Herald: Citizens Forum urges change in poll dates

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Citizens Forum urges change in poll dates

14 Mar 2019 05:47am IST
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14 Mar 2019 05:47am IST

Points to Lok Sabha and bypoll elections clashing with Maundy Thursday, Good Friday and Easter Sunday

Team Herald

PANJIM: The Goa Citizen's Action Forum (GCAF) has requested the Election Commission of India (ECI) to change the dates of the Lok Sabha (LS) poll voting in Goa as well as the by-polls in three constituencies owing to the proximity of the election days and the Holy Week. 

Given the fact that Easter falls on April 21 and the elections in Goa are on 23rd April, the GCAF also pointed out to the ECI that Catholics all over Goa have expressed their disappointment over the decision. Herald, on Tuesday had reported on how a large section of the Christian community is unhappy with the poll dates. 

“As Christians make up nearly 30 per cent of the voters in Goa, the ECI must seriously consider this request or else we may even look at other legal options,” Flynn Remedios of the GCAF said. 

The forum is also examining other legal options in this regard also as Easter is preceded by Holy Week.  “We are looking at options before us and deliberating on what to do. We have consulted several prominent Catholics in Goa and are considering the situation. We will decide in 1-2 days after speaking with the leaders of all political parties in Goa," he said.

For Christians across the world, Maundy Thursday and Good Friday are days of fasting and abstinence, spent in prayer and contemplation. Remedios added that Christians do not venture out or conduct business on these days.  

He also stated that Christians would not involve themselves in campaigning during Holy Week, which is a week before the elections, virtually cutting out a huge section of the population from campaign work. “Candidates would be deprived of the Catholic workforce who is normally very active in campaigning. This is not only applicable in Goa, but in other states as well where elections are being held immediately after Easter. It would also hamper the solemnity and religious fervor of Holy Week as candidates would be moving around across the State indulging in loud campaigning,” he said. 

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