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Parrikar dodges questions on Catholic minister’s Modi remarks


Panaji, April 2:

Goa Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar Wednesday dodged questions about a controversy stirred by his deputy Francis D’Souza, a Catholic, who last week insisted the minorities have apprehensions about BJP’s prime ministerial hopeful Narendra Modi.

Manohar Parikkar, CM, Goa
Manohar Parikkar, CM, Goa

An irritated Parrikar said he would not reply to comments made by “someone else”.

“You ask him… I will not answer you,” Parrikar said, even as the Bharatiya Janata Party in Goa is struggling to cope with the damage caused by D’Souza’ comments.

D’Souza, one of the BJP’s seniormost Christian legislators, said at a press conference last week that minorities have apprehensions against Modi and will continue to harbour them in the future.

“Minorities will have an apprehension. It will always be there,” D’Souza said in response to queries if minority communities would accept BJP’s prime ministerial candidate Modi, who in the past has been accused of hard-line right wing politics.

D’Souza has been with the BJP in Goa for more than a decade.

He was one of the few party leaders who had expressed apprehensions after Modi’s nomination as the party’s campaign chief during the national executive held in Goa last year.

D’Souza’s comments, coupled with a “vote for secular” directive to the 27 percent Christian population in Goa issued by the Goa Church has come as a shock for the BJP.

The state sends two MPs to the Lok Sabha.