Roy Naik, who is contesting the by-election in the Valpoi constituency, speaks to Nirgosh Gaude about the reason behind jumping into the poll fray and his plans for Valpoi, among other things
Q: What made you jump into the poll fray; what was the exact reason behind it?
To be frank, it was not a sudden decision but the result of a long-thought process. When the seating MLA of Valpoi resigned, many people from Valpoi, especially Usgao, approached my father Ravi Naik asking for my candidature for the Valpoi seat. It was the people’s demand for us that made me decide on fighting the by-election.
Q: You are from Ponda. Do you feel the people of Valpoi will accept you?
Yes, definitely. Earlier, Usgao was a part of Ponda constituency and people from Usgao as well as Valpoi area are aware of the development taken up by Ravi Naik in the past. People in the surrounding areas of Usgao are still fascinated with Usgao’s development and it is due to that work that they approached us with hope.
Q: What are the major issues in Valpoi and what are the development plans you have for the constituency?
Employment generation, infrastructure development and progress in education with facilities are the three major development plans I have for Valpoi. Unemployment is a major issue in Valpoi and it is linked to the economical and educational backwardness. People of Valpoi are economically backward due to unemployment or ill sources of income. Education-wise, Valpoi is totally backward and due to financial constraints, people are not going in for higher education. There is a rise in the school dropouts and people are constantly seeking jobs. All people cannot get government jobs, so my focus will be on creating employment in the private sector by setting up non-polluting industries. Secondly, importance of education needs to be revived by setting up proper schools and colleges. With regard to infrastructure, Valpoi is way behind as compared to the other areas of Goa. The villages are in a pathetic state. Many villages still don’t have proper road connectivity and villagers also lack facilities they need on a daily basis. The residents of the constituency also face the issues of water shortage, no proper streetlights, network connectivity problem and many other problems which I look forward to tackle.
Q: Do you think the voters of Valpoi will turn to BJP from Congress, now that Vishwajit Rane has joined BJP?
I don’t think so. Dedicated Congress voters are still with the party. There are many who are fed up with the dictatorship of Vishwajit Rane and also with the BJP. People wanted Congress to rule the state during the last election and majority of the seats were won by the Congress party. So that wave is still on in the state.
Q: Do you feel strong Congress voters still exist in Valpoi?
People from Valpoi have been with Congress since long and during the last assembly election too, they had given the mandate to Congress only. So the wave of Congress is still on in Valpoi and people know that if they give mandate to Congress in Valpoi, the government in the state can change.
Q: What are the advantages you are banking on that will help you to win this by-election?
I feel the people of Valpoi want a change, as they are fed up with the dictatorship and fake promises of the former MLA. It is learnt that the former MLA had been threatening people over various issues and people had to constantly live in fear. The former MLA had been promising many things to the people for so many years but had failed to fulfil the promises. The people are aware of it and that will take me through.
Q: Do you feel contesting against a minister will make your task difficult?
Contesting against the readymade minister won’t be an issue at all, as the people of Valpoi want a change and also want to break free from the clutches of dictatorship they have been facing. People are angry with this forced election and the ‘change of side’ by their earlier choice. People are also aware of the selective development of the former MLA wherein only selective people got jobs and selected areas were developed. Due to this, the undercurrent is against him and in favour of me.
Q: If people are fed up with dictatorship and want a change, why do you think they did not vote for a change during the previous election? Why do you think they will vote for a change only now?
Earlier, people did not have a better choice and hardcore Congress voters wanted Congress to come to power. They hoped for better times with Congress government. Now, the people have a better choice and they know that their mandate can bring Congress back to power. Valpoi people’s mandate can decide the fate of Congress in state.
Q: How confident are you about you victory?
I am 200 per cent confident about my victory, as I have been going around every corner of the constituency since long now. However, finally it’s up to the people and their needs. If they really want a change and if they are really ready to get out of the clutches of dictatorship, then they will vote for Congress.
Source:: The Navhind Times