BANDERDEWA, June 28: Expressing concern over increasing power of money in politics and elections, Arunachal Pradesh chief minister Pema Khandu on Thursday gave a clarion call to shun money culture in politics.
The chief minister made a fervent appeal to all “not to choose leaders who try to buy your votes. “A leader who buys vote will never deliver but will try to earn back his money while in power,” Khandu said while speaking at a function — Prem Milan — organised to pay tribute to Reverend Brother Prem Bhai, on his 10th death anniversary at Holy Trinity Catholic Church here on Thursday.
He said that such messages are best conveyed through religious leaders as people respect them for their moral high ground.
“If we politicians speak on money culture, people will interpret it politically,” said Khandu while urging all the religious leaders to pass on the message to stop use money to buy votes during polls.
“I am not saying that you should vote for BJP and not for Congress. But vote for those leaders who show good intentions and will perform,” said Khandu.
On Arunachal Pradesh Freedom of Religion Act or the anti-conversion law passed in 1978, the Chief Minister said the law could undermine secularism and was probably targeted towards Christians.
He assured that it would be tabled in the state Assembly during its next session for repeal “as it could be misused in future by irresponsible officials.”
The Chief Minister earlier laid a wreath on the casket of late Prem Bhai inside the Church. Khandu said, “Prem Bhai today commands respect not only in Catholic community but across all denominations of Christian society and also among different faiths”.
Calling Prem Bhai a “saint”, the chief minister recalled his contributions towards Nyishi society and development of Arunachal with his 25-year-long humanitarian service.
Further acknowledging the contributions of different missionaries in the development of Arunachal, Khandu said the state government was always ready to help such organizations which work towards uplift of people.
Further for assistance towards building of an ashram in memory of Prem Bhai, the Chief Minister announced to donate Rs 10 lakh from the Dorjee Khandu Trust and assured further support from the state government.
Speaking on the occasion, the state Environment and Forest Minister Nabam Rebia said that Prem Bhai was a source of inspiration for the entire humanity.
Participating in the programme, the APCC chief Takam Sanjoy said that Prem Bhai worked dedicatedly to spread the message of peace, love and harmony.
Former chief minister Nabam Tuki released a book on the occasion. Fr Kulandai also spoke on the occasion and briefed about the life history of Prem Bhai.
The function was organized by the Arunachal Pradesh Catholic Association.