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No political party is contesting the elections on Goemkarponn

02 Feb 2017 03:54am IST
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02 Feb 2017 03:54am IST

In a series of interviews leaders of major political parties speak to Herald-HCN, as they get ready for a final push for victory at the hustings on February 4. In the fourth of the series, after Laxmikant Parsekar, Arvind Kejriwal and Luizinho Faleiro, SUJAY GUPTA spoke to Goa Forward Mentor Vijai Sardesai. Here are excerpts of the interview. The full interview will be aired from today onwards on HCN

In a series of interviews leaders of major political parties speak to Herald-HCN, as they get ready for a final push for victory at the hustings on February 4. In the fourth of the series, after Laxmikant Parsekar, Arvind Kejriwal and Luizinho Faleiro, SUJAY GUPTA spoke to Goa Forward Mentor Vijai Sardesai. Here are excerpts of the interview. The full interview will be aired from today onwards on HCN


HERALD: How has the journey has been so far and what does Goa Forward get out of this or has already got out of this?

VIJAI SARDESAI: We had committed to contest four seats where we were prepared. And we have gone ahead and contested them. We stand a chance of winning all four seats. We have aggressively campaigned and our issue is that we are local and Goem, Goemkar and Goemkarponn resonate with the public. I think we have traction among the public. People want our party bereft of Delhi high command I have canvassing in all the four constituencies unlike leaders of other political parties whose contesting elections and the only contesting candidate canvassing in other constituencies.

 HERALD:I am comparing two parties. I am looking at Aam Aadmi Party and yours. If you look at the spirit and the principle that they espouse there are a lot of common grounds in the sense that the fight against corruption could be one thing, the aspect of grassroots development. But the Aam Aadmi Party is contesting 39 seats while you are only in 4 seats

VS: There’s a famous quote by Mahatma Gandhi that strength does not come from numbers it comes from an indomitable will. I think we have this will. What stands out in our narrative is our reason of Goemkarponn. No political party contesting the elections today is contesting on Goemkarponn. Today the elections according to me are for or against Goemkarponn. Ours is a fight for identity, not only an ideology. Every political party including AAP has an ideology. Ideology can change. Identity cannot change. So ours is a fight for identity. We believe this is a second opinion poll for Goemkarponn. Our Goemkarponn narrative is because of the injustices the Goans are facing from Delhi high commands. We have taken an oath to liberate Goa from the Delhi high command.

HERALD:Will you contest all seats next time?

VS:Yes, 100 percent. We have come to stay. We are not a flash in the pan. 2017 is only a beginning and Goa has got a history that political parties that come with the figure four are going to rule Goa. In this beginning we will aspire to have Goemkarwadi government. In Goa we have heard Kokaniwadi government, Marathiwadi government. We are talking of a Goemkarwadi government.

HERALD:When you began this journey one mentor was Naresh Sawal and other was Rohan Khaunte. Now Sawal has gone and joined MGP and Khaunte is not with your party but supported by Congress?

VS:The idea of Goa Forward came from the successful experiment of the Fatorda Forward in the municipal elections. I believe that we could have recreated this model at the Goa level. I didn’t want this party to be a Vijai Sardesai Pvt Ltd. I didn’t want this to be individual centric but to be ideology centric. Therefore I wanted to have a common cause with other Independents who were at that time espousing the same thoughts. Now, one person went on to say that the official language of the State should be Marathi. So we had to drop him from the journey. The second person says that people have told him to go Independent but also talks about Goemkarponn, supports our candidate in Saligao. Now, although this is little strange it does not deter me from continuing my journey.

HERALD:On two issues the impression is that you have not been vocal enough one is on casinos and one is on mining. Luizinho Faleiro too said that we want an absolute ban on casinos. The BJP of course has been very ambivalent after speaking about casinos and saying that the casino boats are going to be out of the Mandovi in four years and nothing happened

VS:We are very strongly of this opinion that our tourism cannot be casino centric. At the same time all of us thought that whatever these political parties may say, the Congress brought the casinos and are now talking about banning the casinos.

HERALD:But since you are supposed to be different what’s your take?

VS:I am trying to be very rational. No person should be irresponsible enough to destroy an economy. The casinos by themselves are not important for us but are for the people who are surviving today on the casinos, the ancillary industries around the casinos. Say I am for getting rid of them from the Mandovi, not stopping the casino industry per se because what is Goa’s loss should not be some other state’s gain. We got to regulate them.

HERALD:But where will you put them. Not on water surely?

VS:Put them in some other place. Why on the high seas? See you’re polluting the seas so put them on land. But we have to take a very responsible position. I don’t want to take a very irresponsible position. I am against it. I am against casinos. My point is Goa cannot be the Macau of India. At the same time Goa cannot continue to bring in more casinos. They have to be regulated. There is no regulatory commission, there is no gaming commission. They should move out of the Mandovi for sure. Now, whether to stop the casino industry, I am for referendum.

HERALD:How should mining in Goa take place? Should profits of mining go to the people or mining companies? 

VS:I also believe that the benefits of mining should go the sons of the soil.

HERALD:Shouldn’t there be a call on punishing the mining corrupt?

VS:Definitely.

HERALD:Shouldn’t there be a Goenchi Mati concept where people or the state gets the benefits of mining directly?

VS:Yes, it should be like Norway.
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