Catholic vote gives BJP majority in Goa

March 8, 2012 by  
Filed under Goa, National, newsletter-india, State

goa_catholic_partiesGoa, March 8, 2012: Six Catholic candidates secure seats in Legislative Assembly elections.

The Bharatiya Janata Party, or Indian People’s Party, won a majority of seats in Goa state’s 40-member legistlative assembly for the first time, largely on the strength of Catholic voters, analysts have said.

BJP and its allies won 24 seats, while the ruling Congress Party took only nine. Five independents and two members of another regional party also secured seats.

BJP had contested 31 seats with six Catholic candidates, all of whom won. The house now has 14 Catholics.

Father Eremito Rebelo of Goa archdiocese said an exhortation by the Church for ethical voting in the election had an impact on the results.

“There is little doubt that the Church exhortations have helped the BJP victory,” he said.

He added that voters had rejected the BJP when it was in power five years ago, as its polices were perceived to run against Christian interests.

“This mandate is simply in favor of a non-communal BJP,” he said.

Fr Feroz Fernandes, who edits a Catholic weekly newspaper, said he hoped the BJP victory would ease tensions between Christians and the Hindu nationalist party.

However, social activist Soter D’Souza said the “unprecedented” Catholic support “is probably the result of their political immaturity” and that he was skeptical that Catholics in Goa had really gauged “the long-term political and social implications of their decision.”

He added that Goan Catholics were insensitive to the suffering of Christians in BJP-ruled states in the country.

– ucan

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