Chief Minister Pramod Sawant on Wednesday hailed Prime Minister Narendra Modi's visit to the Vatican and called his meeting with Pope Francis an unprecedented moment in Indian history.
"PM Modi went to Vatican City eight days ago and met world leader Pope Francis, a priest and an apex leader of Christianity. Modi's meeting with the Pope by travelling all the way from India is worthy of congratulations. I congratulate Modi ji on your behalf," the Chief Minister said in the Catholic-dominated Assembly constituency of St. Andre in North Goa during a government function.
"There has never been such a moment in the history of India. Through this, Modi has shown that India is moving ahead on the basis of 'Sabka Saath, Sabka Vikaas, Sabka Vishwvas and Sabka Prayas'," the Chief Minister said.
Modi met the Pope on October 30 and extended an invitation to the pontiff to visit India, which the latter has accepted.
Sawant's comments came ahead of the Assembly polls in Goa, which is scheduled to be held in early 2022, and the Catholic vote is expected to play a key role in its outcome. Catholics account for nearly 26 per cent of the state's 1.5 million population.
The Chief Minister also said that efforts are on to break the social harmony in Goa.
"Goa is celebrating its 60th year of Liberation. After freedom from Portuguese rule, all of us Goans have been living together like brothers and sisters," the Chief Minister said.
"Hindus, Muslims, Christians have never had any differences. But some people want to create differences. Some people want to engineer a separation. Their politics is about divide and rule by saying 'you are Hindu, you are Muslim, you are Catholic'. We do not want to do such politics," he added.
Earlier, the Chief Minister was shown black flags by Congress workers while he was on his way to St. Andre over the poor law and order situation in the state.