Christians Seek Kejriwal to Bear the Cross in Delhi
By Richa Sharma - NEW DELHI
Published: 23rd Mar 2014 09:23:43 AM
Their population may be just one per cent in Delhi, but the Christian community wants their voice to be heard loud and clear this Lok Sabha elections. Christians who were traditionally supporters of the Congress party are now looking at the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) as an alternative in Delhi.
Members of the community have approached AAP for a meeting with senior party leaders and national convener Arvind Kejriwal to discuss issues and understand the party’s view on the minority community.
Pastor M M Singh of the New Cavalry Church in South Extension met party volunteers at Kejriwal’s Tilak Lane residence last Tuesday. Pastor Singh believes the former Delhi chief minister is a “good human being” and “wants to change the society” by removing “corruption” and “fighting against corrupt people”. “I have spoken to other pastors in Delhi and all of us want to hold prayers for Kejriwal so that he has power of God to fight and succeed in the polls,” he said.
Does it mean that Protestants in Delhi would vote for AAP? Pastor Singh says they are open to supporting Kejriwal in all his endeavours. People from the community say they would vote for a party that is secular, non-corrupt and interested in the welfare of Christians. Most believe they’ve been taken for a ride by the ruling Congress-led UPA government as their long pending demand for providing Scheduled Caste status to Dalit Christians has not been met. And they see the BJP as a non-secular party.
Father Dominic Emmanuel, the spokesperson of the Delhi Catholic Archdiocese, says the community is now more conscious about politics and ready to explore other alternatives like newer regional parties.
“In churches we never tell followers to vote for a specific community or candidate but what kind of candidate and party they should vote for, including that they must exercise their right to vote. We tell them they should vote for someone who is secular, not corrupt, recognises rights of all communities, believes in freedom of religion, is open to social change and does not impose forced conversion,” said Father Emmanuel, hinting that AAP could be such an option.
AAP leaders are individually reaching out to all communities to garner support ahead of polls. The party has given Lok Sabha tickets to a sizeable number of Muslims but not many Christians have applied for the same. “We are a secular party and many religious communities have approached us and pledged to support AAP in the polls for they want change and we are giving them an alternative,” said an AAP leader.
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