Splitting of the "secular" vote

By Dr Oscar Rebelo
10 February 2017 21:03 IST

I have always been flabbergasted at this common refrain that has pounded my ear drums on the campaign trail.

You guys in AAP are splitting the "secular" vote.

Permit me ask a simple question.

When we say “secular” do we mean Catholic and Muslim voters only? Because a split in that vote bank is what we commonly refer to.

So by this cast-in- stone assumption, do we slyly infer that the Hindu voter is somehow not “secular” (unless it's Prabhakar Timble, Prashant Naik or Dilip Prabhudesai) and therefore a captive BJP (read communal) vote bank??

I would urge all political pundits to factor in the massive Hindu voter that has moved to AAP, albeit, under the radar before they proffer political pontifications and poll predictions.

The Catholics and the Muslims have no choice in this country other than to be “secular.” It is the Hindu who has that choice.

And this country, and indeed our blighted state, remains secular because the Hindu chooses to be secular.

Thus remains the overwhelming majority secular and that’s why India is a secular state.

So come March 11 , this tiresome secular/communal debate should hopefully have been put to rest and be very very wary of AAP.

These characters have a nasty way of springing a beautiful surprise!

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Dr Oscar Rebelo

Dr Oscar Rebelo is one of the leading social activist of Goa and a practicing doctor. He led the historic peoples’ movement in 2006-07 to get the anti-Goa Regional Plan scrapped and save Goa from total destruction of Goa’s ecology and natural beauty. He is a Goa-based leader of Aam Aadmi Party. He is also a columnist.

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In our communal, Hindu-majority country, ‘secular’ has some how become synonymous with the Catholic/Muslim minority. Not true. In most cases, the minority communities that look to the Congress as an alternative to the BJP, do so being insecure of their religion ; not because they have promising leaders or good policies. And that’s what makes AAP so dynamic and different. Splitting? if anything’s it’s targeted, drawn out, and enhanced the secular voter base across religious lines. For the very first time people haven’t voted based on religion, or fear, not even an anti-incumbency vote ; but a vote based based on pure belief and faith. Congratulations on a brilliant campaign, as an average ’secular’ Goan voter, I am hopeful for change!

- Evita Rodrigues , Goa | 23 rd February 2017 19:41


Only honest, kind and good heart Goans will vote AAP.

- Jack De Goan, Goa | 23 rd February 2017 19:13


One point agreed that it is Hindus who have choice to be secular and most are ,but are Christians and Muslims secular.

All actions of BJP and their leaders are seen through a saffron lens , is that secular

Indulging in beef politics and special status to minority communities, is that secular.

Agreed that there are some fringe elements in BJP , but are far overshadowed by radical Islam and Christianity

Today Islam uses terror, Christianity uses its power and money to play political juggernaut, is that secular.

For all those who talk about others being communal should stand before a mirror and check whether the mirror is saffron.

- Ravindra Panandikar , Margao | 21 st February 2017 11:28


Congress & BJP has nothing to show and hence divide Indians in the name of Religion and Caste and ask for Votes. AAP is the only party which does not use religion and caste to get votes.

- Jack De Goan, Goa | 18 th February 2017 19:06


In fact it is Hindus in this country who suffer a lot due to pampering of minorities . Our country is full of pseudo secular & hypocrites. Feel it is high time that article 370 is lifted & we stop cast based discrimination . We should implement common civil code without further delay .Reservations which are cast based should be stopped immediately. If at all reservation has to be given it should be based on economical & geographical parameters.

- Alka damle , Vasco | 11 th February 2017 02:54


AAP is and will remain first choice for any modern secular Indian.AAP redefined the truthfulness of secularism. Till date which was only limited to caste politics.AAP prioritized the problems faced by every citizen of Goa.Created awareness through direct interactions with voters and thereafter separating manifesto.

It never did lolitics based on creed and caste.Always tried to ALL INCLUSIVE.

So all pseudo-secularist leaders got upset as AAP snatched every single vote from them using the path of transperancy.

Wait till 11 march....results will amuse every established party of India.

- Ravindra Malve, Mumbai | 10 th February 2017 22:16


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