Panaji: The Congress in Goa today accused the state government of trying to harass the middle class people in Goa, through their controversial statements, to benefit a few people in the creamy layer in the tourism industry.
All India Congress Committee (AICC) secretary Girish Chodankar said that the string of statements by Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar and his ally, Town and Country Planning Minister Vijai Sardesai, clearly exposed the “bhatkar” (landlord) mentality of the government.
Mr Parrikar had accused Goan youth of being lazy and not hard working, while Mr Sardesai had bluntly called a section of domestic low-end tourists, who he claimed had no civic sense and littered, as “scum of the earth”.
Taking strong objection to the statements, Mr Chodankar said that the “neo-rich elite” and the “bhatkar” mentality of the government was working overtime to deprive the poor of their earnings since the latter depended on these low-end tourists who stayed in budget hotels and shacks and used taxis and motorcycles as transport.
Accusing the BJP-Goa Foward Party of being “anti poor” and being unable to digest the prosperity of the middle and lower middle class, he alleged that Mr Parrikar meticulously wound up mining in Goa because it was bringing riches to people in the lower economic strata.
“First, those who were dependent on the mining industry faced a disaster due to this government. Now, it is planning a similar fate for the people in the tourism sector who eke out their living from low-end tourists,” he said.
He accused the government of trying to finish the “lower rung, middle-class” tourism to benefit casinos and five star hotels.
Mr Chodankar said that if a miniscule section of tourists were misbehaving and acting uncivilized, one couldn’t paint everyone with the same brush, adding that it was an insult to fellow Indians who came to the state and contributed to its economy.
He said that the government, while unable to provide new employement opportunities, was snatching away existing ones as well. He claimed that it was a conspiracy against “Goenkarponn” or Goanness.
On Mr Parrikar’s statement on how he had begun to fear as now even girls were drinking beer, Mr Chodankar said, “I do not wish to comment on this utter foolish statement on girls drinking beer as the IITian should know that any effects of alcohol are gender neutral and no law can ban only girls from drinking beer. Such statements only flow from an obsolete traditional mindset.”