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Congress lauds BJP leader for saying minorities fear Narendra Modi

Monday, 31 March 2014 - 7:34pm IST | Agency: IANS

The Congress Monday 'congratulated' Goa's Deputy Chief Minister and BJP leader Francis D'Souza for publicly admitting that minorities had apprehensions about his party's prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi.

"We congratulate the deputy chief minister because he finally voiced the fears which the minorities have always had about Narendra Modi. The apprehension was finally articulated by a senior BJP leader himself," Congress leader Pratima Coutinho told reporters at a press conference.

The Congress Monday held several press conferences across the state on D'Souza's statement made Saturday.

D'Souza, one of the Bharatiya Janata Party's seniormost Christian legislators, said at a press conference that minorities have apprehensions about 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 Modi, who has been accused of hardline right-wing politics.

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

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

Congress spokesperson Vijay Bhike told reporters here that D'Souza's frank comments were a confirmation of what Congress leaders have been saying all the time.

"What D'Souza said now is what we have been saying all the while. The minorities do not trust Modi. That is why the BJP should drop him as their prime ministerial candidate," Bhike said.

On another statement by D'Souza, where he blamed the Church for re-igniting the debate on secularism versus communalism ahead of the Lok Sabha polls, Bhike said: "The Church is the spiritual leader of nearly 27% Christians in Goa. He has no right to attack the institution just because the Church statement affects his party's chances."

The Goa Church is a significant player in the state's socio-political space with its Catholic population pegged at nearly 27 percent.

Goa, which goes to polls April 12, sends two representatives to the Lok Sabha.




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