PANAJI: Union Minister of State for AYUSH (independent charge) Shripad Naik on Sunday said that BJP national president Amit Shah’s direction to party leaders and MLAs to target 30 per cent of the minority vote share during the forthcoming Lok Sabha polls is just part of the plan to make the party stronger in Goa.
“If we want to expand the party then we must take everybody together. People’s perception is wrong that minorities are not with us. We have eight MLAs who belong to a minority community,” Naik said while interacting with media persons on the sidelines of a function held at Porvorim.
“He (Amit Shah) made a comment at the meeting, sharing his experience in other parts of the country. It (the comment) was not for garnering votes but just to make the party stronger…. it was a suggestion,” he explained.
After addressing the party’s workers at the Atal Booth Karyakarta Sammelan at Bambolim, the BJP national president had chaired a closed-door meeting with party leaders and the MLAs at the International Centre Goa, Dona Paula.
Sources in the BJP said that Shah has told them not to leave out even a single household from the minority communities.
The national BJP president has asked the state party leaders to make people aware of the ‘achievements’ of the BJP-led government at the Centre and in the state.
“At the meeting, Shah has expressed that minorities have stayed with the BJP and voted in favour of the party in the past, and would continue to do so,” the sources added.
Reacting sharply to the Shah diktat for the BJP MLAs to reach out to the people belonging to minority communities, Goa pradesh Congress committee president Girish Chodankar said that minorities in the state will not fall prey to the BJP’s dirty politics.
“Minorities cannot be fooled and will not forget BJP’s silence despite protests when the VHP called them ‘rahu-ketu’ in Goa on October 7, 2004. And further exposed by attacks on the lifestyle of minorities by suppressing their religious, dressing and eating habits,” Chodankar tweeted.