Worried that a BJP government may bring in the anti-conversion bill and leave saffron imprints in bureaucracy and the police, some of the Catholic orgnisations in the city are appealing to the members of the community to vote only for the Congress in the Lok Sabha elections.
The Christian bodies say despite its secular credentials, the Aam Aadmi Party can't be a choice as it doesn't have much sway in Mumbai like it has in Delhi. They fear that going for AAP will split the votes and indirectly help BJP.
Catholic Secular Forum (CSF) president Joe Dias said, "We are appealing to the members of the Christian committee to vote for the Congress as parties like AAP may not be able to defeat the communal forces. So our vote should not be wasted."
The community is worried that if BJP is voted to power Hindutva elements will get a free hand – currently BJP-ruled states have passed the anti-conversion bill. Besides, budgetary allocations to minority institutions will be reduced.
"We will give a charter of demands to BJP and other parties on various issues of concern to the minorities. We want to know BJP prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi's stand on many issues concerning the minorities," said Dias.
Agnelo Fernandes, president of the Maharashtra Christian Youth Forum said candidates from other parties do not appear strong enough to beat the saffron party hence they are focusing on Congress to prevent vote split.
Secretary of Association of Concerned Catholics Arcanjo Sodder too expressed similar sentiments. "Parties like AAP do not have much of presence in Mumbai. If it was Delhi, things would have been different."
However, Mumbai Gaothan Panchayat spokesperson Walter Murzello said their priority is corruption. "We will support any party that will cleanse the system. We are not rooting for a particular party. It could also be a party like AAP."