A SOCIAL Democratic Liberal Party candidate says it is very important for people to understand that the party is not racist.
Nirmal Singh said party leader Ro Teimumu Kepa was on record saying SODELPA would be an inclusive party that looked after the interests of all Fijians regardless of race, colour or creed.
"If a party is standing up for the identity, rights and aspirations of the indigenous people whose numbers in this world is about 500,000, then that is not racism," Mr Singh said.
"It's about protecting the viability and sustainability of a race which has a unique culture, tradition and identity in a global community. We also have to look at the scenario that the population of Fijians of Indian descent is declining in Fiji and most of the educated and skilled people are leaving our shores for greener pastures abroad and this trend will continue."
Mr Singh said farmers, workers and low income earners would continue to call Fiji their home.
He said Fijians of Indian descent were a minority group in the country, numbering about 30 per cent of the population.
As such, he said: "It is in the interest of our people that we extend a hand of friendship, respect and understanding towards our indigenous people."
"We must understand each other's dilemma and address these issues with mutual respect. For Fiji to succeed, we must take care of each other.
"We must stop playing "rugby scrum" and start holding hands to move forward in unity."