The Election Commission of India (ECI) announcement to hold the Lok Sabha and the 3 Goa Legislative Assembly elections on April 23 is incongruous to the Holy week/ Good Friday observances and Easter Sunday celebrations of the sizeable Christian minorities in Goa.
The dry days imposed 48 hours prior to the election date and the sound restrictions will surely dampen the Easter dances held at various public venues around Goa.
The last days for canvassing will also effect, as Christians largely observe Maundy Thursday (the institution of Priesthood by Jesus) and observe fast and fervent prayer with Way of the Cross on Good Friday.
Besides the two Congress MLAs, one from the North Goa and the other from the South Goa Parliamentary Constituency, had resigned as Members of the Goa Legislative Assembly, and the same were immediately accepted by the Speaker of the House, on October 16, 2018, almost five months ago.
Hence in strict statutory compliance with the Constitutional provisions of holding bye elections the same should have been scheduled before April 16, 2019. But regretfully the ECI has announced the three bye elections on April 23, which includes the Mapusa Constituency.
Although the Constitution of India provides for a period within six months to hold a bye-election, one wonders as to why the unnecessary delay by the ECI to announce the said bye-elections, which is their fundamental task to perform.
As reported lately, of the disappearance of many names of minorities from the voters list of the State of Telangana of the recently held elections, one is led to believe that the ECI is also another Constitutional Institution which is being interfered with by the ruling party.
The political parties such as TMC and AAP have also objected to the holding of the Lok Sabha elections in West Bengal and Delhi during Ramzan which they contend that it will affect the Muslim minority turn out for voting, as they also observe fasting for a month. So they will be unable to endure long hours standing in the queues for voting. However the ECI has set aside their objections.
The ECI delay in scheduling the Lok Sabha elections in Goa and the 3 bye- elections is most probably to encourage the ruling BJP in Goa to engineer more defections so as to re-establish their largest party tag in Goa and continue ruling through political manipulations aided by the Constitutional body.
The Opposition Congress party in Goa should step up their protests and duly inform the ECI that the Lok Sabha election date and the bye-elections date is incompatible to Christians in Goa and that the elections date should be pre-poned by a week to ensure free and fair elections for the entire population of the Nation given its religious diversity and to comply with the Constitution of India.