ASIA NEWS, 8. 3. 2012

Elections: Hindu nationalists win in Christian Goa
by Nirmala Carvalho

The Hindu ultra-nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has won elections in Goa, one of the most Christian states in India. Manohar Parrikar Prabhu will be the new chief minister. The BJP won 24 seats, compared to only 9 won by Sonia Gandhi's Congress (Inc). To ensure victory, Parrikar presented six Catholic candidates and supported two independent Catholics. All six won. According to Fr. Theodore Mascarenhas sfx, originally from Goa and responsible for Asia, Africa and Oceania to the Pontifical Council for Culture, the "Catholics of Goa were saturated with the rampant corruption of the old government. They wanted to give it a chance. Now, it is for the BJP to prove that there will be no discrimination or violence based on religion. "

"The BJP - said the priest - was well organized and focused on the figure of Parrikar. He apologized for the mistakes of the past against the Christians, and as an act of good will nominated 7 members of the Catholic community. The Congress instead has continued to offer the Raj family (influential dynasty of Goa), giving no impression of wanting to find a way out of this clientele mechanism. People were caught between corruption and violence based on religion. They no longer wanted to be represented by corrupt politicians, and felt that even the BJP would be better than a few families controlling the State. They wanted to trust Parrikar, and the nomination of six Catholics has certainly made the decision easier. "

However, Fr. Mascarenhas is cautions, "what Parrikar and the BJP have to remember is that their alliance got only 39% of the votes against 32% of Congress. Each of them against a good chunk of voters. They must be careful not to harass the Catholic community again. " In this new scenario, "the Church must be very vigilant in the interests of all citizens. It could not support the Congress because of rampant corruption. Parrikar has apologized, so we can not define them as ultranationalist without giving them a second chance ".

Venkaiah Naidu, known member of the BJP, commented on the victory by saying that "voters have left behind the religion and have chosen for their good government." But Fr. Mascarenhas specifies: "They most luminous principles of the Word of God led people to vote against corruption, even braving the danger of violence based on religion. For this reason, the BJP should never take for granted those who voted, and prove they have no hidden agenda. Let them remember that there are other principles of faith that come into play at the next election. "

Goa is the fourth smallest Indian state for the total population (1.4 million people) and land mass. Christianity arrived in 1500 with the Portuguese. After Hindus (66%), Christians today are the second largest religious group (27%), followed by Muslims (6.8%). The Christian community is mostly Catholic and has 360 thousand faithful.

A German translation of this article was published by the magazine KATHOLISCHES - MAGAZIN FÜR KIRCHE UND KULTUR on March 9, 2012.