“No candidate can become a Chief Minister in the present scenario without lobbying,” says the present Chief Minister of Goa.
In a candid, no holds barred interview to Rajya Sabha TV, Lakshmi Kant Parsekar admitted that present Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar might be campaigning for Goa elections but he is not in the fray to become Chief Minister as he is not contesting.
Dismissing Goa in charge Nitin Gadkari’s statement that a central leader will become the CM, Parsekar clarified that Sirpad Naik and Manohar Parikkar were adding value to the BJP campaign.
Slamming – Aam Aadmi Party, the new entrant in Goa politics for its frivolous and empty campaign, he said that the fledgeling party was used to creating a hype and that all their candidates will lose their deposits.
Commenting on the Casino culture, Parsekar said all six casinos in Goa were the gifts of the then Congress government and admitted that now it was difficult removing them because of thousands of people being employed and having taken the legal recourse and in addition to this they can’t project themselves as completely anti-casino because of the investments being sought for the tourist state.
Here are the excerpts of the interview given to Rajya Sabha TV Anchor Neelu Vyas
Q) Experts say no party will get a majority in Goa this year?
BJP has invested on infrastructure in the state, all sections of society have benefitted regularly, despite all odds and people will vote for BJP.
Elections are always tough… I started from the scratch and lost my deposit in my constituency too.
I know the mentality of goa people, BJP will come back to power with an overwhelming majority.
Q) People say that in Lutyens bungalow zone, Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar is a bigger favourite than you?
I had never thought of becoming CM when Mr Parrikar was here. No person can become CM without lobbying, I am a disciplined soldier of the party, No question of favouritism. Leadership will be decided by the party
Sripad Naik and Manohar Parrikar are our local leaders. They are not contesting. I don’t have a problem with Parrikar or Sripad Naik.
Q) Goa is the first state in the country where we heard that RSS broke ranks with the BJP, is that not a drawback?
There is no rebellion in RSS, it did not break ranks with BJP, a section of RSS unit had problems.
We still have blessings from them… Former RSS Goa Chief made snide remarks against Parrikar, media hyped the incident.
Q) Your allies like MGP have drifted away from you, is that not a worrisome factor for the BJP?
I don’t underestimate anyone in elections; Breaking away of allies will not dent BJP’s prospects
Q) Medium of instruction is still a vexed issue in Goa, What is your stand?
The Medium of Instruction is a vexed issue in Goa, At primary the level, MOI has to be Marathi & Konkani, We have not granted permission to any schools, Grants given to 134 schools to learn English. We did not like to disrupt the schedule, 94 schools are teaching Konkani & Marathi,
It’s not a question of antagonising catholic churches, all sections of society are BJP’s voter base, BJP has reached out to all sections, No religion is untouchable for BJP
Q) Parties like MGP have said they will destroy BJP’s chances?
MGP has become a private limited company. Their ambition is soaring high.
Since liberation days, Goa state has been ruled by local parties alone, over a period of time people tilted towards the national parties.
Local parties have minimal influence in certain pockets. Our local leadership has never been remotely controlled by the centre. We had full freedom to function.
Q) There are reports of rampant groupism and factionalism in BJP, is that not a shortcoming in the 2017 polls?
There is no groupism or factionalism in BJP. All matters are discussed within the four walls. Our membership is growing manifold, differences are bound to happen.
Q) Aam Admi Party has become a third alternative force in Goa, what do you have to say?
Aam Admi Party candidates will lose their deposits. AAP only knows how to create hype and people of Goa are not ignorant.
Q) Aam Admi Party is the anti-casino, but BJP’s stand has been that of a flip-flop?
All 6 casinos are the gift of the then Congress govt, BJP objected tooth and nail, no additional casinos have come up, it’s difficult to remove casinos because of legal recourse, Casinos have given employment to large number of people, and it’s difficult to abruptly remove them when investments are being sought
Q) Are the present polls not going to be a referendum on demonetisation?
Demonetisation will have a positive impact on polls, Goa was the first state to go cashless, there were initial troubles for a week or ten days but now people have also realised that getting a clean honest and a non-corrupt leadership is more important.