Panaji: Hours after he made a statement that reservation for ST community in Goa legislative Assembly was not possible, Union minister Ramdas Athavale had to withdraw his statement and apologise in Goa on Tuesday.
Athavale who was inGoa to meet chief minister Pramod Sawant during a press conference claimed that the reservation for ST communit in Goa was not possible as they are in a small number in the coastal state.
Various ST organizations under the banner of “Mission of Reservation for ST community” have been demanding reservation in four assembly constituencies. The monsoon session of Goa legislative assembly had passed the resolution demanding reservation for the ST community.
“It is not possible to have reservation for ST community in Goa as their percentage population is very less,” Athavale had said responding to a question on Tuesday.
Reacting to the press conference, Goa Forward Party chief Vijai Sardesai had targeted the state government claiming that the statement was “shocking” and “improbable.”
Sardesai wrote on X (formerly twitter) that Athavale’s statement is either a joke or BJP government’s policy. He said that the statement was too shocking and improbable to consider seriously.
“The Goa assembly has unanimously requested Goa government to take steps to persuade the Govt of India to take implement the long standing and just demand of the community ASAP,” Sardesai said.
Sardesai said that the BJP in Goa and the chief minister should respond immediately.
Meanwhile, the representatives of Mission of Reservation for ST community addressing a press conference on Tuesday said that the statement of the union minister was condemnable.
Social activist Rama Kankonkar, representing the ST community, said that the the population of the scheduled tribe in Goa is twelve percent, which is enough for the reservation in four assembly constituencies.
Speaking to reporters in the evening, Athavale said that he was unaware about the issue. “I was not knowing that the population of ST community in Goa is 12 per cent. I was also not knowing that chief minister has assured in the assembly that the reservation would be given,” he said.
“I withdraw my statement and apologise to the people,” he added.