God has decided who will win Goa Assembly polls: BJP leader

Amid a raging debate on the alleged denigration of indigenous deity Shantadurga in the politically charged atmosphere in Goa, a BJP leader has said that God has already decided who will be the victor and the vanquished in the upcoming 2022 state Assembly polls.

Goa BJP general secretary and spokesperson Damu Naik’s comments come at a time when politicians across party lines in the state, have been debating controversial utterances made by working president of the Goa Forward party Kiran Kandolkar, who recently compared West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee to both Durga and her indigenous avataar Shantadurga.

“I urge them to not involve God in (politics). God will decide on whom it will save or sink. You will see it after the Assembly elections,” Naik said on Monday.

The BJP official also condemned Kandolkar’s statement.

“We condemn the statement made by the working president of the Goa Forward party. Every Goan woman worships Shantadurga. She is not calm, as people are being led to believe. Go to any temple, you will see Shantadurga with a sword and a shield,” Naik also said.

Earlier, Kandolkar, in an obvious, but unnamed reference to West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee had said that the ‘real Durga’ from Kolkata needed to be brought to Goa to destroy a government run by bhasmasura (demon).

“Anything can happen in the coming days. Navaratris are going on…I feel that we will have to get Durga to Goa. The Durga in Goa is referred to as Shantadurga. She is calm. We will have to get the real Durga from Kolkata to Goa to destroy this bhasmasur-like government.,” Kandolkar said.

Kandolkar’s party Goa Forward, is in talks with Banerjee’s Trinamool Congress for an alliance for the 2022 Assembly polls, with the sources even suggesting that the Goa-based party may even merge into the Trinamool Congress ahead of the polls.

Chief Minister Pramod Sawant has also weighed into the debate criticising Kandolkar.

“Devi Shantadurga is our prime deity. We worship Devi Shantadurga. Goans will not like Shantadurga being compared to someone, especially a human being. No one will accept it. Goans will not tolerate comparing Devi Shantadurga to a human being,” the Chief Minister said.

Another BJP MLA Nilkanth Halarnkar said while it was unfair to compare Banerjee with Shantadurga, he also said that the comparison of Prime Minister Narendra Modi to Lord Rama was also incorrect, when asked about former Uttarakhand’s BJP Chief Minister Tirath Singh Rawat’s comparison of Modi with Lord Rama.

“In Hindu mythology Ram is the avatar of God. Ram is not a man. So we cannot compare him with anyone,” Halarnkar said.

According to BJP’s Ports Minister Michael Lobo however, every woman in Goa resembles Durga.

“Every lady in Goa is a Durga. Every woman is a Durga in Goa. I believe in that way. When they want to stand for their rights, they can become Durga.

“Otherwise they are all calm, all peaceful, very loving and they take care of this beautiful state of Goa very well. We do not want a special Durga. I do not believe in that,” Lobo also added.