A galaxy of eminent Christian leaders, including the clergy and professionals from different walks of life, came together for a brainstorming session at the local YMCA conference hall on Saturday for the first time to evolve a consensus on Christian community playing an active role on the state political horizon.
The community which traditionally believed that politics was not their ‘cup of tea’ is now rethinking whether the extreme view of politics taken by the Church has relevance in the totally changed social and political environment today.
The ‘Christian Social Forum’ (CSF) representing a host of Christian organisations, including the Protestant and Catholic community churches, and Christian media groups – Aradana Television, Calvary Television and Bible Television – are now engaged in an exercise of carrying with it hundreds of leaders, organisations and the Christian clergy by organising regional conferences of the kind throughout the state to create a unified voice of the community. The Vizag Conclave is the fifth in series organised to carry on its mission to its logical end.
Former principal secretary, Government of Andhra Pradesh, B.Danam said that for decades since independence the Christian community was seen as the most reliable vote bank of the Congress party. Its support had been taken for granted. Deliberations with Christian leaders at all the five regional conferences in the state reflected unanimity that Christians should plunge into politics and make a difference to the political environment. The forum will also address issues concerning discrimination of Dalit Christians, among others.
According to pulse of state-wide conclaves, the community will no longer extend its support to any political partly unconditionally. While the CSF will remain a broad-based platform, out of the conclaves would be born a Christian Political Party (CPP) which will contest elections in limited constituencies by allying with a political party which ensures victory of the party’s candidates.
Aradana Television chairman and managing director Paul Devapriyam Pulla told The Hindu that no political party can hereafter take their support for granted. By 2014 the entire exercise of forming a political party would be completed. Victory in elections is not the criteria but the community emerging a political force is the long-term goal of CSF. “The community had been in the forefront of service to humanity through orphanages, schools, colleges and hospitals. The community had given a lot to society and now it is high time to get our due share in the political landscape” Mr.Paul said.
Former general manager of South Central Railways T.Stanley Babu, retired inspector general of police G.Alfred and former VUDA chairman Y.Maria Das and local leaders M.A.Paul, Godi Samuel and N.Jayakumar Rao participated.