By SAR NEWS
NEW DELHI (SAR NEWS) — The newly formed government of India has an
increased representation of the Christian community this time. With
four Catholics in the Union council of ministers headed by Prime
Minister Manmohan Singh, the miniscule Christian population in the
country is only too happy.
A.K. Antony is the defence minister while K.V. Thomas, Agatha Sangma
and Vincent Pala are ministers of state. All four of them are
Catholics, but Antony, former Kerala chief minister and a Rajya Sabha
MP, is a self-professed atheist. He declined to take oath of office in
the name of God during the swearing-in ceremony last week.
The previous government of the Congress-led United Progressive
Alliance had three Christian ministers – Antony, Oscar Fernandez and
Spokesman for the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of India, Divine Word
Father Babu Joseph, told reporters last week that the fact there were
four Christians in the Union Cabinet “shows the cultural and religious
diversity of India, which has been the hallmark of our history and
This was also a move towards an inclusive approach in the Indian
polity, he added.
Catholic Christians make up 1.8 percent of the country’s population,
while the total Christian population is 2.5 percent.
While Antony and Thomas are from Kerala, Agatha Sangma and Vincent
Pala belong to the northeastern state of Meghalaya.
Nationalist Congress Party leader P.A. Sangma’s daughter Agatha, 28,
is the youngest minister in the council of ministers. She represents
the Tura constituency in Meghalaya. Congress leader Vincent Pala, 41,
is a first-time MP. He represents Shillong constituency. K.V. Thomas,
63, is a former Kerala minister. Thomas won the Lok Sabha elections
from Ernakulam constituency.