Exactly 21 months after three of its legislators including party president Vijai Sardesai were sacked as ministers from the BJP-led state government, the Goa Forward Party (GFP) on Tuesday withdrew its support to the National Democratic Alliance (NDA).
This decision was taken at a meeting of the party’s executive committee in Panaji and subsequently, Sardesai officially wrote to chairperson of NDA Amit Shah.
“I write to you today formally declaring the GFP’s withdrawal from NDA. There is no doubt that our relationship with the NDA ended in July 2019, with no room for reconsideration. So, consistent with our democratic commitments and the will of the people of Goa, we announce the termination of our participation in the NDA,” reads the letter written by Sardesai to Shah.
“On the blessed occasion of Gudi Padwa, we want, along with the people of Goa, to start anew; to shake off the past marked by divisiveness and despair, and look forward to an era of ambition, prosperity and unity. Acknowledging the desires of our workers and the sentiments of people of Goa, I believe it is in the best interest of the state of Goa that GFP charts a new course for our future,” it reads further.
In his letter, Sardesai has pointed out the “failures” of Chief Minister Pramod Sawant-led government including the decade-old Mhadei issue, coal issue, COVID crisis and unemployment.
It is pertinent to note that on July 13, 2019, Sardesai, Vinod Paliencar and Jayesh Salongakar from GFP, along with Independent MLA Rohan Khaunte, were dropped from the cabinet by the Chief Minister days after ten rebel Congress MLAs switched over to BJP.
Addressing a press conference in Panaji, Sardesai said that in 2017, BJP was a party with a difference and now in 2021 it is a different party whose agenda is destruction.
“We have to save Goa from this destruction which has become our priority. Hence today we took the decision to break away from NDA forever and take steps to form an alliance with the people,” he said. He said that his party quit NDA ahead of the elections to the Margao municipal council, as he was challenged by NGOs and activists who are fighting against “destructive projects” including the three linear projects linked to Mollem.
“We are together going to unite and form Team Goa; it could be an alliance of people, parties and NGOs who have a common interest to get rid of BJP from Goa in 2022 itself. We are not going to align with those who have come here to throw BJP out in 2027,” Sardesai said.
When asked whether this ‘Team Goa’ would also include the Congress party and what he would do if the grand old party is not interested in forming an alliance for the 2022 state assembly elections, Sardesai said that he will approach senior Congress leaders including GPCC president Girish Chodankar.
“We have declared our alliance with CLP leader Digambar Kamat for Margao municipality polls, and on April 26 we will come to know how people receive this alliance. Suppose the response is good and Congress still insists that alliance with like-minded secular forces is not necessary, then I will approach the concerned people including Chodankar. I will personally meet him and I have no ego on this, I am ready to talk to anybody who is keen to throw BJP out,” Sardesai said.