Fatorda: Goa Forward Party Chief Vijai Sardesai on Sunday condemned the statement by State Ports Minister Michael Lobo where he had asked expats “not to poison the mind of locals over developmental projects”.
Sardesai told a group of reporters in Margao town of South Goa that Overseas Citizens of India (OCI) have equal right for voicing their opinion about Goa as much as the locals have.
He said that Lobo should defend himself and his party rather than challenging the rights of OCIs to comment on the affairs in Goa.
On Saturday, Lobo had said “those who are holding Overseas Citizen of India (OCI) card “should be more concerned about what is happening in Portugal or London.”
“Leave Goa to us, we are there to take care of it (Goa),” he had said.
The minister was addressing a function organised by trade bodies in the city.
Reacting to his statement, Sardesai, who is former Deputy Chief Minister of Goa, said that OCIs who are commenting on social media platforms has their right to opinion.
“When I supported Manohar Parrikar in the year 2017 to form the BJP-led government, I was condemned by them (OCIs). I am still being condemned, but I have never spoken a word against OCIs,” he said.
The GFP chief alleged that Pramod Sawant-led government is “intolerant” towards criticism against them.
“While on one side this government is targeting OCIs, some of the ministers visit abroad to attend functions of Goan diaspora and congratulate them there for their contribution for the country (India),” Sardesai said.
He said that the diaspora abroad have enough rights to express their opinion. “They had to go abroad and switch over to passport of another country because the government has failed to provide them employment opportunities,” Sardesai stated.
He said that the state government should defend themselves from the allegations made against them by OCI, rather than shunning their right to voice their opinions.