Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar, who won the Panaji assembly bypoll on Monday, said a church-backed fact finding report into serial desecrations in Goa was part of a conspiracy against him ahead of the August 23 by-elections. He made the remarks while addressing a press conference here after his win against his main rival Girish Chodankar of the Congress by a margin of 4,803 votes.
Parrikar said the Bharatiya Janata Party’s (BJP) legislative tally was now at 14 and with the support of nine MLAs the coalition government with the backing of 23 MLAs now, has a “comfortable majority” in a 40-member state legislative assembly, he said.
“All methods were tried, legal, media, social media and bad publicity. Even to the extent that two days before the elections, some organisation released a false fact-finding report. I am calling it false, because you will realise in the coming days, because government goes by the police investigation…” Parrikar said, without naming the Council for Social Justice and Peace, a Church-backed social organisation which had released the report to the media.
“People of Goa are harmonious. During Ganesh Chaturthi, all Catholics and Muslims visit us and we also visit them during Christmas. I condemn the fact that it was for the first time, that our opponents tried to create differences.
“But the people of Goa taught them a lesson… Such forces will try to divide people. We will have to be alert,” he added.
The report, which was co-authored by the Mumbai-based Centre for Study of Society and Secularism, had demanded a court-monitored probe into the series of desecrations of Catholic and Hindu icons in Goa and accused the state police as well as the administration of trying to cover-up the investigation.
The report was slammed by the BJP and Parrikar.