05/02/2012, 00.00
INDIA
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Andhra Pradesh Church putting forward Christian as India's future president

by Nirmala Carvalho
According to the Andhra Pradesh Federation of Churches (APFC), S. P. Sangma is the "right person" to represent India to the world. The tribal Christian from Arunachal Pradesh is a former speaker of the lower house of parliament and a member of the Congress party. He has always been "impartial" and attentive to the needs of the residents of the country's northeast.

Mumbai (AsiaNews) - Trained as a lawyer and a former speaker of the Lok Sabha (lower house of parliament), S. P. Sangma is a tribal Christian who would me more attentive to the needs of India's northeastern (and more isolated) states. He would be the "right person" to be president of India, this according to the Andhra Pradesh Federation of Churches (APFC), which is pushing his candidacy in next July's presidential vote.

India is a "beautiful mosaic of multiple cultures, ethnic groups, languages, religions, geographical regions and states." The new president "must reflect our plurality and unity in diversity," not only as the nation's representative to other nations, but especially as someone who can "foster our national integration."

In recent months, Sangma's name was mentioned as a possible candidate. Originally from Arunchal Pradesh, he is a leading figure in the Congress party. Although the latter denied rumours to that effect, the APFC believes he embodies all of the country's ideals to become the new president of India.

First, India has not yet had a tribal Christian as head of state.

Secondly, Sangma has been particularly attentive to the needs of the country's northeastern states, which are isolated geographically (on the border of China and linked to the rest of the country by West Bengal's three northern-most district) and culturally (home to more than 220 ethnic groups with distinct traditions and dialects) from the rest of India.

Finally, as speaker of the Lok Sabha, he was amicable and impartial to all political parties.

The Andhra Pradesh Federation of Churches is a state-level umbrella organisation representing mainline Christian Churches: Catholic, Church of South India (CSI), Baptist, Lutheran, Methodist, Mennonite, Salvation Army, Seventh Day Adventist, Assemblies of God and Pentecostal/Evangelical Churches.

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