Goa BJP confident of doubling vote share; Oppn says don't use Ram for politics

Panaji, Jan 27 (IANS): BJP leaders in Goa are in a jubilant mood post the consecration ceremony of the Ram temple in Ayodhya and are stating that nobody can stop them from winning 400 plus seats in the forthcoming Lok Sabha elections. However, the Opposition is pointing out that there should not be a place for religion in politics.

On the consecration day Hindu organisations and the BJP held rallies across the state and citizens also participated with zeal.

Only one or two Opposition leaders participated in the celebrations but the rest of the leaders of the Opposition parties distanced themselves from the rallies and did not even wish the people on social media.

Sources said that Congress MLA Carlos Alvares Ferreira welcomed a rally by some Hindu groups in his constituency Aldona.

Another Opposition MLA and President of Goa Forward Party Vijai Sardesai also celebrated the day at his residence by inviting people from all faiths.

Vijai Sardesai said that ‘Ram Rajya’ means inclusivity and pluralism, not one-sided governance.

“‘Ram Rajya’ means inclusivity and pluralism, not one-sided governance. I celebrated the occasion with a Deepotsav along with members of the Hindu, Christian and Muslim community, all together. I believe this is the true spirit of ‘Ram Rajya’ in which all sections of society are treated justly, fairly and respectfully,” Sardesai, former Deputy Chief Minister in the BJP-led Government (last term), said.

“While we welcome Ayodhya being developed into a centre for spiritual tourism, on lines of Mecca and Medina for Islam and Rome for Christianity, we in Goa must preserve our age-old culture of tolerance and coexistence and usher in real ‘Ram Rajya’ in the state,” he said.

“Jai Shri Ram is not the slogan to vote for one party. It is a slogan to imbibe values of Ram and bring ‘Ram Rajya’. He doesn’t belong to just one party. One party is chanting slogans and trying to show that Ram is only theirs. There is no Ram Rajya today, in Goa we know that the concept (of Ram Rajya) has not become a reality. Our role is to see whether our conscience is clean and we can live together,” Sardesai said

Earlier he had said that 'Ram Rajya' means not just cleaning temples, but welfare of the people.

According to political analysts, Opposition MLAs failed to wish the people or participate in rallies held by Hindu organisations fearing it would benefit the BJP.

While taking the credit, BJP had managed the rallies so well that every party leader was present for the rallies and programs in the temples and interacted with the public.

BJP’s General Secretary and former MLA Damodar Naik blamed the Congress for the delay in the construction of the Ram temple.

“The Congress created hurdles in the construction of the temple. They hoodwinked people over this issue. But we resolved the issue by giving alternative space to the Muslim community to build a mosque. We could do it the constitutional way. Congress instigated people that untoward incidents will occur after construction of the temple, but nothing of that sort happened because we handled it carefully,” Naik said, adding that it was ‘Modi's Guarantee’ to hand over the temple to the people.

“Definitely the Ram temple construction will help us to gain votes. I would say our votes will be doubled and we will cross the 400 seat mark. Even in Goa it will now be easy to win both the seats. Since this development many people have started joining BJP because now they are confirmed that we can deliver,” Naik further said.

AAP Goa President Amit Palyekar said that BJP tried to derive political dividend out of this occasion. “BJP doesn’t do anything without any political benefit. They have tried to garner votes through this, but we will have to wait and watch whether people will allow them to grab the opportunity,” Palyekar said.

“It was like a BJP event. Lord Ram was not center stage, but Lok Sabha election was. Let us accept that the temple has been constructed. But I feel that even if we construct 100 temples, the question remains of the income source of people. Today, the BJP has failed to create jobs and give education, or proper health facilities. Middle class people are suffering. We will take these issues to the people. Finally, the people have to decide,” he said, adding that the middle class is suffering the most in the BJP regime.

Palyekar alleged that the BJP initiated a program to clean temples to gain political mileage, whereas “our temples are always clean. I visit temples regularly but never see dust in temples. If they wish to bring ‘Ram Rajya’ then it should become ‘Ram Rajya’. Don’t do politics over gods, it should stop.”

The Congress incharge of four North East states, Girish Chodank, said that the BJP was trying hard to cash in on the Ram temple to gain votes as they had failed in all aspects.

"This is a perfect example of how the BJP is baffled by the wrath of the public over its failures. This forced them to use Lord Ram to cover up issues facing the people. Goans and people of India are prudent enough to know that BJP uses the religion card and divides people. If they really want ‘Ram Rajya’ and Hindu ‘Rashtra’ then why are they not resolving the issue of Bhoma by saving villages and our culture? When they have a way to construct a bypass then why are they destroying a village which has three temples by expanding the National Highway?" he said.

"BJP is cheating people of the nation by not providing employment, through inflation and by giving fake promises of bringing back black money and depositing Rs 15 lakh each in the public’s account. The people of the nation have not forgotten that," he said.



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Title: Goa BJP confident of doubling vote share; Oppn says don't use Ram for politics

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