‘Any compromise on Goem, Goemkar or Goemkarponn, I’m ready to sit in the opposition’––Vijai Sardesai

I entered politics on principles and if I have to leave it, I will live on principles.

Five years ago, as the people of Fatorda would remember, I was denied an assembly ticket by the Congress party. Political expediency demanded switching to another party or even the BJP, which could have perhaps got me a ministership. But I did what was politically unthinkable. I contested as an independent. Because at that time I was not thinking of the personal gains I could ensue or the political manoeuvrings I could undertake, but the words of Martin Luther King. “There comes a time when one must take a position that is neither safe, nor politic, nor popular, but he must take it because conscience tells him it is right.”

I fought on the strength of my conscience and won. Today, five years later, that time has come again.

I believe that for Goa, nothing short of a revolution is required to dismantle the corrupt and dysfunctional politics that has plagued our state for decades. A revolution that is based on the fundamentals of Goem, Goemkar and Goemkarponn, led by a leadership that upholds the dignity and honour of Goemkars and not sacrifice them at the altars of some mandarins in Delhi.

Look around the political landscape of Goa. It’s nothing but a bleak wasteland infested with wheeler-dealers, fixers and ruthless mafia in every possible field indulging in crime, drugs and land grabs. Corruption is rampant, villainy rules. Bureaucratic inefficiency and political indifference has made life of the common man intolerable and desperate. There are no jobs, no industry, no hope.

Every day, Goemkars are being displaced from their own land by outsiders and Goemkar youth are forced to migrate, leaving their old and ailing parents, to distant places in search of a living. While the BJP resorts to wanton duplicity and fraud, with rank disregard for Goa’s development, the ‘main’ opposition, the Congress is a spent force whimpering and sputtering along bereft of public confidence and trust.

The time has come to listen to my conscience once again to do what is right.

But revolutions do not happen by accident. As Che, the architect of the Cuban revolution pointed out, “The revolution is not an apple that falls when it is ripe. You have to make it fall”. Perhaps, because I share not only my city of birth with Che but also my birthday with him, I had always felt inspired to work along with my people to spearhead a revolution that will overthrow this despicable dispensation, and bring power to Goemkars.

In the years that I have had the privilege to represent the people of Fatorda in the assembly, I have tried to make the apple fall. I have consistently exposed the sins of the ruling BJP, united and rallied the opposition against it, agreeing with Mao Zedong that politics is “war without blood”. Of course, sometimes when that made me an object of ridicule and contempt, the strength of my conscience and the force of my principles saved me from despondency. As Fidel Castro said “Condemn me, it does not matter, history will absolve me”.

Today, I call upon my fellow proud Goemkars to listen to their conscience and join us in this battle for ourselves, our land and our identity. Remember Bill Maher “Don’t be so tolerant that you tolerate intolerance”. There can’t be any cause more noble or worth fighting for than Goem, Goemkar and Goemkarponn, and I promise you that any compromise to that, I’m ready to sit in the opposition for the rest of my career.

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