The Shiv Sena, a party identified with an unsheathed sword, would scare Christians in Goa, Health Minister Vishwajit Rane said, here on Monday, while scoffing at the newly touted alliance between Goa opposition parties and the right-wing outfit. Rane, a Maratha by caste, said he would gladly offer Opposition MLAs antique swords from his armoury if they wanted to sign up with the Sena for an anti-Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) alliance in the state. "Those who are talking about aligning with the Sena are already half dead because when Christians see the Sena they feel scared. We don't want such a party in Goa," Rane said. Christians account for nearly one-fourth of the state's 1.5 million population. "If they want the sword, I can give them that were used in the revolt against the Portuguese. I will give each of the nine opposition MLAs a sword each. But I will not offer a sword to my father out of respect," Rane said.
The Health Minister's father Pratapsingh Rane, a former Chief Minister, is a Congress MLA. While the BJP-led coalition government is supported by 30 MLAs, there are only 10 opposition MLAs in the 40-member Goa Assembly. A day after the Sena-led coalition government, comprising the Congress and the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) assumed office in Maharashtra, Sena spokesperson Sanjay Raut, in presence of three Goa Forward MLAs, had announced formation of an anti-BJP front in Goa, which he said would create a "political earthquake" in the coastal state and dislodge the BJP from power.
Raut also said some MLAs, other than those from the Goa Forward, were in contact with the Sena and wanted to collaborate with the newly envisioned front. Rane said the political earthquake that Raut promised might occur in Maharashtra after six months. "There will be no earthquake in Goa. The earthquake may happen in Maharashtra after six months. It's not easy to run a coalition with three parties," the Goa Health Minister said.
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