Goa singing contest draws flak over content

Panaji, Feb 26 (IANS) A Konkani singing contest organised by the state government has become a subject of controversy due to its songs which sing praises of the ruling BJP-led coalition government’s achievements.

Speaking to IANS on Thursday, Congress spokesperson Sunil Kawthankar said the Konkani Kantaram Ustav jointly organised by the department of information and publicity and the state government funded Tiatr Academy of Goa, was an attempt to mislead the minority community of Roman Catholics in Goa, who are the primary consumers of ‘kantars’ — songs in the Konkani language.

“This unpopular government is unfairly misusing its machinery to promote itself, especially when elections are just around the corner,” Kawthankar said.

An advertisement published in the local dailies on Wednesday invited “solo, duet, duo, trio, quartet, choral” singers to participate in the contest scheduled to be held on March 8.

“A special kantaram singing competition of songs based on achievements of the present government and emphasising the schemes implemented for the welfare of the state in order to bring awareness amongst the people,” the advertisement said.

The winner of the contest will receive a cash prize of Rs.25,000.

“This is an attempt to misguide the minority community in Goa, which is the primary audience of the kantars, into believeing that this government, which is in reality leading the state to doom, is performing well,” Kawthankar said.

Roman Catholics account for more than a quarter of the state’s 1.5 million population.

The government has, however, defended the kantarm contest, saying it was aimed at taking government schemes to the grassroots and to promote young talent.

“What are we are trying to do is ensure that government scheme’s percolate to the grass roots. That is the objective of the contest. It will also promote young singers,” Information Officer with the State Information and Publicity Department, John Aguair said.

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