INTERVIEW | PM Modi, Amit Shah don’t know history: P Chidambaram

Voters of Goa want a change because they have seen BJP’s misrule for 10 years.
Congress leader and former Finance Minister P Chidambaram. (Photo | EPS)
Congress leader and former Finance Minister P Chidambaram. (Photo | EPS)

PANAJI: Senior Congress leader P Chidambaram, who is in charge of the party’s affairs in Goa, said that keeping 2017 in mind, the party will stake the claim of government formation within five minutes if they emerge victorious. In an exclusive interview with Sudhir Suryawanshi, he added there are no instructions from the high command about an alliance with TMC. Excerpts:

What is the feedback?

Voters of Goa want a change because they have seen BJP’s misrule for 10 years. We are trying to convert the anti-BJP and anti-government feelings into votes. Congress and Goa Forward Party are going to form the government.

National, local and parties from Delhi and Bengal are in the fray. What is the Congress offering to the voters?

Voters of Goa are not taking the promises of AAP and TMC seriously. The reason is, promises made by AAP have not been implemented in Delhi and it’s a similar case with TMC. No one is taking those promises seriously. Our vision document is based on the needs of Goa.

Defection is a major issue in Goa. How you are going to tackle this?

After the entry of TMC and AAP, nobody is pointing fingers at Congress because the entire list of AAP and TMC candidates are defectors. We have not taken defectors into our party. The 30 Congress candidates are recommended by local blocks. All of them have taken a pledge in three places of worship. We made them sign affidavits that have certain legal effects.

PM Modi said that Pandit Nehru delayed the liberation of Goa. What do you say as a Congress leader?

This history is rewritten in the usual BJP way. India was a young, independent country in 1947. We did not have too many friends in the world. Nehru steered the country so deftly within eight years of the Bandung conference. The timing was right in 1961. After we arrived at the world stage, we immediately liberated Goa. Not one country opposed us. Whatever Modi and Shah may say, people know that they do not know history.

What was the reason behind falling out of alliance with TMC?

The truth is, TMC suggested we should work together and form an alliance. In the meanwhile, TMC continued to poach Congress candidates. On December 16, we announced our first list. Aleixo Reginaldo Lourenco was poached after that. That’s when we stopped. Besides, I did not get any instruction to hold talks with TMC.

What about an alliance with NCP and Shiv Sena?

NCP and Shiv Sena did talk to us but they asked for a larger number of seats. We were not in a position to agree with their demand.

Mining is turning out to be the major issue in Goa?

The Supreme Court banned illegal mining. Legal mining was not banned. But Manohar Parrikar arbitrarily stopped all mining. We have promised within the three to six months after our government comes to power, we will start legal and sustainable mining.

Related Stories

No stories found.

The New Indian Express