Catholics will now suggest candidates, but will not solicit votes for any candidate or party

Last week, we covered that the Juhu Andheri residents asked the BJP to back their candidate. This move has found resonance among the Mumbai’s catholics, whose political arm will now request politicos to weigh up the nominees they recommend.

Church in the City, an umbrella organisation of the 100-odd religious institutes that speak for over five lakh Catholics in the metropolis, held a congregation at Dadar’s Portuguese Church on Saturday to sound political outfits out on what they can offer to the community. The nearly 150 office bearers from various parishes who attended the gathering will now not only screen party candidates but also suggest their own for each ward.

These candidates, the CIC holds, should belong to the area they are contesting from but needn’t be Catholic. And neither the CIC nor the Church will canvass for any party or even the candidate they have proposed, the forum has said.

“The proposed candidates could be from within or outside the Catholic community, irrespective of the size of the ward’s Catholic population,” said Nelson D’Souza, one of CIC’s founder members. “If the suggested candidates contest on a party ticket, they will be responsible to win over voters’ trust,” he added.

CIC chief secretary Willie Shirsat iterated the point, saying they wouldn’t be involved in electioneering for any candidate in any way. “The idea is that we make our presence felt in the selection of the best candidates for all constituencies. Political parties have their lists of meritorious candidates and we will ask them to consider the names suggested by us as well. We will not proclaim whom the votes should go to because that is not what the Church principles stand for.”

Among the politicians who were part of the meet are BJP legislator Ameet Satam (Andheri W), Congress corporator Asif Zakaria (Bandra West) and MNS corporator Sandip Deshpande (Shivaji Park ).