PANAJI: The MLAs of the opposition Congress party led by leader of the opposition Pratapsingh Rane, as well as independent legislator from Fatorda Vijay Sardesai boycotted the morning session of the state legislative assembly on Friday as a mark of protest against the controversial ‘Hindu nation’ statement by Minister for Co-operation Pandurang ‘Deepak’ Dhavalikar.
Congress MLA from Dabolim Mauvin Godinho, however, was present in the House and even spoke on a motion to congratulate Prasad Babu Naik and Prince Romeo Pereira from Salcete, for being selected to represent India at the powerlifting bench press and deadlift contest at Las Vegas in US, on October 17 and 18.
It may be recalled that Dhavalikar, while making a speech in the state legislative assembly on Thursday in support of a motion congratulating Prime Minister Narendra Modi for forming central government with complete majority had said, “If we all support it (the central government) and stand by Narendra Modi systematically, then I feel a Hindu Rashtra will be established.”
Rane walked out along with his party legislators soon after the beginning of the Question Hour when Speaker Rajendra Arlekar disallowed any discussion on the statement of Dhavalikar. The Speaker also said that he will make a statement on the issue after the end of the Question Hour.
Before leaving the floor of the assembly, Rane said that every legislator in the House has taken the oath of upholding the sovereignty and integrity of the country, and Dhavalikar should explain his irresponsible statement to the House.
“India is a sovereign, socialist, secular, democratic, republic country and we cannot speak something that goes against the Preamble of our Constitution,” he maintained.
Later, speaking to reporters, Dhavalikar said that his statement should not be misinterpreted. “Hindu word has wide connotations,” he added, pointing out that he had no intention of hurting the feelings of people of other religions.”
Meanwhile, Deputy Chief Minister Francis D’Souza, speaking to pressmen after the assembly session on Friday said that India is already a Hindu nation and all Indians in Hindustan are Hindus. “India is a Hindu country; it is Hindustan and all Indians in Hindustan are Hindus including myself – I am a Christian Hindu,” he added. D’Souza also insisted that Dhavalikar had no ‘clarity in his mind’ since India is already a Hindu nation.