The Goa Forward Party on Tuesday walked out of the National Democratic Alliance, accusing the Bharatiya Janata Party of introducing “anti-Goan policies” in the state.
“There is no doubt that our relationship with the NDA ended in July 2019, with no room for reconsideration,” Goa Forward Party chief Vijai Sardesai said in a letter addressed to NDA chief and Union Home Minister Amit Shah. “So, consistent with our democratic commitments and the will of the people of Goa, we announce the termination of our participation in the NDA.”
The Goa Forward Party’s decision will, however, not affect the stability of the state government. It has three MLAs in the 40-member Assembly.
The party was part of BJP leader and Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar’s government between March 2017 and July 2019. After Parrikar’s death in 2019, three Goa Forward Party ministers were dropped from the Pramod Sawant-led BJP government. The party then withdrew support from the BJP government.
Sardesai, who had served as a minister in Parrikar’s Cabinet, announced the decision after an executive committee of the party passed a resolution on Tuesday, reported The Indian Express.
The announcement also came after the Goa Forward Party and the Congress formed an alliance to contest the Margao Municipal Council polls, ahead of the civic body elections in five municipalities in the state.
In the letter, Sardesai criticised Chief Minister Pramod Sawant of the BJP, alleging that his elevation to the top post has ushered in a period of rampant corruption and dishonesty. “The unprecedented incompetence and lack of basic skills of governance [of Pramod Sawant], along with immaturity and apathy, have completely wreaked havoc with the everyday lives of hardworking Goans, and continues to threaten Goa’s unique way of life, heritage, environment and livelihood,” the letter said.
The Goa Forward Party chief said the youth of the state are anxious and anguished because of a high rate of unemployment. He said that the situation was aggravated by the coronavirus pandemic and alleged that the BJP government did not show any intent to support the residents of the state.
“Moreover, during the pandemic, the nation saw how little the BJP government in Goa cared and how incompetent it is in tackling the rising [Covid-19] cases, consistently flouting all norms and protocols under the illusion of ‘generating income’,” the letter said. “In just two years, the NDA has miserably failed the people of Goa, under the leadership of the BJP.”
Sardesai said that in the last two years, the Bhagwan Mahavir Sanctuary and Mollem National Park was sold to industrialists in order to make Goa a “coal hub”. He claimed that the chief minister also did not take any action to prevent the diversion of water from river Mhadei to Karnataka.