Indian Catholic News

AAP says some priests in Goa are 'Congress agents'

A majority of the state's population is Christian.

Elvis Gomes. (Photo: Twitter/@ielvisgomes)

The Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) in Goa on Thursday accused some Catholic priests of acting like agents of the Congress, appealing to the people to vote for the party. The Congress has rejected the allegation, saying the AAP was frustrated.

A majority of the state's population is Christian.

Addressing a press conference here, AAP's Goa convenor Elvis Gomes said: "I cannot brand all religious leaders in one group. Such people are there in all religions. But some (priests) do feel they should contribute to the Congress. There are three or four who really act like agents. They leave religion aside and play politics.

"But I do not want to categorise the whole bunch into one lot. Even in the last week, when (prayer) services were on, they appealed directly to vote for the Congress.

"I only appeal to their (Church) hierarchy to take cognisance of this. Such things should not happen during elections," Gomes said.

In the run up to the elections, two videos showing Catholic priest Father Conceicao D'Silva badmouthing Chief Minister late Manohar Parrikar and BJP President Amit Shah went viral, triggering a controversy.

The influential Catholic Church in Goa, which is the religious and spiritual guide to more than a quarter of the state's population, was forced to express regret for the video.

However, days before the April 23 polls, Goa Archbishop Father Filipe Neri Ferrao created another furore by urging the electorate to vote out corrupt and communal candidates who promote division in the society.

On polling day, Gomes also expressed his dissatisfaction about the functioning of the electronic voting machines (EVMs) and even lodged a complaint with the Election Commission (EC).

During the press conference, Gomes also formally announced the candidature of Valmiki Naik as the party's candidate for the May 19 Panaji Assembly by-election. He is pitted against Congress candidate and former Education Minister Atanasio Monserrate.

The BJP may either field Parrikar's son Utpal or former Panaji MLA Sidharth Kuncalienkar.

The Panaji election was necessitated by the death of Parrikar who represented the constituency.

"It is nothing but politics of convenience by AAP. AAP is one faction of BJP. They work as per diktats of BJP. AAP feels that they could not carry secular votes with them, so this is how they vent their frustration. If the Church guidelines go against, then they criticise the Church," Chodankar told IANS, when asked to react to the AAP's accusation.


Top Stories