Backing a congratulatory motion in the Goa Assembly to felicitate Portugal’s newly elected Prime Minister António Costa, who is a native of the state, Goa deputy speaker Vishnu Wagh said, “Goa has settled its score with Portugal, as a Goan is their PM now.”
“There was a time when the Portuguese ruled us; it changed our geographical links, social structure and course of history. But now it is time for us to feel proud as the clock has come full circle. The country that once ruled us is now led by the son of a Goan who had migrated to Portugal,” Wagh said while extending his support to the motion proposed by Legislative member Aleixo Lourenco.
While the legislators agreed that the state needed to explore more opportunities to improve its ties with Portugal in economic, social and technological arena, they also said that both the countries must have an agreement to set a deadline for ending Portugal’s issuance of citizenship to people with Goan origins.
“This is a unique problem and there is confusion over the offer of a dual citizenship. With Prime Minister Antonio Costa at the helm of affairs, we must now resolve the matter and put an end to it,” Congress leader Mauvin Godinho said.
Since 1975, Portugal has been extending citizenship to Goan residents if they or their parents have resided in Goa prior to 1961, when it was ruled by Portugal. The matter has been a subject of intense debate in the state.
However, Maharashtrawadi Gomantak Party leader Sudin Dhavalikar said that before felicitating its PM, Portugal must first apologise for the atrocities committed during more than 450 years of its rule over Goa. However, MLA Vijay Salgaonkar said that though some legislators may have apprehensions over felicitating Costa, it must be noted that not all Portuguese supported the dictatorial regime of António de Oliveira Salazar, who was the Prime Minister of Portugal when Goa was liberated by the Indian Army in 1961. Goa CM Laxmikant Parsekar said the government will pursue the matter of felicitating him. “We must do it; it has to be done.”