SOIRU VELIP | NT
The issues that have been plaguing the state like the resumption of mining operations, the controversial CRZ notification and the longstanding demand for special status to Goa, could now emerge as poll planks of political parties for the Lok Sabha elections.
In the 2014 Lok Sabha elections, the voting percentage in the mining belt was substantial, proving that the BJP polled a large number of votes from the mining areas, from where people have been clamouring for the resumption of mining operations.
The voting for both the Lok Sabha constituencies will be held on April 23, and political parties have already started electioneering.
Although BJP leaders continue to hold out the hope of mining resumption, it is evident that mining dependants are not in a mood to listen to their empty assurances.
The mining dependants have warned the MPs of the ruling party that they will campaign against BJP candidates if a solution to the mining tangle is not brought about.
One contentious issue that could decide the fate of candidates is the latest CRZ notification. Fishermen community, activists and various NGOs have been up in arms against the CRZ notification 2018 of the central government, claiming that the Centre’s decision will bring about concretisation of Goa’s coast and destroy economic activities of the people living along the coastal belt.
Like in the past, the longstanding demand for special status to Goa will raise its head this time as well. In fact, some activists raised the long-cherished dream of Goans with Congress president Rahul Gandhi when he recently visited the state.
Civic issues, including the provision of water at least for 12 hours a day, employment opportunities and other common man’s concerns will come to the forth at the hustings.
The ineffective implementation of the Forest Rights Act vis-à-vis scheduled tribes and the failure to notify scheduled areas in the state may also be raised by the communities during the campaigning.
Although the election fever is yet to pick up in the state, both the sitting BJP MPs – Shripad Naik (North Goa) and Narendra Sawaikar (South Goa) – have launched campaign in their respective parliamentary constituencies.
On the other hand, the Congress is yet to finalise its candidates for the Lok Sabha elections.
Goa pradesh Congress committee chief Girish Chodankar has almost been finalised as a candidate for the North Goa parliamentary seat. The party is still holding consultations for finalising the candidate for the South Goa seat.
The Aam Aadmi Party has already nominated its state convenor Elvis Gomes and general secretary Pradip Padgaonkar as candidates for South Goa and North Goa parliamentary seats respectively.
The Shiv Sena and the Goa Suraksha Manch have also announced that they will field candidates for the Lok Sabha polls in the state.