Parliamentary elections in India worries Christians

By April 22, 2004

India (MNN) — Christians are still concerned despite positive exit polls as India’s parliamentary elections continue in that predominately Hindu nation. According to reports, India’s Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee’s National Democratic Alliance is expected to return to power and gain more seats.

Gospel for Asia’s KP Yohannan says believers are concerned. “The biggest fear,” says Yohannan, “about this whole election for religious minorities, is that the BJP on their own, will have a majority which means they can rewrite the constitution, bring laws like you have in Afghanistan, Iran or Saudi Arabia.”

However, Yohannan doesn’t anticipate that happening because they may have to rely on a coalition. “Which is a the way it’s been running right now. Therefore the picture is a little different from what some people feared, saying that we’re going to be in trouble,” says Yohannan.

The Vajpayee government has been buoyed by good harvests, economic growth of eight percent, and high prospects for peace with Pakistan. Economic growth is largely dependant on good relations with the United States, says Yohannan. So, harassment of minority religions like Christians and Muslims may not be high on their radar.

The results seem to indicate that the Vajpayee win won’t be near the runaway that was projected.

Yohannan says while he’s not as concerned GFA is still taking a ‘wait and see’ approach. “The key thing is ‘what will they do after the election?’ My pray an hope is they will not go and give into the extremists hands.”

Whatever the outcome, Yohannan says it won’t affect the work of Gospel for Asia. Yohannan says, “As far as we are concerned, they thousands of pastors and missionaries they made a decision, whether life or death we are going to continue to preach the Gospel. That is something we have declared publicly and the government and everybody knows that, also.”

The elections began Wednesday and will continue through May 10th. Results are expected some time after May 13th.

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