After the Gandhinagar archbishop Thomas Macwan penned a letter against the “nationalist forces” and asked the Catholic community to ‘pray for good humans to be elected as leaders’, ahead of the Gujarat elections, the Election Commission, on Saturday, has sent a notice to the Archbishop of Gandhinagar and sought an explanation on his letter. The notice, sent by the District Election Officer of Gandhinagar, asks the Archbishop to explain why his appeal should not be viewed as a violation of the Model Code of Conduct. As per a report by The Indian Express, the action was taken on a complaint received by the Election Commission of India (EC) from an organisation named Legal Rights Observatory. In his letter, Macwan warned about “nationalist forces” taking over the nation and stated that Gujarat elections could make a difference.
In his letter, Macwan wrote, “The results of this election are significant and it will have its repercussion and reverberation throughout our beloved nation…We are aware that the secular and democratic fabric of our country is at stake. Constitutional rights are being trampled. Not a single day goes without an attack on our churches, faithful or institutions. Nationalist forces are on the verge of taking over the country…The election results of Gujarat State Assembly can make a difference.”
The organisation, Legal Rights Observatory, seeks “immediate action” against the Archbishop, stating that the public letter by Thomas Macwan, dated November 21, was an attempt to “generate fear” among voters to “divide people on the basis of caste and creed”. “We can always pray for good humans to be elected as leaders. Where do we Christians stand in Gujarat, at a bare 0.5 percent of the population? It has not been issued with any bad intention. If anyone uses the letter to divide the society or polarise voters, it will be unfortunate,” Macwan said, according to The Indian Express report.
Clearing the air, the archbishop claimed that there was no “malicious” intent behind the letter. He told The Indian Express, “The letter has only been sent to the Christian community to pray. We can always pray for good humans to be elected as leaders. It has not been issued with any malicious intent to harm anyone.”