ITANAGAR, April 7 - A beleaguered Arunachal Pradesh Catholic Association (APCA) on Sunday withdrew the �prayer petition� it had allegedly issued urging the Catholics in the State to vote for a particular candidate, besides tendering an apology to the State Chief Electoral Officer and the public over the controversy.
A press note from Nirvachan Bhavan here said reacting to the viral message on social networking sites, the office of State CEO issued a �show cause� notice to the APCA secretary general directing him to withdraw, with due apology, the �prayer petition�, issued by him requesting fellow believers to cast their vote in favour of a particular candidate.
Later in the evening, the APCA secretary general submitted a �withdrawal letter� to the said prayer petition and tendered apology stating that his �intention was not to campaign for any specific candidate but to pray for peaceful conduct of election�.
Earlier, a similar �order� was found circulating in social media which was reportedly issued by the Arunachal Pradesh Christian Revival Church Council (APCRCC) asking the fellow believers to cast their vote for a particular candidate. The said post was also withdrawn by the APCRCC with an apology after its general secretary was served with a �notice� by the office of CEO on March 26.
The CEO, while referring to the section 123 (3) of the Representation of the People Act, 1951, stated that appealing for votes in the name of religion falls under corrupt practices. He requested all to refrain from making such appeal for votes in the name of religion, which he pointed out puts undue influence and pressure on the voters which not only violates the model code of conduct but is also an offence under Indian Penal Code.