Special Correspondent

NEW DELHI: The Catholic Bishops’ Conference of India (CBCI) on Friday issued an appeal to the electorate to vote for a party that would protect and promote secularism and the democratic commitment enshrined in the Constitution.

Releasing the appeal at a press conference here, CBCI secretary-general Stanislaus Fernandes described the appeal as a set of guidelines that voters should keep in mind while exercising their franchise. Besides commitment to secularism and democratic values, the effort of voters should be to encourage candidates without a criminal record or corruption charges, and those who will work for social justice including reservation for Dalit Christians.

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As to whether the CBCI would pitch for any particular party, Archbishop Fernandes said the Catholic Church did not do that.

However, he added, that the appeal had been sent to all the dioceses of the Catholic Church and would be available in all languages. “Lay organisations can take a political stance,” he said.