Panaji, 24 March-2014(IANS): A sitting BJP MP and a candidate for the North Goa seat has attracted controversy for posing with a copy of the Bible in a church while starting his election campaign.
A lawyer activist on Sunday filed a complaint to the chief electoral officer in Goa against former union minister for state Shripad Naik for using the religious symbol for election campaign. AFP “The model code of conduct currently in force strictly bans the use of mosques, churches, temples or other religious places as a forum for election propaganda,” Rodrigues said in his complaint to the election authority, seeking action against Naik.
The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) candidate started his campaign by visiting the capital’s grandest Immaculate Conception Church on Saturday. Naik was also seen posing with a Catholic priest Cleto Pereira during his visit to the church. Naik claimed that the church was located in his constituency and he went to meet voters of the area. “How can it be wrong to meet your voters?” asked Naik.
Over the last few years, the BJP in Goa has been actively pursuing the Catholic community, which accounts for a third of the state’s population. The BJP has claimed that the support given by churches was partially responsible for the party’s sweep of the 2012 assembly polls. However, the relation between the BJP and the churches in Goa have soured with the advent of BJP’s prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi on the national scene.