Goa 'social engineering' to be replicated: BJP

Panaji, April 10 (IANS) BJP's Goa "social engineering experiment" during the March 2012 polls, in which tickets were distributed to Catholics, would be replicated elsewhere, party secretary in charge of Goa, Arti Mehra, said Wednesday.

Mehra was speaking to reporters at the state party headquarters here. She also told reporters that though the BJP was in power both in Goa and Gujarat, and both states had excelled in development, there was no need to compare chief ministers Manohar Parrikar and Narendra Modi.

In a major departure from tradition, the party gave eight tickets to Catholic candidates in the March 2012 polls, a move which paid off in a state where one-fourth of the population is Catholic.

This move, along with a high level of "anti-incumbency", allowed the party to win the elections, with an unprecedented 21 of the 40 assembly seats.

According to Mehra, the poll results had opened the floodgates for the party to try the Goa "model" of polls elsewhere in the country, including in areas with a high minority presence.

"Every meeting that we attend, we try and drive home the point that the party should open its doors to every one and not become exclusive. We tell party workers to go engage with everyone," she said.

Mehra further said that she herself had initiated the Catholic outreach programme in Goa in the run-up to the polls by reaching out to Catholic-run institutions and meeting the Goa archbishop, Filipe Neri Ferrao.

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