BJP’s independent buddy MLAs feel the heat on Mopa, Special Status decisionsWhile the BJP has taken a stand on the twin issues of Mopa and Special Status, by going ahead with the foundation stone of the Mopa airport and then stating that Special Status for Goa is a closed chapter, Independent MLAs who backed the BJP are finding themselves cornered and are speaking out against the government’s stand on these issues.
Velim MLA Benjamin Silva’s response MLA Benjamin Silva “With regards to special status, we all adopted unanimous resolution but BJP made a U-Turn on this issue. This issue is still alive and will always remain until Goa is given special status”. Silva was, however, more conciliatory on the government’s stand in Mopa. “They have already laid foundation stone, so now it’s too late to talk but, I think as Parrikar has assured us, Dabolim would be retained even after Mopa becomes reality. Also the issue of Mopa was started by Congress, they should have taken precaution before proposing another airport.”
Nuvem MLA Mickky Pacheco, who had firmly backed the BJP government, but has now left the Goa Vikas Party and plans to contest on an UGDP ticket, said. “Barely laying foundation stone for Mopa does not mean that airport has became reality. We have seen in past how foundation stone were laid and dogs were urinating on such stones as the project never became reality like the project of IT habitat at Dona Paula where UPA Chairperson Sonia Gandhi had laid foundation stone and today we can see what happened to that project. This government has only two three months left and BJP cannot do anything within this period,” he said. He then added “I won’t be able to give special status to Goa but I will amend the law and pass an ordinance to ensure that Goa’s identity and culture is protected, and for me the issue still exists”.
Pacheco’s former party mate, Benaulim MLA Caetano (Caitu) Silva, who has been supporting the BJP government since its formation, even after his “supremo” Mickky, started distancing himself from the BJP, said, “I have opposed new Airport at Mopa and will be opposing the same even in the future. Also it was during Congress regime the file for this project was passed. BJP has now tendered the project. Secondly on the issue of Special Status, it was BJP government that had promised to provide Special Status to Goa and I feel that BJP is still trying to fulfill the same. I feel that Special Status is must for Goa to preserve Goa’s identity. We are not asking money but special status which has its own importance. Special Status is not a closed chapter for me and will continue to demand for the same firmly”.
BJP MLAs were, however supportive, and yet circumspect. Check out the response of the otherwise very vocal and articulate Subhash Phal Desai, the Sanguem MLA. He said “We have been told by the party not to speak to media, as our spokesperson would give comment on such government related issues. I will not like to make any comments on these issues”.
The BJP MLA from Cuncolim Subhas, alias Rajan Naik, claimed that he is with the decision of government on both issues including Special Status and Mopa Airport. “With regards to Mopa, it has already been assured that Dabolim will exist once Mopa becomes reality so there is no question of opposition, and only thing that is needed is the four lane connectivity between Dabolim andMopa. Similarly as our Chief Minister Laxmikant Parsekar has said that special status to Goa is not possible, I fully stand by CM’s statement”.
Similarly the BJP MLA from Sanvordem constituency Ganesh Gaonkar said that “I’m fully with the decision of the government on both these issues. It is irony that people have been opposing Mopa but are not considering the fact that Dabolim is facing congestion. Also there are no genuine reasons to oppose Mopa when government itself has made it clear that Dabolim will exist along with Mopa. Similarly special status is not feasible to Goa and it is now a closed chapter and people of Goa know this fact and will support BJP in this decision”.
While party MLAs are compelled to back the government, the different voices emanating from the non BJP MLAs who backed the Parrikar government, reveal the unease and disquiet on two issues that continue to simmer and may very well sting.