By default, minorities are in Congress: Minority Leader BJP Morcha

By Shashi Bhushan

New Delhi, November 28 (IANS): Goa MP and BJP Minority Morcha national secretary general Joshua D’Souza said by default minorities are with Congress and have never voted elsewhere in the past.

In an exclusive interview with IANS, the youngest MP in Goa’s assembly, D’Souza, said: “The number of Catholic MPs has increased over the period. It is possible that in the future a Muslim leader represents the BJP at the Goa assembly. “

He criticized opposition parties for creating an anti-minority image of the BJP. “A perception has been created against the BJP by the opposition parties for so many years. They have reminded minorities that this is how the BJP has been and this is how the BJP is”, a- he declared.

Excerpts from the interview:

Q. There is a perception that the BJP is against minorities. How do you see the party’s chances in the upcoming legislative elections in Goa with a huge Christian population?

A. A perception was created against us by the opposition parties for so many years. They put in the minds of people or minorities in this country that this is how BJP was and this is how BJP is. The BJP has never discriminated on the basis of religion. This is the party that gave the first Catholic deputy minister in Goa. Union Home Secretary Amit Shah, when interacting with Goa party MPs, said the BJP has set an example by making the first deputy chief minister of the Catholic community of the state. This is how the BJP gains the trust of the community.

Christians are not a minority in Goa, but a minority community in the country. We have worked hard for years and earned their trust.

Goa is a small state but has an amplified effect. People from across the country and around the world are watching what is happening in Goa. With only 40 constituencies, the type of average attention Goa receives at the national level is very high.

So we focus on connecting with all minority communities with awareness campaigns. We are also trying to gain the support of the minorities who have been aligned with Congress for many years.

Q. So you are saying that the BJP is trying to make inroads into the Congress vote bank?

A. By default, minorities are with Congress and have never voted elsewhere in the past. But what I experienced in the last two years as an MP is that the former chief minister Manohar Parrikar had won the trust of the people, the people trusted him. No one is saying that Parrikar was the chief minister of the BJP or the Hindu. Ask anyone in the state, including minorities, everyone would say Parrikar is our chief minister. He created the BJP in all walks of life, including minorities.

Goa BJP advances the work of the late Parrikar and strives to gain the trust of the people.

So Goans who voted for Congress by default have a better option – the BJP, which talks about inclusive development of all religions and castes.

Q. Is there an allegation that the BJP did not give tickets to minorities?

A. It is also a perception created by the opposition parties. Over the past 20 years, the number of Catholic BJP MPs has increased dramatically in Goa – from one to 15. In the future, a Muslim leader may represent the BJP in the Goa assembly.

I do not decide on the ticket, there are people in the party who decide on the distribution of the tickets taking into account all the factors.

So those who say that the party has not given tickets to minorities are wrong. The Goa model may be used in other states. I have no doubts that, like Goa, more minority leaders will get tickets to run for office in other states.

Q. What is the specific minority awareness program for next year’s assembly ballot?

A. Morcha of the BJP minority is taking several initiatives in the five states related to the ballot, such as a new membership drive, strengthening and formation of stand committees. Our colleagues from the Morcha minority carry out all the work in a planned manner.

In Goa, the minority morcha forms a new team in each voting booth. Work has been completed on 28 assembly seats and will be completed on the remaining 12 seats in the coming days.

The minority morcha will play an important role in the upcoming elections in Goa, Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Punjab and Manipur.

Q. You are the youngest member of the assembly in Goa, the young people expect a lot from you. Employment is a major concern for young people in Goa. What would you say?

A. Yes, employment is a concern for the BJP government. Prime Minister Narendra Modi emphasized “self-reliance” and, in the same way, the government of Goa launched “Swayampurna Goa”, aimed at making the state self-sufficient.

Goa is a state rich in human resources. People, including young people, realize that not everyone will get a job in government, so the government motivates them to pursue self-employment. Young people learn that you can be your own boss by starting your own business.

The Goa government provides loans and assistance to help young people start their own jobs. The young people of Goa have a lot of potential and have started to set up their own businesses.

The BJP government creates an environment for startups and other business opportunities and with the participation of people, we will succeed in achieving “self-sufficient” and “self-sufficient” Goa.

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