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Viriato Fernandes' comments not unconstitutional: Goa Congress chief Patkar

Fernandes was raising the issue of dual citizenship for Goans who have opted for Portuguese passports, Amit Patkar told reporters.
Last Updated : 24 April 2024, 09:35 IST
Last Updated : 24 April 2024, 09:35 IST

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Panaji: Goa Congress chief Amit Patkar on Wednesday defended his party's South Goa Lok Sabha seat nominee Viriato Fernandes over his remarks on the Constitution, claiming he had not said anything unconstitutional.

Fernandes was raising the issue of dual citizenship for Goans who have opted for Portuguese passports, Patkar told reporters.

The state Congress president also said they have not yet received any information about BJP's complaint against Fernandes over his statement.

Fernandes on Monday said the Constitution was 'forced' on Goa after its liberation from the Portuguese rule in 1961.

His remarks sparked a row with Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Tuesday latching on to the comments to slam the Congress and the BJP lodging a complaint with the Election Commission.

Asked about the complaint, Patkar said, "We have not received any information about the complaint filed by the BJP against our candidate. We will see about it when we receive it."

"Viriato did not say anything unconstitutional. He raising the issue of dual citizenship for the Goans who have opted for Portuguese passports," the state Congress chief said.

Patkar said this is not the first time that the issue of dual citizenship has been raised.

"In the past, BJP leader and then chief minister Manohar Parrikar had also raised the same issue," he claimed.

"Was he unconstitutional then?" the Congress leader asked.

The BJP has no issues to raise during the poll campaign and hence has been depending on such controversies, Patkar claimed.

BJP's Goa unit chief Sadanand Shet Tanavade on Tuesday submitted a complaint letter to Chief Electoral Officer Ramesh Verma here, alleging that Fernades' remarks was a 'clear case of spewing venom against the sacred Constitution of India' and violation of the Model Code of Conduct.

He also sought the cancellation of Fernandes' candidature.

In the complaint, the BJP leader accused Fernandes of indulging in hate speech against the Constitution.

A defiant Fernandes on Monday said he was ready for a debate on his controversial comments as well as on issues like 'destruction of Goa's identity', unemployment, inflation, crime and corruption under the BJP rule even as he received support from his party in the coastal state.

The Navy veteran-turned-politician asserted his words should not be twisted for political mileage.

Goa, which has two Lok Sabha seats, will vote on May 7 in the third phase of polling.

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Published 24 April 2024, 09:35 IST

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