In the fight for Cumbarjua constituency, kindness is a new weapon. Independent candidate, Fr. Bismarque Dias is gaining support across the constituency with his ‘Kindness Manifesto’ and clean, untainted image. “We need to waive off the corruption and support clean candidates like Fr. Bismarque,” says Divar resident Merwyn Menezes, of the well-known Farmacia Camilo Menezes.

John Fernandes, also from Divar, supports Bismarque Dias for his clean image and his anti-corruption stance.

Fatima Bootland of Divar found that Dias’ Kindness Manifesto resonated deeply with her conscience. “We are fed up of the usual politicians and their empty promises. If they have so much money for mahila mandals, how is it that they couldn’t provide basic amenities like a garbage disposal unit for our Divar?”

Joseph Marques of St. Estevam was all praise for Fr. Bismarque. “I personally know Fr. Bismarque as a hardworking person and we have undertaken numerous field trips to monitor levels of pollution and decay of our environment,” he said. “He has stood firmly against the challenges of muscle and money power.”

Suzette Silveira, also of St. Estevam, agrees. “Trust Fr. Bismarque to do the best for the betterment of our children,” she said.

Fr. Dias’ background of fighting for environmental and human rights issues are gaining him support from beyond the constituency borders. The campaign has attracted national and international attention with one press report comparing the campaign to Barack Obama’s presidential campaign, which was centered on Hope and Change.

“It is very easy to sneer at the system but very difficult to step forward to try and change it. I salute Father Bismarque’s courage and I am glad that people of integrity like him are willing to try and be the change,” says writer and activist Venita Coelho.

“He is a social activist with a long history of working to protect the environment,” said Advocate Jatin Naik. “Unlike so many others in the political fray, he is genuine and not an opportunist.”

Fr. Dias’ unusual and innovative campaign has included a Facebook page, Earth Kindness Picnics and 10,000 pledges of Kindness that have seen people from all over the world pledging to do little acts of kindness on March 3.

Here’s what a Divar resident has to say: