Christian leaders in New Delhi attended a day-long consultation to formulate an agenda for the next general elections, saying they would work out a draft on common consensus.
“Church should be secular and not communal so that our voices could be heard,” said Samuel Jayakumar, executive secretary of the Commission on Policy, Governance and Public Witness of National Council of Churches in India (NCCI).
The consultation was organized by NCCI yesterday on the theme- Minority Communities and Electoral Politics: Agenda for the next General Election.
Jayakumar said that, “we should leave behind our differences and come together for the common goal.”
Fr. Dominic D’Abreo, spokesperson of Catholic Bishops’ Conference of India (CBCI), stressed that the draft should be accessed by all the religious leaders for better implementation.
He said they plan to exchange ideas and views among the church denominations and come up with a final draft which will be acceptable by all.
Fr D’Abreo said that, “our demand should be issue based so that it will have more weight.”
T. K. Oommen, a panelist during the event, said that protecting identity, providing dignity and security to all people specially dalits, tribals and under privileged should be in the agenda.
Oommen, who is the former professor of Sociology at the Jawaharlal Nehru University, said “we should be clear in our stand and make the ruling (Congress) party realize that they can’t take us lightly.”
He suggested that there should be a candidate who can represent the Christian community and whose voices can be heard by the nation.
The church leaders said it is time to bring “our agenda and share with all the political parties so that it will have a place in their election manifesto.
Christian community can also use this time to pressurize the government to bring some policy changes before election, the meet suggested.
The general elections in the country are due in 2014.
India: Besides undergoing jail term, he has to pay a fine of rs 2.15 lakh.