AAP has supported “special category status” for Goa and promised to pursue the issue with the Centre if it wins the upcoming Assembly polls, days after Chief Minister Laxmikant Parsekar ruled out such a possibility. “Goa is a very important state. It should get special status. Once AAP comes to power in the state, our Chief Minister will raise this issue with the Centre,” AAP leader Kumar Vishwas told reporters upon his arrival at airport in Panaji on Friday. As part of AAP’s campaigning for 2017 polls, Vishwas will address various public meetings for the party candidates.
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“It is for the people of Goa to decide what is good for them. When they have decided that they want special status, it is the paramount duty of the government to put forth their demand before the Centre,” Vishwas said. The ruling BJP in the state had in its 2012 election manifesto promised special status to Goa. However, Parsekarrecently ruled out the possibility of Goa getting a special category status as the “state tops in all fronts and is not backward.”
Vishwas also criticised Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar for “failing” to take up the special status demand with Union government. “Various representatives from Goa are in Parliament. Why can’t they insist for special status? Defence Minister is from Goa. He has also maintained silence on the issue,” the AAP leader said.
The demand for special status has been raised intermittently by various quarters who argue that it is linked to Goa’s unique culture and identity. Referring to occupation of Goa by the Portuguese before it was liberated in 1961, Vishwas said, “The upcoming elections is the second fight for liberation of Goa. Goa had fought the fight for liberation from outside rule (Portuguese rule). Now this is the second fight against our own people who are eyeing on natural resources of the state.”