Herald: AAP is the only party with an untainted candidate: Valmiki

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AAP is the only party with an untainted candidate: Valmiki

17 May 2019 06:02am IST
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17 May 2019 06:02am IST

HERALD: What makes Aam Admi Party (AAP) different from the two national parties and the just-entered regional outfit GSM?

Valmiki Naik: Today every candidate from the other three parties has some kind of taint, whether corruption, criminalism, and/or communalism. BJP’s Sidharth Kuncalienker is embroiled in various scams. Congress’s Atanasio Monserrate comes with baggage of criminal cases. GSM’s Subhash Velingkar has been the RSS chief and is known for his communal background. AAP is the only party with an untainted candidate. Even the other parties privately agree that AAP has the youngest, most educated, and cleanest candidate in the fray who has been unflinchingly loyal to his party and it’s ideology from day one.

H: AAP had contested the previous general assembly election in the year 2017, and you managed to get 1,944 votes. With such a response, is the party confident for a better performance this time? 

VN: That was my first time, and I was introducing myself and the party to the voters. This time I know all the voters and the voters know me. They have also heard of the phenomenal work done by the AAP government in Delhi. They want the same for Panjim. Our tally of 2000 votes last time was seen by most political observers as a great debut considering I was a new entrant with no political background or money power. Also, the selfish and anti-people politics of the last two years by both BJP and Congress has upset the voters and they are ready to give a chance to a clean alternative like AAP. Due to these reasons, the response to our door to door campaign has been overwhelmingly positive this time.

H: Election watchdog ADR pointed out discrepancy in your affidavit over the Income Tax returns. What is your take on this?

VN: The nomination documents requires all candidates to state their *“Total Income”* as reported in the IT returns. In any IT return, there are various figures reported, including “Gross Total Income” which is the very first figure given as Item No 1 in the “Computation of Income and Tax Thereon” section. There is also the figure of “Total Income” given at Item No 3, which is computed after applying certain deductions.

In my 2017 affidavit, I had given the figure for “Gross Total Income” of Rs 3,91,341 from the Financial Year 2015-16 IT return (Assessment Year 2016-17), whereas in my 2019 affidavit, I corrected the error and stated the *“Total Income”* figure of Rs. 2,89,810 as required by the affidavit. There is no discrepancy in the IT return itself, nor has there been any subsequent amendment in the IT return. The attached IT Return shows both the numbers as reported in the 2017 and 2019 affidavits.

H: How will AAP implement the promises made in the manifesto if you win the by-poll as the party has no numbers in the Assembly? 

VN: The biggest issues in Panjim are the small issues, the basic infrastructure issues. I have not made any grand promises for the remainder of this term, and I have committed to solving the basic grievances of the people that they facing due to inefficiency, corruption or mismanagement. For this term, I will manage the existing personnel, programs, and budgets much better to provide results to the people. In addition, my proposal of ward sabhas will bring in a new era of cooperation. I expect the government to respond favourably to any requirements as the demands will be coming directly from the people through these public meetings, and not just an opposition MLA. 

H: Your affidavit mentioned not joining BJP and no support to BJP-led coalition. Will you stick to this policy even in the upcoming elections be it BJP or Congress?  

VN: Yes, I will neither join BJP nor Congress. I have been previously offered tickets by both. Many like me would not be in politics today if it was not for AAP. 

H:  Removal of casinos has become a poll plank, how will you convince the people that your promise is not forgotten thereafter?

VN:  There is a considerable influence of casinos on both the economic and employment scenario in Panjim. We will take immediate and concrete steps to create an alternative economic model for Panjim that is based on both a ‘clean tourism’ model centred on the natural, cultural and built heritage of Panjim, as well as attracting knowledge-based industries such as IT, banking etc while expanding the retail and hospitality sectors. We are serious about removing casinos while protecting the Goans whose income is dependent on this activity.
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