Panaji, Dec 29 (IANS) Former RSS Goa unit chief Subhash Velingkar on Thursday accused Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar and Goa Archbishop Filipe Neri Ferrao of scripting a political conspiracy ahead of the 2017 assembly polls for minority appeasement.
Addressing a press conference in Panaji, Velingkar attacked the state Bharatiya Janata Party and Union minister Nitin Gadkari, the ruling party’s poll in-charge in Goa, for allegedly holding secret confabulations with the Archbishop’s representative Zeferino D’Souza in a five-star hotel during Gadkari’s visit to Goa last week.
“Right from 2015, the Bharatiya Bhasha Suraksha Manch has alleged that the BJP in Goa conducted its politics on the advice of the Goa Archbishop… the appeasement of the minority community is on the advice of the Archbishop,” Velingkar said.
The RSS leader claimed that in the 2012 assembly elections, five non-party cadre Catholics were given tickets by the BJP on the advice of the Archbishop.
Ferrao is the spiritual and religious leader of Goa’s Catholics, who account for around 26 per cent of the state’s 1.5 million population.
Velingkar made the accusation after the Archbishop’s annual reception here on Wednesday, in which top leaders from across the political spectrum, including Parrikar, Goa Governor Dr. Mridula Sinha and Chief Minister Laxmikant Parsekar, were present.
Velingkar was sacked as the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh Sanghachalak for Goa for criticism of Parrikar over a period of time.
Velingkar, co-convenor of the Manch, has since floated the Goa Suraksha Manch party, which plans to contest the assembly elections.
As for Gadkari’s meeting with D’Souza, Velingkar said: “It shows there is a hidden understanding between the Archbishop and the BJP. This is not right. Interference in a political system by any religious body is against secular ideals of this country and a democratic system of governance.”.
Ferrao said on Wednesday: “… our institutions work under the law of the Church, but also under the law of the land. For their optimal functioning, there is need to maintain regular contact with government authorities. Regrettably, sometimes such contacts are not understood in proper context and are criticised.”