point of view
Card. John Tong
The Hong Kong Cardinal outlines the steps that hope to propel dialogue between China and the Holy See. Themes include the Pope's role in the appointment of bishops; A change of vision in the Patriotic Association; the possible integration of the underground bishops in the Episcopal Conference. A new article by card. John Tong, following a previous article published a few months ago on "Communion of the Church in China with the universal Church."
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