NDA supporting Special Status under Art 371: CM

GOANEWS DESK, PANAJI | 07 August 2012 13:52 IST

The Bharatiya Janata Party-led National Democratic Alliance has fully supported the demand to grant special status to Goa state under Article 371 of the Constitution of India.

It is now up to the Congress to persuade the United Progressive Alliance also to support the demand, so that the Parliament could make the necessary constitutional amendment.

This has been announced by chief minister Manohar Parrikar.

The issue was raised by Dabolim MLA Mauvin Godinho in the Assembly today as the political affairs committee of the union cabinet has cleared the process of bringing constitutional amendment bill in the monsoon session of the Parliament, beginning from 8 August.

“I have already spoken to our BJP president Nitin Gadkari and he has assured me support of not only the BJP but the whole NDA”, he informed the House.

“Now it is up to the opposition benches (the Congress) to speak to their leaders and also get the support of the Congress and the UPA”, he appealed.

If it happens, Goa would comfortably get two third majority in both the Houses of Parliament, he added.

Unfortunately, none of the opposition benches responded, except Godinho, who demanded an all-party delegation to Delhi.

He also demanded special debate on the issue, which was rejected by Speaker Rajendra Alrekar stating that the House has discussed the issue enough.

“I am prepared to take all the 40 MLAs to Delhi as a delegation”, said Parrikar.

He however made it clear that he is supporting the demand of special status to Goa from the identity point of view and not so much on financial issues.

Parrikar also said that the inclusion in Article 371 would protect Goa’s scarce land from getting sold to outsiders.

The CM also assured to talk to Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh in this regard when he meets him in Mumbai for the celebrations of 150 years of Bombay High Court on 17 August.

In addition, he also plans to raise the issue at the Chief Ministers’ meeting scheduled in the national capital.

Presently, the states enjoying special status under Article 371 are Andhra Pradesh (Telangana, Rayalaseema and Andhra), Maharashtra (Marathwada and Vidarbha), Gujarat (Kutch and Saurashtra) as well as North Eastern states of Nagaland, Manipur, Assam, Mizoram, Sikkim and Arunachal Pradesh.

Andhra Pradesh, Gujarat and Maharashtra were accorded the status in 1956 and subsequently (in 1973 — 32nd amendment — Article 371D), Andhra Pradesh was segregated from this group.

Karnataka has already started lobbying at all-party level to get special status for the districts of the Hyderabad-Karnataka region which have, by and large, remained backward since the reorganisation of States in 1956.

The districts are Gulbarga, Yadgir, Bidar, Raichur, Koppal and Bellary.

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