Updated: April 13, 2021 10:44:32 pm
Goa Forward Party (GFP) president Vijai Sardesai Tuesday announced his party’s formal withdrawal from the BJP-led National Democratic Alliance (NDA), blaming the state government for following “anti-Goan” policies that have “wreaked havoc on the state’s unique way of life, heritage, environment and livelihood”.
In a letter to Union Home Minister Amit Shah, who is also the chairperson of the NDA, Sardesai said, “There is no doubt that our relationship with the NDA ended in July 2019, with no room for reconsideration. So, consistent with our democratic commitments and the will of the people of Goa we announce the termination of our participation in the NDA.”
Sardesai, who earlier served as a minister in former Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar’s cabinet, announced the party’s decision after its executive committee passed a resolution on Tuesday. The announcement also comes at a time when the GFP and the Congress have joined hands to contest Margao Municipal Council polls, ahead of the municipal council polls in five municipalities in the state.
The GFP’s exit from the NDA before the legislative assembly polls in 2022 also assumes significance as the clamor for a united opposition in Goa gets louder.
“We had plans to form an alternate alliance first. Now we have an alliance with the Congress with (senior Congress leader) Digambar Kamant’s panel in Margao which we call the Margao Civil Alliance. This alliance has been endorsed by civil society groups who are now taking objection to me being a part of the NDA. They think it’s a stumbling block in their wholehearted participation in the campaign against the BJP. Respecting their views, we decided we might as well get out. I have been espousing the idea of ‘Team Goa’, an alliance of parties who want to replace the BJP in 2022,” Sardesai told The Indian Express.
As one of the strongest critics of the BJP government in the assembly, Sardesai said he was practically no longer an NDA member.
“Over the past two years, Goans have been witness to the daylight destruction of our Bhagwan Mahaveer Sanctuary and the Mollem National Park which has been sold to industrialists who eagerly hope to make Goa a ‘Coal Hub’. Goa also saw the unforgivable negligence and shocking inaction of Chief Minister Sawant over the diversion of our river Mhadei,” Sardesai said.
He further said that during the pandemic, the nation saw how little the BJP government in Goa cared and how incompetent it was in tackling the rising cases consistently flouting all norms and protocols under the illusion of “generating income”.
He said that Parrikar’s death had ushered in a period of “rampant corruption and dishonesty” as Pramod Sawant was made chief minister.
Sardesai served as the deputy chief minister for a short period after Parrikar’s death in March 2019. He was, however, ousted by the Sawant-led government later.
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