Panaji, July 25 (IANS) Newly-elected Goa Deputy Speaker Isidore Fernandes on Thursday said that the re-election of Prime Minister Narendra Modi transformed his fellow Christians who urged him to give up “Christaoponn” (Christianness) and join the BJP.
Fernandes, who was one of the 10 Congress MLAs who quit the party and joined the BJP on July 10, told the Goa Legislative Assembly that with 15 Christian MLAs in its ranks now, the Goa BJP was truly a secular party and could no longer be called communal.
“The moment (Lok Sabha) election results were announced and Prime Minister Modi became Prime Minister for the the second term with the biggest majority… They said, ‘Isidore join the BJP’. Forget your ‘Christaoponn’. These are the words of my Catholic people,” Fernandes said soon after he was elected as Deputy Speaker of the Legislative Assembly on Thursday.
“Today, there are 15 Catholic MLAs in the BJP. That shows this party is secular. That is the signal and there is no discrimination. Let this signal go to all of Goa, that BJP is a secular party,” he said, adding that the BJP’s communal tag was no longer relevant.
The induction of 13 Congress MLAs into the BJP since 2007 has made the BJP the single largest party in the Assembly, as it now has a majority of 27 MLAs on it own.
The mass defections have however triggered dissent within the BJP, with a section of the party’s cadre openly criticising the state leadership for “weakening” the BJP for immediate gain.