Goa MLA and National general secretary of BJP Minority Morcha, Joshua D’Souza has said that by default, minorities are with Congress and never voted anywhere else in the past.
In an exclusive interview to IANS, youngest MLA in Goa assembly, D’Souza, said, “Number of Catholic MLAs has increased over the period. It might be possible that in future a Muslim leader represent BJP in Goa assembly.”
He blamed opposition parties for creating an anti minority image of the BJP. “A perception has been created against BJP by opposition parties for so many years. They put in minorities mind that this is how BJP has been and this is how BJP is,” he said.
Excerpts from the interview:
Q. There is a perception that BJP is against minorities. How do you see party’s chances in next assembly polls in Goa with huge Christian population?
A. A perception has been created against us by opposition parties for so many years. They put in the mind of people or minorities of this country that this is how BJP has been and this is how BJP is. The BJP has never discriminated on the basis of religion. It is the party which gave the first Catholic Deputy Chief Minister in Goa. Union Home Minister Amit Shah while interacting with party MLAs of Goa said that BJP set an example by making first Deputy Chief Minister from Catholic community in the state. This is how the BJP is winning confidence of the community.
Christians are not a minority in Goa, but a minority community in the country. We worked hard for years and won their confidence.
Goa is a small state but has a magnified effect. People from across the country and world are looking at what is happening in Goa. With only 40 assembly constituencies, the kind of average attention Goa gets on national level is very high.
So, we are focused to connect with all the minority communities with reach out campaigns. We are also trying to get the support of minorities who are aligned with Congress for many years.
Q. So you are saying that BJP is trying to make inroads in Congress vote bank?
A. By default minorities are with Congress and never voted anywhere else in past. But what I experienced in the last two years as MLA that former chief minister Manohar Parrikar had won people’s confidence, people trusted him. Nobody says that Parrikar was BJP’s or Hindu’s chief minister. Ask anyone in the state including minorities, everyone would say Parrikar is our chief minister. He established the BJP in all sections of society including minorities.
Goa BJP is taking forward the work of late Parrikar and is working on to win people’s trust and confidence.
So, the Goans who were voting for Congress by default have a better option — the BJP, which talks about inclusive development of all religions and castes.
Q. There is an allegation that BJP did not give tickets to minorities?
A. This is also a perception created by the opposition parties. In the last 20 years, the number of Catholic BJP MLAs increased immensely in Goa — from one to 15. It might be possible that in future a Muslim leader represent BJP in Goa assembly.
I don’t decide about the ticket, there are people in the party who decide about the ticket distribution taking into account all the factors.
So those saying the party did not give tickets to minorities are proven wrong. The Goa model can be used in other states. I am confident that like Goa, more minority leaders will get tickets to contest elections in other states.
Q. What is minority specific reach out programme for next year’s assembly poll?
A. BJP minority morcha is taking out several initiatives in all the five poll bound states, like new membership drive, strengthening and formation of booth committees. Our colleagues in the minority morcha are executing all the works in a planned manner.
In Goa, minority morcha is forming a new team at each polling booth. Work has been completed in 28 assembly seats and will be completed on remaining 12 seats in coming days.
Minority morcha will play an important role in forthcoming elections in Goa, Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Punjab and Manipur.
Q. You are the youngest MLA in the Goa assembly, youths have lots of expectations from you. Employment is a major concern for Goan youth. What would you say?
A. Yes, employment is a concern for the BJP government. Prime Minister Narendra Modi has stressed about ‘self reliant’ and similarly Goa government started ‘Swayampurna Goa’, aimed at making the state self-sufficient.
Goa is a rich state in terms of human resources. People including youths realize that everyone will not get a government job, so the government motivates them to pursue self employment. Youths are guided that you can be your own boss by starting your own business.
The Goa government is providing loans and assistance to help the youth start their own work. Goan youth have lots of potential and started setting up their own enterprise.
The BJP government is creating an environment for startups and other business opportunities and with people’s participation, we will succeed in achieving ‘self reliant’ and ‘self sufficient’ Goa.
(The story has been published via a syndicated feed.)