Though the Catholics of the city of Kanpur, in the North Indian State of Uttar Pradesh (UP) are a minuscule 6,000 in a population of 5 million, divided into 7 assembly constituencies in the city, they have always actively participated in every election in creating voter awareness, thanks to the leadership of the Kanpur Catholic Association (KCA). Knowing its numerical limitations the KCA acts as a leaven in the dough, collaborating with like-minded civil and social organisations.
For the U.P. elections 2017 it has teamed up with the Kanpur Nagrik Manch (Citizens’ Forum) whose Convenor, chhotebhai, is also the KCA President. 5000 handbills in Hindi were printed as a voter’s guideline. It included a Citizens’ Charter of Demands bearing in mind the city’s urgent needs. The handbill presents an analysis of various national, State and local issues, including the notorious demonetisation move (better termed “demonisation”), communal flare ups and violence in Muzzaffarnagar, Dadri and Mathura, and poor civic amenities. It appealed to the voters to not be taken in by promises of freebies, as there is no such thing as a free lunch. The price will be extracted somewhere.
The campaign was launched at a Press Conference at the Press Club on 10th February, addressed by noted litterateur and Gandhian, Dr Giriraj Kishore. This was followed by an announcement in all churches on Sunday 12th February. Rev Thomas Kumar of St Patrick’s Church said that Vatican II teachings had made it incumbent on the laity and lay organisations like the KCA in particular, to participate in political affairs. The diocesan bishop, Raphy Manjaly of Allahabad, also expressed appreciation for the KCA’s efforts. Kanpur goes to the polls on the 19th.
The KCA members who actively participated in the campaign included Elizabeth Singh, Emmanuel Premchand, Cornelius Kujur, Peter Fernandes and Prem Balmiki.
(Source: Matters India)