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Our fight is against defections, not BJP: MGP chief

Maharashtrawadi Gomantak Party (MGP) president Pandurang ‘Deepak’ Dhavalikar, who is all set to contest the by-election from Shiroda constituency, says that there will be no threat to the stability of the Parrikar-led government because of MGP contesting the by-polls. In an interview with SOIRU VELIP, the MGP chief says it is a fight against defections and not against BJP

Q: Despite being an alliance partner of the Manohar Parrikar-led state government, what made the MGP go ahead with the decision to contest the forthcoming by-elections to the Shiroda and Mandrem constituencies?

A: MGP has been running a campaign against defection of legislators since 2007, as our party was a victim of such defections. Until 2005, over 30 MLAs elected on the party ticket have jumped to other parties. Now, when the coalition government led by Parrikar was running smoothly, what was the need for the two MLAs to resign from Congress party and join BJP? Resignations by the Shiroda and Mandrem MLAs have inconvenienced the people of those constituencies. This act of these two former legislators is an insult to the voters. Thus MGP has decided to contest both the seats. Our fight is against defections and not against any party including BJP. We strongly feel that an MLA should not resign before he completes his five-year tenure. And, the voters should also not encourage such politicians by re-electing them in bypolls.


Q: Subhash Shirodkar and Dayanand Sopte have been claiming that they have resigned on their own for the development of their constituencies. Do you mean that BJP has forced them to leave Congress and join them?

A: Both of them had sent resignation letters from the BJP office in New Delhi to the office of the Speaker of Goa Assembly. What does it mean? Now, they say they joined BJP for development. Is it not for personal development rather than that of the constituencies? They should not think that the people of Goa are sleeping. As far as Shirodkar is concerned, he has been in politics for the last 37 years and failed to carry out development in Shiroda.


Q: Goa Forward Party president Vijai Sardesai and some other leaders have claimed that if the MGP goes ahead with its decision and contests bypolls in both the constituencies, it will lead to a threat to the stability of the Parrikar-led government. How do you react to this?

A: There will be absolutely no threat to the stability of the current government because of MGP contesting the bypolls. We have promised Parrikar that MGP will remain in the government for five years. Those who are talking of MGP do not know politics. In fact, they are insecure about their future and existence in politics and talking about instability is nothing but a bargaining style.


Q: Do you have issues with the BJP leadership; are you happy with the functioning of the government?

A: I have no issues with BJP leaders. We are keeping our word given to Parrikar after the last Assembly elections. In fact, BJP had promised deputy chief ministership to Sudin Dhavalikar. But they failed to fulfil the promise. As far as the government is concerned, we can see it is not functioning as expected by the people of Goa. We are aware that the Chief Minister is unwell but it should not affect functioning of the government. A number of issues are pending including the mining tangle.


Q: You have already begun your campaign in Shiroda constituency. How confident are you about winning the bypoll? Will you claim for a ministerial berth if you get elected?

A: No, I will not claim for a ministerial berth, if elected. I have already completed the first round of my campaign in Shiroda. People have been facing several problems in the constituency and they list out their grievances to me when I meet them. I wonder what Shirodkar did in Shiroda despite being an MLA for many years. With immense response from the voters during my door-to-door visit and corner meetings, I am very much confident that MGP will win in Shiroda with a thumping majority.


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