Soon after being sworn in as a cabinet minister in the Manohar Parrikar-led state government, Goa Forward Party (GFP) leader and Fatorda MLA Vijai Sardesai Tuesday said that Parrikar has agreed to reverse the legislation, which changed the status of the coconut palm by derecognising it as a coconut tree.
“Parrikar has promised me that the first priority of the newly formed government will be that in the first session after the budget session – monsoon session – the changes in amendment and correction in declassification of coconut would be done and it is a good beginning; it is a start for the cause of Goemkarponn (Goan ethos),” said Sardesai.
It may be recalled that in January last year, former chief minister Laxmikant Parsekar-led government had passed a controversial amendment to the Goa, Daman and Diu Protection of Trees Act, formally derecognising the coconut palm as a tree.
When questioned whether GFP would support Congress party on Thursday during the floor test in the state assembly, Sardesai said, “There is no question of supporting the Congress party; it has historically repeatedly backstabbed, so I decided to pay them back. Today Congress has to function as an opposition, and they have got the 17 seats because of me, as I was the torchbearer of the opposition. That is why they have reaped the benefit.”
Sardesai said that even if Congress offers the post of chief minister, he will not change his stand. “They may offer me anything; Congress knows that I am a man of word. I made Parrikar resign as the defence minister of the country and I did not go and negotiate after taking decision,” he said.
Blaming the senior leaders of the Congress party for failure to form a pre-poll alliance, Sardesai said, “The Congress has itself to be blamed and it is overloaded with ex-chief ministers, who are all having future prospects. I always called it a grandfather syndrome.”
He said that the GFP had to either support the BJP or the B team of the BJP. “Congress was the B team of BJP in the constituency where we defeated their candidates. The Congress wanted the BJP to win and keeping that in mind our legislature party decided to go with the A team,” he said.
Sardesai said that GFP decided that for the sake of development and support from the Centre, they had to be in the BJP camp. “GFP has an agenda and we require cooperation from the Centre. Whatever is there in my manifesto; Parrikar has started his speech post swearing-in ceremony first with the word Goemkarponn and GFP will work as a watchdog of Goemkarponn for the next five years,” he said.
Meanwhile, stating that Goa Forward Party will act as a watchdog of the new government, the newly inducted minister Jayesh Salgaonkar said that being a coalition partner, they would see to it that the government’s political decisions will be to always protect Goa and its identity.
Jayesh Salgaonkar, who defeated BJP’s Dilip Parulekar from Saligao constituency, took oath along with other nine ministers.“We will be the watchdogs to see that every Goan remains happy under the new coalition government and ensure to the people of Goa that any political rules and discipline relating to the protection of Goan identity will be obeyed and also see that development reaches the poorest of the poor,” he said.