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Mr. Elvis Gomes, the bureaucrat turned politician, who is appointed as chief ministerial candidate of AAP Goa by the AAP supremo Arvind Kejriwal feels confident that ‘Only AAP will only form the next government in Goa state assembly’. As a bureaucrat Mr. Gomes severed on various positions in the Goa Government. His last position held before opting for voluntary retirement was the Inspector General of Police (Prisons). Editor of Goa Prism, Rajesh Ghadge, Spoke to Mr. Gomes to find out about his plans to take the AAP to state assembly house as the winning political party. In the discussion Mr. Gomes revealed many aspects of the political wrongdoing which is going on in the state in under the existing government and his plans to improve the situation in Goa. Here is the excerpts of the interview with Mr. Gomes.

Rajesh Ghadge: This is the first time AAP is trying to contest the elections in Goa. What do you have to say about this?    

Elvis Gomes: AAP has brought an alternative before the people of Goa. Goans have been accustomed to the mainstream political parties. ( Congress and BJP). For us (AAP) they are two sides of the same coin. This coin needs to be demonetised first and that is why AAP has come forward. Actually, AAP is a movement rather than a political party and through this movement we want to liberate Goa from the clutches of this people. Who have brought only ruin and destruction in Goa.

Rajesh Ghadge: Every political leader makes the similar claims before coming to the power but after acquiring power regardless of BJP, Congress or anyone for that matter, the story remains the same, what do you want to say about that? 

Elvis Gomes: Look, we do not claim that we are the best, but we are surely the credible alternative to what is happening now. Earlier people had to switch from BJP to Congress and Congress to BJP. Having seen what bad things they have been doing to the state of Goa. We are offering ourselves as a fist timers and asking people to give us one opportunity and then judge. So this opportunity first has to be given to us by the people of Goa. This is a very credible movement that has come from the grass roots and the common man and that is the major difference. We are neither after any wealth nor after any money, we are only after correcting the system that has been severely deranged. And once we put it back on the track, everything is going to be effortlessly smooth for everybody. And this not a tall claim, with all my experience and background I can say for sure that this are real possibilities.

Rajesh Ghadge: AAP calls other political parties as corrupt. What corruption is according to you?    

Elvis Gomes : Parties get the brand of being corrupt because the people in those parties are basically corrupt and this is something real. This is not fiction. We have seen it when the Congress ruled Goa. Everybody knew how corrupt they were. It is the people in Congress which gave them such a bad name and they got washed out. The alternative BJP come forward saying that they will provide the government with difference and they will correct all the wrong things that have been done by the Congress. Taking their promise seriously people of Goa switched over to the BJP. But 5 years down the line what we have seen is nothing but U-turns and now it’s become a common terminology that if you think of U-turns you think of BJP.

Rajesh Ghadge: As you said that, it is the people who are corrupt and not the political party. Corruption originates from person to person. It’s a human nature and not possible to stop. What do you want to say about this?

Elvis Gomes: You must be aware that there are countries in the world where the corruption does not exists. In that respect Goa was always different. Goa is different from the rest of the unions. Though we are part of India but the kind of culture that exists in Goa is something Different. What has happened in the past 20-25 years made the colour of corruption penetrate deeply into the Goan system. Here we are talking about one single phrase that is ‘Regain Goa” Goa that has got lost we have to regain it first. And that is our endeavour as far as AAP is concerned. It is a sincere attempt which has not been made and which is not possible for BJP or congress but it is possible for AAP because the people in AAP are well meaning citizens. For the first time we are playing politics which is never been played earlier. That is drawing people from among the people into the system and correcting the system.

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Rajesh Ghadge: What happened in Delhi was actually a part of a big movement that took the people by storm. People were under emotional pressure and the AAP had struck at the right time in right place and won the election. Do you think the same thing can happen in Goa? 

Elvis Gomes: If you look at the background of Delhi elections in 2014, according to me similar kind of situation has arisen in Goa right now, emotions are also high. Only difference is electorate being small as compared to Delhi. People are sometimes under fear of harassment by the ruling establishment right now so therefore they have remained silent. They would not like to comment either this way or that way but they have made up their mind that in elections they will vote only for the AAP.

Rajesh Ghadge: In Delhi, it was only one political party (Congress) on which AAP took over. But in Goa, it is not the similar situation. Goa has several regional parties in the election fray. You think that winning over them in Goa is so easy?

Elvis Gomes: These followers have been corrupted first. They always have been given a lot of money to keep that following around that leader. Now 5-10 years down the line things have started changing for the better. The youth who was 10 years old then have become 20 years old now. That person today is so much on the social media and the world is before him virtually and he or she can understand things better and that kind of following is getting diminished as far as these leaders are concerned. And therefore these elections will prove that it is the system that needs to be corrected and people have endorsed the attempt of AAP to correct the system.

Rajesh Ghadge: There is still a lot of time for the elections to take place in the state but supporters have already started fighting over the installation of the banners. Some of them have the muscle power, money and system with them. How are you going to tackle that part?

Elvis Gomes : This is exactly what we have come to redefine that politics of the future will not be of intimidation or will not be use of money or muscle. Politics of the future will be based on the understanding. Rightfully the person will understand what he / she needs to do. In the process of doing this like the leaders of that time thought for independence and to go through hardships whether it was a Portuguese or British reign. That kind of Hardship has to be endured today. Of course today law is there to protect us which was not there then. We will be undergoing the harassment which is illegal. So we are united, we will resist that.  And to the extinct of undergoing that harassment and touchier we are ready to pass through that to prove that point that time has come to change everything and AAP for us means change.

Rajesh Ghadge: Mr. Gomes, since you have been into the system you understand it very well. Are are you confident enough that all the people inducted by Mr. Kejriwal into the party are not corrupt?

Elvis Gomes: No, with all the certainty I can say that all the candidates that have been declared by the party have undergone the screening process and as far as the corruption, communalism and criminality is concerned, all these 3 aspects have been verified and only then we have selected the candidates.

Rajesh Ghadge: You have made the promise of giving double benefits to the people of Goa if elected to the power don’t you think that you are following the same people who are in power right now by offering the benefits to the people in the return of votes? 

Elvis Gomes: Not really, We are trying to do some social engineering, sitting here in Panaji or Margao you don’t realise the ground reality which exists in the rural parts of India. The people there are actually suffering. They do not have access to road network; many people do not have water. And you won’t believe that in today’s Goa there are large number of people do not own toilets. This situation is not prevalent and never brought to the forth. The opportunities are practically non-existing for such people. Those people have to be brought to path. You have to do that by seeding. Not the way the BJP has done it through party office or through the party MLA’s. We are going to bring it out that through uniformity and without interference of political MLA’s and bureaucracy. Everything will be put in place that people who really deserve and need this will be beneficiary. Not the way the people are enjoying now like if the party comes to your door step and you keep the guarantee of giving them vote. They will allow multiple people to take benefits even those who don’t deserve it. We are going to have clean and decent administration where deserving will be benefited.

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Rajesh Ghadge: After coming to power will you remove the bureaucrats who are corrupt and replace them with clean people?          

Elvis Gomes: Obviously, Corruption in the bureaucracy has no place. So where there is no place we have to remove it from the system. We will not be able to do it overnight. It won’t be possible overnight but the process will be set into motion and before the end of 2-3 years it will become very eclectic.

Rajesh Ghadge: Normally when people elect their MLA, they have one thing in their mind and that is development and the progress, which is going on right now and it needs to continue. Goa does not have money as mining has stopped and casinos you (AAP) wants to throw it out from Goa. So from where you are going to get the money for the development? Your party is also not in the centre.                                                                                              

Elvis Gomes: There is a lot of money in the system which has remained untapped. Where people are supposed to pay they are not paying that is because they have nexus with the political establishment that is ruling and secondly there is a lot of leakage in the revenue and third is in the expenditure. Unnecessary and wasteful expenditure which is done by the ruling government. Putting these three factors in place alone will result in tremendous savings. Now coming back to our Party government not being in Center. In a federal structure there are lot of states where the BJP government is not empowered. The statement that the government in the center, the same party must be ruling in the states cannot be accepted. This is a federal structure it is the people of the state that decides this. They are voting with the purpose. There is a constitution of India and we have to work within that constitution. No government in the center can deny that what is right to the state of Goa.

Rajesh Ghadge: So whatever development is going on right now in Goa will be continued by the AAP if they come to the power?

Elvis Gomes: Of course, whatever is set in motion has to continue. Right now I am saying it with certainty that whatever projects are undertaken is with state fund although the state does not have the funds according to the government right now. But still they have taken these projects in their hands. So that difficulty they have already created for the ones who are going to come. But we will be able to overcome that.

It may be recalled that, immediately after Kejriwal’s announcement, Mr. Elvis Gomes held a press conference and declared the welfare schemes for Goans which apparently resulted into his summon by ACB (Anti-Corruption Bureau) of Goa for questioning him over the five year old Land scam case involving more than 30,000 square metres of land in Madgaon. The ACB had charged Mr. Gomes with cheating and criminal conspiracy, alleging that, in his capacity as managing director of the Housing Board, he had acquired land, converted the land zone from orchard to settlement, and then returned it to the owner. Although Mr. Gomes refused the allegations calling it fabricated and frivolous. This shows how much the ruling government is feeling insecure with Mr. Gomes and AAP. Surely if AAP comes to the power the situation might change but the continuation of the  existing government can only lead to worsen the same. Please do leave your comments in this article. 

IMAGE SOURCE: SOCIAL MEDIA

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