The Election Commission on Saturday issued a notice to Archbishop Thomas Macwan of the Gandhinagar Archdiocese for his call to Christians to pray for the victory of “humane leaders faithful to the Indian Constitution” in the upcoming Gujarat Assembly elections, PTI reported.
The notice was served through Gandhinagar District Election Officer Satish Patel. He asked the archbishop to explain why his appeal should not be viewed as a violation of the Model Code of Conduct.
“We have issued a notice to the archbishop seeking clarity over his intention behind the letter, which was widely publicised in the media,” Patell said. “We have given him a few days’ time to respond.”
The commission will decide its course of action based on Macwan’s response.
“We understand the letter was an attempt to misguide voters and confuse the minority community voters at a time the Model Code of Conduct is in force,” Patel said. “Such language should not be used.”
Macwan had called for prayers to “save our country from nationalist forces” in a letter to the clergy dated November 21, but he had clarified that his appeal was not directed against a particular part. “The results of this election are significant and it will have its repercussion and reverberation throughout our beloved nation,” Macwan had written. “We are aware that the secular and democratic fabric of our country is at stake.”
“Constitutional rights are being trampled, and not a single day goes without an attack on our churches, faithful or institutions,” Macwan said, adding that there was a growing sense of insecurity among minorities. “Nationalist forces are on the verge of taking over the country...The election results of Gujarat State Assembly can make a difference.”