Kerala Catholic Bishops' Council, an influential body of top Catholic priests in the state, on Tuesday exhorted people to not support parties trying to "polarise" masses on communal lines in the Assembly polls due on May 16.
Making its position clear on various issues including major campaign points of political parties in the crucial elections, such as development, environment and corruption, the Council said, "pluralism is the core" of Indian civilisation and it is a necessity for a state like Kerala to protect Indian "sanskriti (culture)" like "unity in diversity".
The church leaders cautioned against political parties and leaders having "dictatorship" tendency.
They said political leaders encouraging culture of debate and discussions and engaging in discussions respectfully on disputed issues should be elected to power.
"It would be dangerous supporting those who try to assume power by dividing various castes and religions through communal polarisation," said the statement signed by KCBC president Cardinal Baselios Cleemis, Vice-President Archbishop Joseph Perumthottam and Secretary Bishop Joseph Kariyil.
The church leaders also urged people not to elect people who encourage illegal exploitation of natural resources.
"No steps have been taken to legalise around 3,000 illegal quarries currently operational across the state...We should elect those who show courage to end corruption in these sectors," they said.
Taking a strong position against corruption and nepotism, the council also said, people should be aware of the fact that those who indulge in corruption are looting the wealth of the public.