Goa: Eye on LS polls, Cong to support ST movement on political reservations

Goa: Eye on LS polls, Cong to support ST movement on political reservations

A joint meeting of Goa Pradesh Congress Committee office bearers and Congress Legislative Party has unanimously resolved to support the demand of ST community for political reservation in the Legislative Assembly of Goa.

THE GOAN NETWORKUpdated: Sunday, May 28, 2023, 03:23 PM IST
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In an interesting development, the Congress party has officially joined the bandwagon in support of the demand for political reservations for the Scheduled Tribes communities.

In fact, the party has decided to back the popular demand of the Scheduled Tribes communities for political reservations in the Goa Legislative Assembly.

A joint meeting of Goa Pradesh Congress Committee office bearers and Congress Legislative Party has unanimously resolved to support the demand of ST community for political reservation in the Legislative Assembly of Goa. The resolution moved by party senior vice-president M K Sheikh was seconded by CLP and Opposition Leader, Yuri Alemao and passed unanimously.

The resolution stated that the joint PCC and CLP meeting also resolves to demand from the Union and the State government to initiate immediate and appropriate measures to grant reservation of seats in the Legislative Assembly proportionate to their population.

The resolution comes a day after a group of ST organisations under the banner of Mission Political Reservations for the ST community staged a hunger strike and ‘Black Day’ at the Lohia Maidan, Margao on the occasion of the 12th death anniversary of the two tribal youth Manguesh Gaonkar and Dilip Velip who had died in the UTAA agitation at Balli on May 25, 2011.

Goa Pradesh Congress Committee (GPCC) chief Amit Patkar and Congress leaders were present in the audience with candles at the Lohia Maidan when the Mission Political Reservations for the ST community had adopted a resolution to demand political reservations for the community before the 2024 Lok Sabha polls or had threatened to boycott the election.

GPCC senior vice-president M K Sheikh told The Goan that the resolution to back the demand of the ST community for political reservations in the State Assembly has been unanimously passed by the joint meeting of the PCC office bearers and the Congress Legislature Party. “Party leaders were unanimous in their opinion that the ST community’s demand for political reservations is just and has been pending for a long time,” he said.

Political observers say the Congress party’s decision to rally behind the ST community assumes significance and comes against the backdrop of the fact that the main opposition party is bracing up to tone up the organisation, especially in South Goa ahead of the 2024 Lok Sabha polls.

Sources say the Congress’ decision further assumes significance since the scheduled tribes comprises a significance portion of the population in South Goa spread across the talukas of Canacona, Quepem and Sanguem. Barring Quepem, which is presently represented by Congress MLA Alton D’Costa, the remaining Assembly segments of Canacona, Curchorem, Sanvordem and Sanguem in these talukas are ruled by the BJP, including two Ministers Nilesh Cabral and Subhash Faldesai, besides Goa Legislative Assembly Speaker Ramesh Tawadkar.

Sources say the Congress leadership had failed to make major inroads in the ST dominated areas over the last one decade, but had instead banked on certain ST leaders to promote the party. Party leaders say the decision to back the ST movement in support of political reservations may help to keep the party in good stead, more so when the ruling BJP seemed non-committal in conceding the demand for political reservations before the 2024 Lok Sabha polls.

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