Goa’s Opinion Poll Day, the boundaries continue to blur By Rupesh Samant

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The opinion poll of 1967 was held purely on the lines of giving an independent identity to Goa. The state remained as an independent entity, saving itself from merging into neighbouring Maharashtra. But the policies of the state governments thereafter has gradually failed the results of the Opinion poll.

It is a fact that Goa has its own government and the region has graduated from the Union Territory to the state but that is not enough. The Opinion Poll was fall out of the ethos of the local population to save its identity, we can say “unique identity.”

Just having a geographically different territory separating it from Maharashtra is not enough. The thought should be given whether we have really achieved, what we wanted to achieve by winning the Opinion poll.

The concept of Special Status which was politically used by various parties including Congress has been pushed under the carpet. It is systematically forgotten. The concept itself was given a different twist by the CMs like Digambar Kamat, Manohar Parrikar and Laxmikant Parsekar. The basic idea was to protect the identity of the state but it was twisted to make it look like Goa is asking for financial special status, in the form of funds from the centre.

The actual idea of Special Status propagated by the leaders then was to save our land from going in the hands of non-Goans. The influx of people from the places like Delhi, Mumbai, Pune and across the country, who are in search of a peaceful place to make their home, was at its initial stage when this concept was advocated.

The words like Goemkarponn were politically used but none of the political party actually gave a thought of how to control our land, Portuguese-era houses, hills and other valuable resources from being taken over by non-Goans.

The argument that Goa is also part of India and hence cannot have its own rules should have been defeated. The politicians and thinkers like Ramakant Khalap had pointed out to the amendment in the land act, which could have saved, at least, our farmlands from being grabbed by non Goans.

As we enter the year 2024, we can see the non-Goans outnumbering the original Goans. When I speak of original Goans, I mean those who were staying here till the year 2000. I am not going in the argument whether those who lived here in the year 1961 should be considered as real Goans and those who came later should be considered outsiders.

The flood gates for non Goans to look at Goa as their sweet abode started only after the covid outbreak when people started searching for fresh air. In the bargain, we are losing our fresh air to the environmental destruction that is created to cater to the unending real estate demand.

On this day of Opinion Poll lets sit back and ponder whether the spirit in which this election was fought and majority decided that Goa should be separate, still continues to rule the state? Is identity of our state has been preserved and could continue to be maintained five or ten years down the line?

I leave you with this thought that we should start asking for special status, once again. Let Goa be Goa. Let us not spare our land for those who have already destroyed their own motherland and eyeing for Goa as their final abode. You can disagree with me, but these are my thoughts.

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