APCA SG retracts petition after CEO warning

ITANAGAR, Apr 7: Arunachal Pradesh Catholic Association (APCA) secretary-general (SG) Pekhi Nabum has tendered an apology to the state chief electoral officer (CEO) and the public after he was directed to do so by the CEO for circulating a ‘prayer petition’ on the social media, allegedly appealing to fellow believers to cast their votes in favour of a particular candidate in the upcoming elections.
“… The prayer petition, which has gone viral on the social media, was not intended to campaign in favour of Nabam Tuki but to pray for peaceful conduct of the elections,” Nabum said in the apology letter he tendered to the CEO.
He has withdrawn the controversial petition, “effective immediately.”
“Earlier, a similar order was found circulating on the social media, issued by the Arunachal Pradesh Christian Revival Church Council (APCRCC), asking fellow believers to cast their votes for a particular candidate,” the CEO said in a press release.
The order from the APCRCC was withdrawn and an apology submitted after a notice was issued to the general secretary of the APCRCC on 26 March, the release said.
Referring to Section 123 (3) of the Representation of the People Act, 1951, the CEO said appealing for votes in the name of religion falls under corrupt practices. He called upon all to refrain from making such appeals in the name of religion.
Meanwhile, clarifying the controversy over the petition, APCA president Taw Tebin stated: “It was not a mass decision of all the churches but rather an individual decision of issuing prayer petition letter to urge to vote for one leader.
“Prayer petitions are issued during violence or troubled times or famines, but unfortunately, this time it was done for election purpose,” Tebin said.
He said the APCA would submit a letter of withdrawal to the election commission here and apologize for the same.
The APCA president also appealed for peaceful and “money-free” election.
He said the APCA has written a withdrawal letter which it will submit to the election commission here, along with an apology.