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Trouble for Parrikar? Goa Church magazine likens NDA rule to Nazis, calls for BJP defeat in Panaji bypoll

The magazine says the biggest issue in India today is no longer corruption, or even secularism, but of freedom and implores voters not to cast their ballot in favour of a candidate who agrees with fascism.

india Updated: Aug 18, 2017 12:39 IST
Indo Asian News Service
Indo Asian News Service
Indo Asian News Service, Panaji
Goa Church magazine,Goa church,BJP
Catholics, who look to the Church in Goa as their religious and spiritual guide, account for more than a quarter of the state’s population and also a sizeable chunk of the Panaji’s votebank.(HT File Photo/For Representation)

An article a Goa Church-run magazine has likened the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) government to Nazi Germany and called for the party’s defeat in a bypoll next week, signaling likely trouble for chief minister Manohar Parrikar who is in the fray.

The article – written by Panaji-based lawyer FE Noronha – has appeared in the pastoral periodical of the Archdiocese of Goa and Daman- Renewal Novsornni Renovocao. Catholics form more than a fourth of the state and will likely shape the August 23 Panaji bypoll, where Parrikar is fighting.

“Increasingly everyday what we are witnessing in India, is nothing but a constitutional holocaust. Corruption is very bad, communalism is worse, but Nazism is worse than both,” the article states, urging Goa voters to vote against communal forces to halt the march of “nationwide fascism”.

The article takes several potshots at the chief minister without naming him, and implored voters not to vote people who don’t “show no sign of distinct backbone or character and evidently agree with the nationwide fascism”.

The article also describes the Panaji bypoll on August 23 as an opportunity to stem the downside of Indian democracy by voting against Parrikar, who in the past has been criticised by the opposition for U-turns in matters of policy.

“There are rare occasions – and August 23 is one -- when the future of a state and of the whole nation depends on a single election,” said the article. “Freedom, democracy and secularism are more important than corruption. Corruption was better.”

Parrikar refused to comment on the piece. “I do not want to say anything. If someone studies history of Germany, you will realise contradiction.”

Parrikar returned to Goa as chief minister for a fourth term this March but has battled unpopularity after scrambling together a last-minute coalition to form the government. The BJP won just 13 of the state’s 40 seats, prompting many to say that the saffron party didn’t have the moral right to remain in government.

The article comes as the second instance of a new-found disliking of the church for the BJP. The first was a fact-finding report published soon after an accused was caught in a spate of desecration cases in the state.

The report said the BJP was trying to hoodwink the Christian community by the arrest of Francis Pereira, and asked for a judicial probe in the matter, accusing right-wing parties of vandalism.

First Published: Aug 17, 2017 23:59 IST