11/03/2014, 00.00
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Card. Gracias: Poor and minorities must be priorities for new (Hindu) government of Maharashtra

by Nirmala Carvalho
The Archbishop of Mumbai greets the executive formed by the Hindu ultra-nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP). Congress lost the election after 15 years in office. Need to "create an atmosphere of harmony and peaceful co-existence in our pluralistic society". The administration should resolve "the tragedy of farmers' suicides."

Mumbai (AsiaNews) - "Poor, minorities, the marginalized and the elderly must be the priority, to establish an inclusive culture". This is the hope that Card. Oswald Gracias, archbishop of Mumbai, puts in the new government of Maharashtra, formed by the Hindu ultra-nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP). At the last state elections (15 October), the population rejected Congress (Democratic Socialist) after 15 years in power in the richest state of India.

The BJP won the elections with an absolute majority, winning 122 seats; the second party is the Shiv Sena (right wing regional party) with 45 seats; Congress came in third place (42 seats). The new government - led by chief minister Devendra Fadnavis - was sworn in on 31 October, and also invited Card. Gracias to the ceremony.

"At the inauguration ceremony - Card. Gracias told AsiaNews - sitting among leaders of other faiths, was a moment of immense gratitude to God for our beautiful country, which is a secular democracy. India is the birthplace of many faiths and has accommodated and nourished multiple religions. The intricate mosaic of diverse faiths, beliefs, traditions and languages in India is indeed inspirational"

The prayers of the archbishop went "to the new leaders to give new impetus to inter-religious dialogue and foster a dialogue culture, creating the climate of harmony and  peaceful coexistence and in our religious pluralistic society, all peoples join together to promote whatever leads to unity, love, truth, justice and peace."

In addition, the Cardinal told AsiaNews, "I hope the government works to find a quick solution to the plight of farmers' suicides. The Church is deeply concerned about the increasing number of farmers who choose to end their own life."

For his part, the Cardinal added, "the Catholic Church renews its commitment to serve the country through our ministry of education and healthcare in order to contribute effectively to social welfare and nation-building."


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