Panaji, March 29 :
BJP prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi continues to be a cause of apprehension for the minority community, the party’s Goa leader Francis D’Souza said Saturday.
“Minorities will have an apprehension. It will always be there,” D’Souza, the deputy chief minister, said in response to queries if minority communities would accept Modi, who in the past has been accused of hard-line right wing politics.
Incidentally, D’Souza, one of the earliest minority leaders who joined the Bharatiya Janata Party in Goa more than a decade ago, was one of the few party leaders who had expressed apprehension after Modi’s nomination as the party’s campaign chief during the national executive held in Goa last year.
“That apprehension is still there,” D’Souza said, adding that a debate on the very same apprehension was present in the mass media.
D’Souza also suggested that the influential Roman Catholic Church in Goa could be responsible for re-igniting a debate on ‘secularism versus communalism’ debate in Goa.
“This may be a fact,” he said to a query if a recent communication from Church authorities imploring its flock to vote for secular candidates and not fall prey to personality cults and fake “good governance” models, could have diverted the popular electoral discourse from development to communalism.
However, he questioned the “communal” label for his party.
“There are six Catholic MLAs (legislators) in the BJP. Why should we be called communal?” D’Souza said.
The Goa Church is a significant player in Goa’s socio-political space with its Catholic population pegged at nearly 27 percent.
Goa, which goes to polls on April 12 sends two representatives to the Lok Sabha.