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Coconut trees, loud music, jobs: Why GFP will back BJP

By Prasanna D Zore
March 12, 2017 22:49 IST
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'We will fight for removing the de-classification of coconut trees.'
'We are going to have our own Sound Act so that Goan people are not hounded by the police when they get married.'
'80 per cent jobs for locals in the private sector, 100 per cent in government.'

Goa: Photograph: Kind courtesy Aditi Bose

The next government in Goa will have a tough task on its hand.

And nobody believes that forming a government with just 13 elected legislators will be a cake walk as Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar, who is slated to be the state's next chief minister, will soon find out.

With the Goa electorate throwing up a hung assembly, giving no clear verdict to either of the two national parties, the Bharatiya Janata Party (13 MLAs) and Congress (17 MLAs), regional parties like the Goa Forward Party, formed just a year ago, which fought the BJP and Congress on the sons of the soil issue, and the Maharashtrawadi Gomantak Party, with three legislators each, are all set to dictate terms to the next Goa government.

In fact, the GFP has already set in motion a process to chalk out a common minimum programme that will include scrapping or amendment of a couple of controversial laws enacted by Manohar Parrikar's previous government and when he moved to the Centre as defence minister, by Laxmikant Parsekar, who stepped into his shoes.

Vijai Sardesai, the leader of GFP's legislature party -- incidentally, party president Prabhakar Timble resigned protesting the decision to support the BJP, saying the GFP had contested the election against the BJP, according to a tweet by journalist Rajdeep Sardesai -- has already sounded the bugle with his list of demands, that he says, will be part of a common minimum programme to be ready in a month's time.

GFP's Vijai Sardesai spoke to's Prasanna D Zore about the issues his party will fight for by acting like a 'watchdog' over the next Goa government.

Interestingly, Sardesai said the GFP have broad-based assurances from Parrikar and Nitin Gadkari about the issues closer to the GFP's heart.

The GFP contested against the BJP, but is now extending its support to the BJP to form a government. Why?

We fought against the BJP, but we also fought against the Congress.

Congress was the B team of the BJP in the constituencies that we have won -- Vijai Sardesai (Fatorda), Vinod Paliencar (Siolim) and Jayesh Salgaonkar (Saligao).

The Congress would have been happy if the BJP had won instead of us.

In the circumstances we believe that our agenda of 'Goa, Goenkar, Goenpan' can only be taken forward by a stable state government ably supported by a strong government and backing from the Centre.

Therefore, we have decided to support the BJP government.

By supporting them we have also reminded the people of Goa that we will be the watchdogs for the implementation of the Goa Forward Party's regionalistic agenda by the next government.

What on the GFP's agenda?

Prioritisation of the interests of the sons of the soil.

We have issues with certain state laws that need to be amended for the benefit of the locals.

What are the most important issues for which the GFP will fight for by supporting the next BJP government?

We will fight for removing the de-classification of coconut trees.

The coconut tree was classified as not a tree and was considered equivalent to grass by the erstwhile BJP government.

We will see that the same is immediately reversed.

Will Manohar Parrikar accept this demand?

It will be part of the common minimum programme and we have got assurances from Parrikar and Nitin Gadkari about this issue.

The other important issues that will be spelt out in a common minimum programme within a month of formation of the next BJP government.

What other issues do you have on your agenda?

There is an act called the Madhya Pradesh Sound Act (The Madhya Pradesh Control of Music and Noises Act, Samwat 2008 (Goa Amendment) Bill, 2005) by which loud music is stopped after 10 pm.

We are going to have our own Sound Act or make necessary amendments in the state legislature so that Goan people are not hounded by the police when they get married or make entertainment more freer.

There are many more priorities of the GFP, and one of which is 80 per cent job reservation for locals in the private sector.

We will pitch for 100 per cent reservation for sons of the soil in the government sector; the only exception will be when there is specialisation involved.

We have not discussed in detail, but we have broad-based assurances from Manohar Parrikar and Nitin Gadkari (the Union minister for roads and surface transport) over many of the issues close to our hearts.

Everything will come out in the common minimum programme in a month after the formation of Goa government.

Will the GFP only act as a 'watchdog' over the government and not become part of the Goa government?

Let us see how it goes, but that is the sole prerogative of the chief minister of the state.

Would you want to be part of the government? Would that be also spelt out in your CMP?

Now that we have decided to support the BJP government with three of our MLAs I think there is still time for us to decide on that and for the chief minister also to decide on that.

Let us wait and see how it goes.

We have already submitted our support letter to the Goa governor.

IMAGE: Goa: Photograph: Kind courtesy Aditi Bose

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