I still feel that Goa needs a new regional party: Vijai Sardesai

TNN | Jan 26, 2013, 03.41 AM IST

The timing of the launch of ‘Goemkar’ has raised eyebrows in political circles, particularly because it comes ahead of the Lok Sabha elections

The (timing of) fast-tracking of the Mopa airportis not my fault. What triggered the launch of ‘Goemkar’ was the government’s distinct action of strangulating Dabolim-by de-notifying the land acquisition for parking, by not providing alternative land for parking, and simultaneously fast-tracking Mopa. The state government by this action has provided me the trigger for the launch of ‘Goemkar’. It is because the rest of the political class is silent that you may be suspicious about my moves. But the raison d’etre for ‘Goemkar’ is that Goans have lost their voice and ‘Goemkar’, which is purely a social forum, will provide them with the voice to fight for social causes.

If Goemkar is purely a social forum, what was the need to form a new organization as you already head a couple of social forums like ‘We for Fatorda’ and the more recent, ‘Sangatan’?

‘Sangatan’ is a concept of governance by taking people into confidence in the running of the affairs of the government. It’s a Goan equivalent of Delhi CM’s concept of ‘Bhagidari’, and not an organization.

While five independent MLAs came together at the launch of ‘Sangatan’, the same picture was missing at the launch of ‘Goemkar’…

The presence of the MLAs at the meeting was neither essential nor expected as ‘Goemkar’ does not believe in dethroning the government. But the very fact that people were there in large numbers, especially from South Goa, goes to show wider acceptability of ‘Goemkar’. In fact, there were many potential political aspirants at the meeting from several constituencies.

So does this mean that ‘Goemkar’ looks at providing a platform for such political aspirants and perhaps a political alternative to the electorate?

Let me tell you that ‘Goemkar’ is a social forum with no political ambitions, but will fight for the cause of Goa and Goans. While as a legislator I will fight in the assembly, ‘Goemkar’ will fight on the streets.

So are you saying that ‘Goemkar’ is and will always remain apolitical and will never be converted into a regional outfit?

Yes, I unequivocally say so.

But you have been advocating the need for a strong regional party. Doesn’t ‘Goemkar’ fit the bill as a means to achieve that end?

I still feel that Goa nee ds a (new) regional party. I don’t know if I can start a regional party as I don’t have the resources. There’s a need to create a process where decisions are taken in Goa and not in Delhi. There’s a high disconnect between the high command and the local decision makers in Goa. Though I clearly state that ‘Goemkar’ is an apolitical forum, I am not an astrologer to predict which regional party will be born in Goa, and I do not want to attract the provisions of the anti-defection law. But the fact remains that the electorate of Goa are disillusioned with the frequent U-turns of the government despite giving this government an unprecedented mandate. They are not in a mood to condone the Congress either which with its local inherent contradictions has destroyed the sympathy that the Goans had had for this oldest political party.

The anti-Mopa issue has also been the plank of the existing regional parties. Will ‘Goemkar’ consider offering its support to any of the existing regional parties to give birth to a new outfit?

Individuals will have to clearly stand by the issues that have led to the birth of ‘Goemkar’. It’s because of the fact that all the regional parties have gone underground that ‘Goemkar’ has evoked a good response. The regional parties only emerge on the eve of elections. ‘Goemkar’ has no vested interests as it has no political motives.

What do you have to say to your critics that as there were a large number of Churchill (Alemao)-supporters at your meeting at Lohia Maidan, ‘Goemkar’ is just a front for furthering Churchill’s political interests?

I have already been elected by defeating the BJP in Fatorda constituency. I don’t require anybody’s clutches to get elected. If I want to, I can create a new political space and newer alternatives will always emerge. But ‘Goemkar’ is not a proxy for any political party. For that matter, I also criticize the Congress party for its acts of omission and commission. The present government is inheriting some of the Congress scams, the Dabolim parking land scam for instance, and the inaction of the present government lends itself as a target for attack. I sincerely believe that the closure of the Dabolim airport will spell doom for Goa’s tourism industry and any party which perpetuates this should be held responsible for displacing the tourism economy of the state.


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