“MGP was ready to support a congressional government in 2017 without the GFP”

Jan 02, 2022 | 6:51 AM HIST

“MGP was ready to support a congressional government in 2017 without the GFP”

With the Goa Assembly elections quickly approaching, there has been a massive surge in political activity. The pre-ballot alliance between Goa’s oldest political party, the Maharashtrawadi Gomantak Party (MGP) and the newest member, the Trinamool Congress (TMC), has left many puzzled. Speaking to SUJAY GUPTA, MGP leader Ramkrishna (Sudin) Dhavalikar retraces his party’s journey from the Liberation to the current situation, the reasons for linking up with TMC and its future prospects. Here are the excerpts:

Sujay Gupta: What prompted you to enter into an alliance with TMC? Because this alliance is between the oldest party and the newer party, when you had so many other options, including parties that aligned before, why did you choose TMC?

Sudin Dhavalikar: I saw the operation of different parties, and every Goan saw the operation of MGP from 1963 to 1979. Everyone was happy at the time. but when Congress was elected in 1980; the initial state when Pratapsingh Rane was Chief Minister in 1987 he worked very hard but once the PDF government is formed Goa is in good spirits. And there is a final number of chief ministers that we saw until 2002. Looking now at the scenario of the politician and the administrator, I personally think that the CMs who were elected after 1989 were not able to. give direction to Goa nor have made progress, chief ministers except Manohar Parrikar. I was one of the people who was always with these politicians because things were there in Goa which we have seen in the last few years this ruling party gets the good majority and because of that to rule Goa , you have to come back with other party.

Herald: If other governments have not kept their promises, then you, as a member of that government, should take responsibility for these things as well.

SD: It all depends on the head of government, who also controls the finances. This has been happening in Goa for so many years.

Herald: How did the alliance with TMC come about?

SD: 60% of people have yet to decide who to vote. When this huge number of voters cannot decide on their own today who to vote for, I could not do it with AAP. Then our people at TMC, via I-Pac, approached me, I found something different in Goa. Between the two, Congress walks up and says that we will have an alliance or that you do not come in an alliance, you will be outside the alliance and we will support you. I accepted. But they couldn’t go any further. At every meeting nothing was set up, despite sitting down for dinners and things.

Herald: The MGP has never really been successful in keeping alliances. He has parted ways with alliance partners in the past.

SD: Whenever the alliance partner is no longer trustworthy; for example, the BJP has withdrawn its trust 5 times. In 2012, we had a pre-election alliance with the BJP, but they removed me from my ministerial post a year earlier than the term. So every time the alliance partner has abandoned us. We support being the government in the position. This is how the BJP works. In 2002, the same thing happened.

Herald: In 2017 you returned to support the government of Manohar Parrikar, it is very surprising that the MGP decided to partner with Manohar Parrikar when Congress already had a majority.

SD: Right! Absolutely correct. It is only because Congress could not decide on their House leader. When a party, after turning 17, has not been able to decide on the head of the house for 24 hours, which other party will support them?

Herald: Are you saying that the MGP was committed to supporting the Goa Congress?

SD: Of course, when Pratapsingh Rane came to see me, I said to him, decide which leader I will support. Take 2 independents and a Churchill Alemao and we will support you. Goa Forward was not necessary. Then Digambar Kamat came to me. I told him the same thing – you decide your boss, then come see me. But Congress couldn’t decide on the leader until 8 p.m. the next day and later they decided on their leader by holding a ballot (smiles).

Herald: So when did BJP approach you?

SD: Before that, Gadkari called me at 4 p.m. on results day. When Congress did not choose its leader or did not respond, I told Gadkariji at 7 pm to come to Goa from Delhi. Even after Gadkariji arrived and we had a chat, I called a close associate of Digambar Kamats (Lawande) at 4 a.m. and made a last minute effort to have him tell Digambar to choose their leader. .

Herald: So you’re basically saying that the Congressional government without Goa Forward could have been formed as well?

SD: It was possible. With the three of us, two independents and an NCP (Churchill) we would have been 23 years old.

Herald: What is your party’s vision for moving the alliance with TMC forward?

SD: People say this government is the most corrupt government ever in Goa. Now we need to delete this image from Goa. Corruption at all levels must be removed. Now for this we have to make strict decisions, even some corrupt officers have to be fired.

Herald: Hadn’t there been corruption in the Congressional government of which you were a part?

SD: No, during Pratapsingh Rane’s first term when I was also a businessman in 1978, there was no corruption.

Herald: What about the 2007 government?

SD: After the PDF government, there was corruption in all governments.

Herald: The MGP has always been seen as a pro-Hindu party. People think that a lot of policies and programs are Hinduism-centric or could be Hinduism-centric, this is a perception. How are you going, in the current situation, to balance that perception to show that you are all a party of the Pan-Goa community?

SD: Usually MGP is considered a party in 1963 just for the Goans to keep the problems and take over the problems from the good Goans. Our government has looked at strong issues, such as the introduction of the Mundkar law. People don’t always remember that when people met Bhausaheb Bandodkar and told him that if he amalgamated Maharashtra he would not be the chief minister of Goa, he understood it. This is why Goa ultimately retained its identity and statehood.

Herald: What will be some of the main questions MGP will raise?

SD: GMR is selling its stake to other companies, so where does Goa come from? Again, they have already started with charcoal and charcoal will destroy tourism in Goa, especially those areas, South Goa, there is a fault. And there will be no tourism in Goa. They want to haul 152 million tonnes through Goa by 2030 which will hurt Goa in any way. This will radically change the living conditions of the people of the state of Goa.

Herald: What do you think of the statement made by the Chief Minister 2-3 days ago at a reception at Mangeshi Temple on the 60th anniversary of the liberation of Goa, where he says many temples destroyed in Portuguese times need to be rebuilt?

SD: This is a very important question. The Portuguese ruled for almost 450 years. After the Portuguese left and even in Portuguese times, whenever the temples were destroyed or demolished, they were also rebuilt during the Portuguese regime. I think this CM doesn’t know it. In Cortalim, the deity Mangesh was there. Mangesh was moved to my side Mangeshi in Priol constituency. The deity Mahalsa was in Verna. He was moved to Mardol. Our Mahalakshmi was in Colva which is moved and rebuilt in 400 years to my place where I am staying you may have visited there. Nagesh is originally from Curca. He was transferred to Nageshri in Bandora. So I don’t know what kind of statement the chief minister made.

Herald: Hindu culture, temple culture; in the end, are such comments necessary?

SD: It doesn’t matter at this point. This is why we have to come and strengthen the country in order to strengthen the State. All the communities together, we have to come forward, this is the reason why I went to TMC. This BJP wants to divide the people.

Herald: We understand that there is a good reason for you to join the alliance, but there is obviously a lot of doubt among a lot of people who continue to bring up the issue saying that in the event that this coalition is not in a position to form the government, there are all possibilities of the MGP abandoning this coalition and going to the ruling party, the BJP. How do you react to this kind of statement?

SD: Here I can say one thing, we have never abandoned the coalition parties, in fact in 1999 the Congress abandoned us. If we want to give good government and good governance, then we need a change. 60% of the people do not decide anything to date, we will see that we will form the government in 2022. There will be no change from one party to another. TMC and MGP with other parties and some allies, we will form the government.

Herald: In case that happens, will you stay with TMC?

SD: We are with TMC, we will move forward with TMC

Herald: Win or lose?

SD: Win or lose. Listen, since 1994 I started with MGP but until today I am in MGP, until today I have been with MGP for 28 years. Everyone should have this principle, once elected to a party, you will not leave the party.

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