Panaji, Feb 15 (IANS) A year ahead of the state assembly polls, Goa’s political menu may well have an additional dash of identity politics and spunky regionalistic flair with the birth of a new political party ‘Revolutionary Goans’ on Monday, with its promoters promising to safeguard regional aspirations, quite on the lines of Raj Thackeray’s Maharashtra Navnirman Sena in the neighbouring state.
Manoj Parab, a self-styled supremo of the political party, which was formally announced in Panaji on Monday, said that the new political party would advocate policy in the interest of the ethnic Goan population and generate employment for the local youth in the industrial and business sectors, including tourism.
“We have decided that we will enter politics and field 40 candidates in all constituencies. In each constituency there will be a ‘Revolutionary Goans’ candidate only so that each Goan should get a right to vote for us,” Parab said.
Unlike Thackeray however, Parab, who has a masters degree in Earth Sciences, does not come from political lineage, but his NGO ‘Revolutionary Goans’ over the last few years, has carried out a sustained campaign against migrant workers taking over employment opportunities in the coastal state.
His new political party has now promised job guarantees, as well safeguarding the land-rights of ethnic Goans.
Apart from documenting street-styled heckling of migrant workers — much like the MNS cadre in Mumbai — with videos uploaded to social media, Parab has also advocated the need for a ‘Person of Goan Origin’ law, which aims to legally define a Goan native and demand 100 per cent reservation for Goans in government jobs, municipal shop allotments, government subsidies, etc.
The issue of regional identity has been in currency in Goa over the last decade, in wake of challenges stemming from rapid in-migration, shrinking land resources and a resultant dilution of identity.
The issue of granting of special status on the basis of cultural identity, had been raised by all the major political parties in Goa, including the BJP and the Congress, in the run up to the 2012 state assembly poll and the 2014 and 2019 Lok Sabha elections.
After winning the 2012 state assembly polls, the BJP-led coalition government in Goa which was subsequently voted to power, was also instrumental in moving a unanimous resolution in the state legislative assembly demanding special status for Goa.
But the ruling BJP had later retracted on the issue, with former Chief Minister Laxmikant Parsekar stating that seeking special status for Goa was like “running after a mirage”.