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Goa elections: MGP differs from poll partners on school grant, casino issues

MGP is contesting 18 seats out of 40 for the February 4 assembly polls, while GSM is contesting for six and Sena four.

By: PTI | Panaji |
January 29, 2017 12:03:10 pm
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Issues that brought like-minded Maharashtrawadi Gomantak Party, Goa Suraksha Manch and Shiv Sena together to forge a poll pact seems to have become a bone of contention among them with MGP skipping the crucial issue of grants to English medium schools from its manifesto. The demand of withdrawal of grants to English medium schools and making mother tongue as Medium of Instruction (MOI) in primary schools of Goa was a major poll plank for the three regional parties to form a pre-poll alliance. While RSS Rebel leader Subhash Velingkar-led GSM and Shiv Sena in their joint manifesto assured to withdraw government grants given to English primary schools in a phased manner, MGP manifesto makes no mention of it.

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GSM was formed after the BJP-led government refused to withdraw grants for English medium schools in the state.

MGP too had conceded with GSM on the demand while forming the poll truck.

In a major volte-face, MGP has now said that the MOI issue cannot be mentioned on the election manifesto, citing Supreme Court guidelines.

“MOI is not a new issue. But Supreme Court guidelines are clear that any issue related to language should not be made an election plank,” MGP leader Sudin Dhavalikar told reporters yesterday.

When asked whether they will take any such decision if voted to power, he said, “We will follow Central government guidelines on this issue,” Dhavalikar said even as he insisted that there has not been any difference among alliance partners on the issue.

“It should not be considered as difference. When we have alliance we should have a foresight. They (GSM-Sena) has also said that grants would be stopped to the English schools in phases. They also don’t talk of stopping it immediately,” he said.

On the issue of removal of casinos from the tourist state, MGP differs from GSM and Shiv Sena, and finds no place on its manifesto.

“We cannot just throw out casinos overnight. I don’t want to make any false promises. If we order to shut them, casino owners will file cases against the government. We will not allow new casinos to come to Goa,” Dhavalikar said.

MGP is contesting 18 seats out of 40 for the February 4 assembly polls, while GSM six and Sena four.

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