The leadership of the United Christian Forum (UCF) met Aam Aadmi Party's Mumbai leadership on Monday and discussed the issues faced by the Christian community in the city.
The UCF was represented by Gleason Barretto, Alexander D’souza & Kennedy D’Mello from Kurla, and Douglas Lobo & Alphi D’Souza from Vakola. They were also accompanied by the Management Committee of Mobai Gaothan Panchayat, an organization representing the East Indian Community, which is one of Mumbai's original and indigenous inhabitants.
The AAP in its official communique said that the Christian community lacks adequate political representation at all levels of government.
"Despite being a sizable and respected community, committed to service and having played a major role in building Mumbai, the Christian community has lacked adequate political representation at all levels of Government. It is only natural that they would seek to get elected as Municipal Councillors as urban local bodies like the BMC are the first level of government," the release said.
AAP National Joint Secretary Ruben Mascarenhas said that the party has learnt of the many grievances of the Christian community and the "harassment" it faces from the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) officials. He added that their demands are "legitimate" and "will be a part of the party's manifesto for the BMC polls 2022".
“We learnt of the many grievances that the community has to contend with. Gaothans are urban villages and not slums. They need to be protected, their culture needs to be preserved, infrastructure needs to be improved, in situ development needs to be allowed, and harassment by the BMC officials must stop. These demands are legitimate and will be a part of the Aam Aadmi Party’s manifesto for the BMC polls 2022. The Aam Aadmi Party has always strived for equal opportunity for all, and is committed to working for all communities in Mumbai. Every community deserves political representation," Mascarenhas said.
AAP Mumbai Prabhari Preeti Sharma Menon said the Christian community has an enormous contribution towards the building of Mumbai and "it is a great travesty that Christians in general, and East Indians in particular, do not have adequate representation in politics, as well as the legislature".
"We will be working closely with the United Christian Forum and community leaders to provide them with a platform to meaningfully participate in politics and get elected, since the AAP is a vehicle for political and social change," she added.