Saturday 13 July 2024

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Did Entry Tax defeat BJP in Karwar?

 

Road block at Majali on 31 March against Entry Tax

Did the entry tax issue of Goa affect the Bharatiya Janata Party’s Karwar candidate and fisheries minister Anand Asnotikar?

The Congress says – Yes; and the BJP, obviously, says – No.

Independent MLA-elect Satish Sail, who defeated Asnotikar by almost 36,000 votes, had led the agitation against the entry tax at Goa-Karwar border.

He was denied the Congress ticket and their official party candidate Ramanand Nayak was pushed to third place, with less than 68,000 votes than Sail.

Goa Pradesh Congress Committee president Subhash Shirodkar, who was also the observer for Karwar, claims that the people voted against Goa government’s decision of imposing entry tax.

In fact the locals from Canacona disclosed to goanews.com that huge amount of Karwar voters, living in Goa, had travelled to their home town for voting.

Villagers reveal that private vehicles as well as hired private buses were seen lined up at the Pollem border check post from the previous day of voting in Karnataka.

“The BJP chief minister Manohar Parrikar did not even listen to their party president Rajnath
Singh to rollback the entry tax, when he was in Belgaum”, reminded Shirodkar.

Goa’s BJP leader Damu Naik, who campaigned for Asnotikar in Karwar, however refuses to buy this argument.

During Parrikar’s two visits to Karwar for the campaign, Naik says the chief minister had categorically assured that K 30 and K 37 vehicles – belonging to Karwar and Ankola talukas – would be exempted from imposition of entry tax.

In fact the state government has put up its entry tax collection booth beyond the Pollem petrol pump as well as all the liquor outlets across the border, so that Karwar people could take ‘benefit’ of it.

Besides Parrikar and Damu, Goa’s sports minister Ramesh Tawadkar and party secretary Satish Dhond had also toured the constituency.

Sources in Karwar BJP however disclose that the party cadres in Karwar did not co-operate with Asnotikar – the former Congress MLA – even after he defected and joined the BJP to become a minister after Kumarswami government led by Janata Dal (Secular) collapsed.

The leaders had a tough time when voters asked them what guarantee they could give that Asnotikar won't defect once again. 

However, it is also a fact that the elected MLA-elect Sail was in the forefront of several agitations in Karwar including the one against Goa’s entry tax and thousands of Goans, having voting in Karwar, had gone to vote.

The trend, thus, could be an eye opener to the BJP in Goa, which would now face a litmus test in the forthcoming Lok Sabha election, after coming to power in the tourist state on anti-corruption wave. 


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