Panaji, Feb 15 (IANS) Comments by Goa Chief Minister Pramod Sawant in Maharashtra’s Sindhudurg, a district which shares borders with Goa, has raised the hackles of the opposition in Goa who have now questioned Sawant’s commitment towards the state he governs.
Sawant who was addressing a fish festival in Sindhudurg district last Friday had said that the upcoming Mopa airport in North Goa’s Pernem sub district bordering Maharashtra, would help attract tourists to the beaches in south Maharashtra.
“Tourism will really blossom in Sindhudurg, especially when Mopa international airport is commissioned in August 2022. Goa will reap benefits, but so will Sindhudurg,” Sawant had said at the event. A video of the Chief Minister’s speech went viral in Goa over the weekend.
Reacting to the comments made by Sawant, opposition Goa Forward party spokesperson Jitendra Gaonkar said that Sawant’s comments have revealed that he is more clued in to the development of Maharashtra than that of Goa.
“This airport was conceived to develop the neglected areas of North Goa, which has been deprived of tourism. By saying that the airport would help develop tourism in Sindhudurg, Sawant has revealed that his commitment to Goa is not absolute,” Gaonkar said on Monday.
“He made a few statements which reflect very badly on Goa. When the Chief Minister goes there and makes these statements, it is self-defeating, self-contradicting and demoralising,” co-convener of Goencho Avaaz, an umbrella group of activist bodies also said, slamming the Chief Minister’s comments.
Sawant has already been targeted by opposition groups, who have repeatedly questioned his Goan lineage. After opposition parties, especially the Goa Forward, repeatedly alleged that Sawant’s ancestors had migrated to Goa from Maharashtra, the Chief Minister was forced to clarify in December that not only was he born in Goa, but also articulated the identity of his family deity ‘Bhagwati’, who has a temple dedicated to her in the state.