‘Goans have faith in Modi’s guarantee’: Pramod Sawant

Published : Apr 30, 2024 16:56 IST - 3 MINS READ

Chief Minister Pramod Sawant at a press conference in Panaji  on April 18.

Chief Minister Pramod Sawant at a press conference in Panaji  on April 18. | Photo Credit: ATISH  NAIK/ANI

The Chief Minister says schemes mentioned in BJP’s manifesto such as electricity and tap water for all households are being implemented in the State.

How do you see the 2024 Lok Sabha election from the Goa angle?

I can say that the Goan model of governance and politics is being recognised at the national level. The issues that the BJP has mentioned in the manifesto are already being implemented in the State. For example, the promise of 100 per cent open-defecation-free villages, electricity to every house, and tap water to every household are all schemes being implemented in Goa. The same is the case with Ayushman Bharat. We have the State government’s health scheme on the same lines. Also, the uniform civil code, which Goa has already implemented. The overall sense is that Goan voters are identifying with Prime Minister Modi’s model of governance.

What is the public reaction to issues like inflation?

I won’t deny that there is inflation. But at the same time, people’s incomes have increased in the last 10 years. Also, the social welfare schemes have helped people overcome inflation. Like the Ayushman Bharat scheme, through which Rs. 5 lakh medical assistance is guaranteed, and the PM Kisan Samman Yojana, wherein farmers are directly getting money in their accounts. Besides, the implementation of the Seventh Pay Commission and the regular hike in wages have also helped people.

Also Read | In Goa, a glaring disconnect between people’s concerns and political narrative

According to CMIE data, Goa has the second highest unemployment rate.

The data on unemployed youth in Goa is misleading. In our State, anyone who wants a government job must register at an employment exchange. So, everyone who is 18 registers at an exchange. But even after they get a job in the private sector, they do not remove their name from the list because they keep trying for a government job.

Another serious issue facing the government is over the sharing of the Mhadei river’s waters with Karnataka. Now the matter is in the Supreme Court, and you are facing a challenge here.

Mhadei is not a political issue for us. Mhadei is the lifeline of Goa. Our government has always been active on this issue. Now a tribunal has been set up in Delhi. How did that come into existence? We did a follow-up with the Central government. We also have taken the issue to the Supreme Court. There will not be any compromise on this issue.

Another serious issue is the doubling of tracks of the Konkan Railway. Social activists have raised objections, stating that the track is being laid for coal transport and that it is happening for the benefit of an industrialist.

When work on Konkan Railway started, back in the 1980s, people with the same mindset opposed it. They used to say that the railway would end the environment here. But that has not happened. Track doubling is the need of tourism and development.

Your candidate from South Goa, Pallavi Dhempe, comes from a mining family. There is an allegation that the BJP has taken care of election funds for Goa and that in return you will allow them to start mining in future.

These are ridiculous allegations. First, the Dhempe family is no longer in the mining business. They have not gone for bidding even for the new leases. Secondly, the Goa BJP does not need money from the Dhempes to win elections.

Also Read | Centre’s decision to strip passports of Goans stirs up controversy

The Church has issued a statement to vote for a candidate with secular credentials. How do you see this?

I welcome it. The BJP is the secular party. In Goa, we have more Catholic MLAs than the Congress. All other parties do politics based on caste and religion. They are communal people. But the BJP’s politics is based on development. So, it  is a good thing for us. 

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