Panaji, May 12 (PTI) An outfit representing Karnataka-origin people residing in Goa for decades has announced its members will contest the upcoming panchayat elections in the coastal state, a move which has not gone down well with some local organizations.
The All Goa Kannada Mahasangh (AGKM) has said they will be fielding candidates for elections to various panchayat bodies schedule for which is yet to be announced.
AGKM Honorary President Siddhanna Meti told PTI on Thursday that a sizeable number of people originally from Karnataka has been living in Goa for decades, some of whom arrived here during the Portuguese rule.
“The Mahasangh has decided to support Kannadiga candidates and campaign for them. We want to play an active role in local politics,” said Meti, who had unsuccessfully contested the 2007 Goa Assembly elections.
He said Kannada-speaking people residing in Goa are empowered under the Constitution to contest elections in the state and they will exercise that right.
Meti said Kannadigas who have spent 10 to 15 years in Goa would be considered for the polls.
However, the AGKM’s announcement has drawn the ire of state-based political group Revolutionary Goans (RG), which claims to fight for the interest of native population and won an Assembly seat in the February polls – its first.
St Andre constituency MLA and RG leader Viresh Borkar has said such developments are not in favour of Goans.
“Those who arrived here from other states want to rule Goa. This is the time for all Goans to rise and fight them together,” he said.
After winning its first seat in the Goa Assembly, the RG has announced it would contest panchayat elections.
Borkar questioned the “silence” of Kannadigas residing in Goa when the state was fighting issues like diversion of the Mahadayi river waters by Karnataka.
“Why didn’t they come on streets or submitted memorandum to the Karnataka government against the diversion?” he questioned.
The MLA said the AGKM’s move to contest panchayat polls was detrimental to the interest of the state and Goans will never allow such a thing to happen. PTI RPS RSY RSY
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