Panaji: Failure of BJP-led governments, both at the Centre and in Goa, to provide concrete assurances vis-a-vis resumption of mining activity in the coastal state, led to the “flop show” at the party workers’ meeting addressed by BJP President Amit Shah on February 9 near Panaji, Goa Congress spokesperson Urfan Mulla said on Monday.
“The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) had said that 30,000 booth workers would be attending the meeting, but in reality only 10,000 people were in attendance. One of the main reasons why there was a low turnout was the inability of Shah and the BJP to resolve the mining issue or at least give concrete assurances to the people. The meeting was a ‘flop show’,” Mulla told reporters.
Shah’s meeting on Saturday came at a time when the BJP state leadership is under pressure to resume mining in Goa, which was banned by the Supreme Court in February last year, due to irregularities in the renewal of leases by the state government.
The Goa Mining People’s Front, which claims to represent people dependent on the mining industry in the state, has already announced that if mining is not restarted before the Lok Sabha polls, it would work against the BJP in the general elections, as well as in the by-polls to two Assembly seats, which are likely to be held soon.
The Front’s President Puti Gaonkar has already said that mining dependents were “not happy” with the outcome of last week’s meeting with Prime Minister over resumption of work in Goa, in which Narendra Modi had assured Gaonkar as well as BJP lawmakers of “looking into the matter”.
Shah, during his address in Goa at the party workers’ meeting, had also said that the Prime Minister was looking to resolve the mining deadlock, which has put several thousand mining employees as well as workers from the tertiary sectors out of employment and business.
“Goa’s mining dependents expected a more concrete assurance both from the Prime Minister as well as Shah. The lack of an audience at Shah’s meeting only indicates that the popular mood is not with the BJP ahead of elections,” Mulla said.
According to state BJP President Vinay Tendulkar, the meeting convened by Shah on Saturday was a resounding success and that both the party’s leaders as well as cadre “were going full steam ahead in campaign mode for the Lok Sabha and Assembly bypolls”.