Goa’s pro-government singing contest gets competition

Panaji, March 8 (IANS) Musical Warriors, a group of activist singers, on Tuesday came up with its own quirky response to a Goa government sponsored Konkani song singing contest, in which participants have to sing songs praising the current BJP-led coalition government.

“The government seems to not realise that praise should be voluntary. Our musical performances will reveal the truth about the last four years of BJP governance and their anti-people policies and schemes,” Kennedy Afonso, a member of Musical Warriors organising ‘Konkani Cantaram’ told reporters.

While the government sponsored ‘Konkani Kantaram Utsav’ was being held at the Institute Menezes Braganza hall in the heart of the city, the parallel Konkani singing contest organised by the Musical Warriors is being held near a public garden just outside the official contest venue.

“It is an open event. We are expecting around a dozen singers. There is no electronic music, but we are singing our hearts out, about the misdeeds of this government for the last four years, a convenor of Musical Warriors Sudeep Dalvi told IANS.

‘Konkani Kantaram Utsav’, organised jointly by the Department of Information and Publicity and the Tiatr Academy of Goa, has attracted controversy from the time it was announced a couple of weeks back. In the event, Konkani singers are invited to “sing solo, duet, trio, quartet, choral” songs in praise of the incumbent government and its welfare schemes.

According to a government spokesperson, the ‘Konkani Kantaram Utsav’ was aimed at finding new singing talent as well as to ensure that the schemes initiated by the current government are made popular at the grassroots.

The Congress has already described the state government-organised event as an oblique attempt by the BJP to woo the minority community, which is the primary audience of Kantaram and Konkani theatre songs.

“This is an attempt to misguide the minority community in Goa, which is the primary audience of the kantars, into believing that this government, which is in reality leading the state to doom, is performing well,” Congress spokesperson Kawthankar claimed.

Roman Catholics account for more than a quarter of the state’s 1.5 million population.

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