Panaji, Aug 18 Dismissing as “hyperbole” an article published in a Church-run magazine which claimed a Nazi-like atmosphere had emerged in contemporary India, Goa Minister Vijai Sardesai on Friday said that there was no Swastika-like spectre looming over Goa.
He also said that if a “fascism-like” situation arises in the coastal state and India, he would part ways with the BJP.
Addressing a press conference in Panaji, the Town and Country Planning Minister, who heads the ruling alliance party Goa Forward and is a part of the National Democratic Alliance network, also said that a section of the Catholic community in his constituency of Fatorda did not believe the contents of the article written by a lawyer F.E. Noronha in “Renovacao” — a pastoral bulletin of the Archdiocese of Goa and Daman — which urged Goas to vote against communal forces in order to halt the march of “nationwide fascism” in the upcoming by-poll.
“In the English language there is a figure of speech called hyperbole… I call this a clear cut case of exaggeration. In Goa, where is the fascism? Which community is being discriminated or acted against by the state, through the state machinery?” Sardesai said, claiming that he was speaking on behalf of Goa’s minority community.
Sardesai, whose Goa Forward party contested the February 2017 assembly polls on an anti-BJP pitch with a significant backing of the state’s Catholic minority, also said that the article could be a result of an element of scepticism in a section of the state’s populace.
“There is scepticism, pessimism among certain sections of Goan people,” he said.
The Minister also said that he would not hesitate to quit the BJP-led ruling alliance with signs of state-sponsored fascism begin to show in the state and country.
“If the NDA government does something which actually amounts to fascism, we are not here permanently glued to them,” Sardesai said, claiming that there was no “Swastika” (Nazi symbol) looming over Goa for now.
The article published in the latest edition of the Church-run magazine had alleged similarities between Nazi Germany and India under the NDA regime.
“Anybody who read William Shirer’s ‘The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich’ or Allan Bullocks’ ‘A study of tyranny’ or Hitler’s own ‘Mein Kampf’ will find an extraordinary identity between the growth and rampage, of Nazism in Germany in 1933 onwards and India in 2014,” the article said.
“The country is being ruled by one or two men and the rest are mere henchmen and running dogs. Please don’t vote for a person who is a mere subaltern of such individuals. We should not vote for persons who show no sign of distinct backbone or character and evidently agree with the nationwide fascism… Freedom, democracy and secularism are more important than corruption. Corruption was better. Let the corrupt rule if they allow us to talk, to eat and to be politically free,” the article also said, while indirectly asking voters to cast ballot against Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar in the upcoming Panaji by-poll.
Catholics 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.