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Goa Election 2022 Exclusive: CM Pramod Sawant on how 'double engine' govt powered development

We are 100 per cent confident that we are coming back to power to serve the state, says Goa Chief Minister Pramod Sawant in an exclusive interview to Asianet Newsable.

Goa Election 2022 Exclusive: CM Pramod Sawant speaks to Asianet Newsable
Panaji, First Published Jan 19, 2022, 8:00 AM IST

Goa Chief Minister Pramod Sawant believes that if given a chance to govern the state again for the next five years, the Bharatiya Janata Party will realise its vision of a 'Swayampurna Goa' or self-reliant Goa. Taking time off from the election campaign to speak to Asianet Newsable, Sawant credits the 'double engine' BJP government of taking Goa to a level of development that it had not seen in the last five decades. During the free-wheeling interview, the Goa chief minister also spoke on whether the BJP considered either Aam Aadmi Party or the Trinamool Party as a significant threat in the assembly elections. Read on.

What have been the major successes of your government in the last five years?

While explaining (state government's) successes, I would like to say that Prime Minister Narendra Modi, while referring to Goa, had said that Goa would be a role model for other states. In infrastructure development and human development, the manner in which we have done work with the help of the double engine government will be a role model for others. In this pandemic time, the Prime Minister had asked for 'Aatmanirbar Bharat', which we have converted into 'Swayampurna Goa' which means 'self-reliant Goa'. We have been promoting the 'Swayampurna Goa' model as the development model.

How have Narendra Modi government's schemes benefitted Goa?

A 100 per cent! Since he (Narendra Modi) became Prime Minister in 2014, he has extended support in infrastructure development. This kind of development has not taken place in the last 50 years in Goa. We received over Rs 22,000 crore for infrastructure development of national highways and other projects. 

On the same lines, we have achieved the target of being open defecation-free. We have achieved targets in the 'Har Ghar Nal Se Jal' (to provide clean drinking water in homes) scheme, health infrastructure, agriculture infrastructure, and every sector. There have been 96 per cent utilisation of central government funds in Goa. It is a proud moment for me as chief minister.

What is your vision for Goa in the next five years?

In the next five years, we have begun with 'Swayampurna Goa' like the way the Prime Minister wants -- the 'Aatmanirbhar Bharat or Make In India' concept. On the same lines, we have started Goa 'self-reliant' and in the next five years, we will achieve it. Along with the infrastructure and human development, we will make Goa 'self sustain'.

There have been a lot of leaders jumping ship. Do you think the Opposition is in a state of disarray?

I just want to tell you that with the kind of model on which we are working, many leaders are joining the BJP. Those who are good and want to work for the state and the nation, we will welcome them and once again, to serve Goa, they (defectors from other parties) will be with us.

How do you perceive the threat posed by TMC in the forthcoming election?

I don't feel any threat. The Trinamool Congress has shown its presence to people, but our work has been etched in peoples' minds and definitely, people of Goa will prefer Bharatiya Janata Party.

AAP chief Arvind Kejriwal said that only AAP can rival to BJP. Does the BJP believe that too?

'Ho sakta hai' (Quite possible), might be. They have already declared candidates; they have declared early and worked for the last five years. It may be possible that Aam Aadmi may become our opposition party.

Will AAP and TMC cut into your votes? What is the view among the people about these two parties?

I don't know whose votes they are cutting. But for the development of Goa, people are with us. I want to just tell you that people will prefer Bhartiya Janata Party.

Carlos Almeida and Alina Saldanha resigned recently, stating that the party has changed after Manohar Parikkar's demise? What is your take?

People who have been joining other parties indicate that they do not want any development.

Were attempts made to convince them to stay back or address their concerns?

Our dialogue is on with those who want to do something good for the state and stay with the party. Those who wanted to do good were convinced as they would also know that we were doing good for the party. They will remain with the party.

MGP was BJP's ally and now has patched with TMC. There are reports of BJP still backchannel talks with the BJP. How do you respond to it?

We had an alliance with MGP earlier. And now, I do not want to comment on who wants to align with others. At present, to save Goa's tradition and culture, we want them not to part ways, but what can we do? 

Ex-CM Digambar Kamat says that the BJP government failed to handle Covid and alleged that Rs 15 lakh to Rs 30 lakh are being collected for government postings. How do you respond to this?

I want to tell you that we had one of the best Covid management (mechanism) and, at present, Goa has all the infrastructure and is the only state where ex-gratia of 2 lakh besides Rs 50,000 has been given to those who died. We provided 100 per cent free of cost treatment in private hospitals. It is the duty of the Opposition to keep making allegations.

Some months ago, Meghalaya Governor Satya Pal Malik had claimed that he saw first-hand corruption in everything the Goa government was handling. How much damage has that statement caused? How would it impact your poll prospects?

Everyone knows that after moving out from here, why people talk, why such statements are made and who is making such statements? Goa people have also started to think about why such comments are being made. The rest is left to him.

You recently proposed that temples destroyed during Portuguese rule centuries ago need to be rebuilt. Your opponents would claim that you are tampering with Goa's culture and heritage. How would you respond to this?

While discussing this thing, I want to state that some temples were destroyed earlier, and it is there in the archaeological site, and there are statements on the same. Earlier, there were temples, and now those sites are empty. As per archaeological reports, there were temples there. Referring to these, I made statements that temples should be built once again. As per Hindus' demand, definitely, there should be temples (rebuilt).

There is a ban on beef in Karnataka, and many BJP rules state. Will Goa also contemplate the same in future if you return to power?

Definitely not! (People of) every religion, every community and every sect are living here. And people in this region prefer the food (beef); it is a tourism state. But one thing I want to stress is that cow slaughter will not take place here.

What are the party's internal projections saying about the voter's mood?

We are 100 per cent confident that we are coming back to power to serve the state. We are confident that in 2022, we will win 22-plus seats, and BJP will get an opportunity to help the people.

Why should people vote for BJP?

Firstly, the most extensive infrastructure in the state (refers to development projects), the second is the 'Swyampurna Goa' -- the slogan which we coined -- people feel that they can become self-sufficient, and the third that is we are working for human development or 'Antyoday' where we have reached till the last person. We will ask people to vote for us (based on these achievements).

For more Goa Election 2022 related stories, CLICK HERE 

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