"I will convey the sentiments expressed in certain quarters and by the Catholic community to EC," Chief Electoral Officer Keshav Chandra told reporters after the schedule for the Lok Sabha elections was announced today.
"There is a demand for rescheduling the polling date for Goa. We will inform EC and it is for them to decide," he said. The basis for the objection to April 17 as the date for polling for the two Lok Sabha seats in the state is that it coincides with Maundy on Thursday, which is a holy day before Good Friday.
Catholics constitute 27 per cent of the population in Goa. Hours after EC announced Goa Lok Sabha polls on April 17, a regional political outfit demanded a change of dates. Goa Vikas Party chief Miccky Pacheco told PTI that he has already written to EC over their demand that the date for polling be changed.
"EC has fixed Lok Sabha elections on Maundy on Thursday in Goa... We protest at this and request EC to change the date," Pacheco said. The party has two legislators in Goa Assembly. Maundy on Thursday is a holy day for Catholics the world over and it will hurt religious sentiments in Goa if the polling dates are not changed, he said.
Goa has a large number of Catholics, while Hindus and those belonging to other religions and faiths also observe Maundy in the state, he said. While announcing the nine-phase poll schedule beginning on April 9 in the country, EC set April 17 as the date for voting for both Lok Sabha seats in the state.