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'Vote for Christian candidates'

'Vote for Christian candidates'

Author: Stanly Pinto
Publication: The Times of India
Date: February 26, 2004

Christian religious leaders on Thursday made a fervent appeal to the community members to vote for Christian candidates with a view to achieving greater development of the community.

Inaugurating the Christians' Political meet at Bendur here, Rev Fr Aloysius Paul D'Souza, bishop of Mangalore Diocese, said collective voice had greater strength than individual capacity to get what is rightfully due to the community. Citing instances where other communities have greatly benefitted from leaders largesse, he said Christians should set aside their differences and elect community leaders right from Gram Panchayat level to Parliament, so that the community is a force to reckon with.

Pointing at how banks have removed Good Friday from the holiday list, he said this would have never happened, if they thought the community had strong leaders.

Rev D'Souza pointed out that the community needs a thorough Baptism in politics and said that what the community lacked was courage, ambition and will to use their talents on a larger stage.

Presiding over the meet, Rev Fr Lawrence Mukkui, bishop, Belthangady Diocese, observed that despite constituting just 2.5 per cent of the country's population, the social service activities in the field of education and medical field was by the community was atleast 10 per cent. He said recognition is due for the community and only voices could be heard if duly represented in the political fora.

He said the community members were denied even basic fundamental rights enshrined in the Constitution, which were rightly due.

"We are interested in politics and we should protect our community members," added the bishop.

Earlier Raymond Takode, editor of Pingara, averred that Christian leaders neglected their community as they had not got the required support when fighting the polls. He said time had come to rally behind the leaders so that the community would benefit in a large way.

Later the meet adopted the resolutions demanding the state to declare Good Friday as a holiday under Karnataka Negotiable Act and urged all political parties to give representation to Christian community in atleast six assembly and three in the Dakshina Kannada District.

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