|Participants at the meeting|
A group of Christians in the Bharatiya Janata Party-ruled Madhya Pradesh state say they are encouraging Christians to contest the 2013 state elections in order to better articulate their community's needs.
In preparation for their political action, the Isai Maha Sangh or grand Christian forum organized its second Leadership Summit in Bhopal last weekend.
IMS State President Sujit William says Christians "will have to join in politics" to extend their cooperation to build the nation in a decisive manner.
He noted that currently it is "clear that in the Hindi speaking regions, Christians' socio-political leadership is very weak."
In most northern states, including Madhya Pradesh, Christians are less than 1 percent of the population and play no decisive roles in politics.
"We are making an effort" to change that scenario in this part of India, William said.
Some 1,000 lay leaders and delegates of Isai Maha Sangh attended the meeting. They sought ways to train youth, women and men in socio-political leadership.
The Summit was also attended by senior leaders of all major political parties in Madhya Pradesh such as Congress Party, Bhartya Janata Party, Communist Party of India, Community Party of India (Marxist) and Jantadal United.
The political leaders have lauded the efforts to train more Christians into the political life of the country.
In the last Assembly Election 11 Christian candidates contested under the ticket of various political parties and as independent candidates.
IMS Political wing President, M S Manu, (Nation Election Officer of the Janta Dal United Party) said IMS is "not promoting any one political party" but encouraging capable Christians to join a party that suits each of them.
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