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|February 10, 1998|
BJP seeks Congress apology for delaying Goa's liberation
Sandesh Prabhudesai in Panaji
Taking a dig at Indian history and Sonia Gandhi's litany of apologies, the Bharatiya Janata Party in Goa has demanded a unique apology from the Congress, targetting the country's first prime minister, Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru. The BJP obviously expects Nehru's granddaughter-in-law Sonia Gandhi to apologise on his behalf.
The crime: not making all of India fully independent for 14 long years.
The reference is to the liberation of Goa. The tiny state on the western coast was liberated from the clutches of the Portuguese through military invasion only in December 1961, 14 years after India won its Independence.
Prakash Jawdekar, Bharatiya Janata Party member of the Maharashtra Legislative Council, made this demand while campaigning in Goa last week.
"If Vallabhbhai Patel's advice had been heeded by the then prime minister Jawaharlal Nehru, then Goa would have been part of the Indian Union by 1948 itself," he says.
Therefore, the Congress must apologise for the 14 extra years of Portuguese imperialism that the Goans had to bear, he feels.
He has also demanded apologies from the Congress for 45 years of corruption, the Emergency, and using the minorities merely as a votebank.
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