Welcome to Goa. It seems like you are among the only few important political leaders in the country who is frequently visiting Goa.
Yes. Aam Aadmi Party is the only party that has an agenda for Goa, which has a vision for Goa. I have been coming to Goa frequently in the last 5 months and whenever I come here, I talk about guarantees. We have said we will build schools, hospitals and roads. We have said we will give free healthcare to the people. But what is the agenda of the BJP? They have given no agenda to people. Congress has given no agenda. These parties are here to only loot. It is very surprising in the sense that if you ask Congress or BJP why should people vote for you, they have no answer. If you pick any newspaper in Goa, they will have one news about defections every day.
What is your agenda?
Our agenda is to give Goa an honest government. In Delhi, we are running an honest government for 7 years now. We have built schools, hospitals, roads for people and now we have decided to provide the same things to the people of Goa.
But why did you choose Goa? There are so many states in India...
Now we will fight every election in the country. We fought last elections in Goa and we have been working in the state for last 5 years, especially in last 2 year, we been have constantly working on the ground and that's why we are able to build strong organisation here.
You contested the last election also. How is your strategy different from the last time?
We are more systematic, organised with a strong base this time. During the time of Covid, AAP was the only party that was distributing the rasan to people on their doorstep. Where was the government? What were the BJP or Congress during that time? So we have worked a lot for people and with people since the last elections.
How is your strategy different from Punjab in Goa?
Every state is different. Punjab and Goa are two different states. Both have different cultures, languages, issues including the government.
How are you going to stop defections? Congress candidates are going to temples and you have made your candidates sign affidavits. Are you convinced with your strategy?
I can understand your anxiety. We have given tickets to fresh and honest candidates. It is natural for people to ask us how we will ensure that no defections take place. So we have made them sign the affidavits and gave the copies to the public. If tomorrow any of AAP candidates try to change the party, people can persecute them in court based on that affidavit.
But then everyone can say tomorrow that they tried to protect democratic ethics and they have differences with the party now. They have the democratic right to change the party..
So if the candidate wanted to do this, they shouldn't have signed the affidavit. If the candidate has legally signed the affidavit, he is legally bound to follow the affidavit.
You seem to be convinced with the affidavit
We have given the legal right to the public. We wanted to give them confidence. Your question is valid because the atmosphere is such, everyone asks me how will you ensure no defection takes place. That's why we have made our candidates sign the affidavit.
Do you think you will be able to win 21 seats?
We are putting in the effort. I would like to appeal to the people of Goa that first time they are getting an honest option. Congress has ruled for 25 years while BJP has ruled for 10 years. They are not going to do anything new. They have done whatever they wanted. If you will give them more then5 more years, still they won't be able to do anything new. Just give one chance to Aam Aadmi Party. It is an honest party and has done good work in Delhi.
What if you get less than 21 seats? Are you going to sit in opposition or will you try to make a post-poll alliance?
It is very to difficult to say now. It will depend on the political situation at that time. However, we are sure that we will not make any alliance with BJP.
But what will be your political stand at that time?
If the situation demands, then we can work out a non-BJP alliance. We will try to get a majority on our own. if it is a highly fractured mandate then we will see if can try to make some sort of an alliance.
What will be your primary issues within the six months if you are voted to power?
We are going to provide employment to people. Goan youth is in a lot of trouble due to unemployment.
Are you going to give them government jobs?
There are two factors. First, we have to remove corruption from government jobs. In today's time, you can't get a government job without a bribe or a favour. We will make the system transparent like in Delhi. Secondly, we will generate more jobs in the private sector. We will encourage the environmentally sustained industry on a large scale. We will simplify the process as people don't even get the license without corruption. If someone wants to open a shop, then they should be able to do it on a large scale. In the private sector, we have seen outsiders acquiring tenders in Goa and getting manpower from outside to work here. We will make sure that 80 per cent of jobs are reserved for Goan youth in the private sector. We hope this will create a huge number of jobs in the private sector. We will also resume the mining in Goa.
How are you going to resume mining in Goa?
We will go to the supreme court to expedite the process. We are going to follow the apex court's order word to word. It has already been stopped for 10 years and BJP is still not able to start mining. They don't have good intentions. We will start the mining in 6 months.
You keep talking about good intentions in politics. However, you have declared that a person from the Bhandari community will become the Chief Minister if you voted to power. Are you trying to venture into the game of caste politics in Goa?
This is not a game. We are just trying to correct the social injustice being done for so many years to one particular community. Bhandari community is the numerically strongest community in Goa. In the last 60 years, only one person from the Bhandari community has been able to become the chief minister. For example, BJP did not make Shripad Naik the Chief Minister and in this election, they did not even give the ticket to Shripad Naik's son. There is a feeling of injustice within the Bhandari community. It is pestering which is not good for society. Bhandari community has contributed to every aspect of Goa. We have declared Amit Palekar as our CM candidate and he will work for everyone.
What is your take on freebie politics? How are you going to manage the finances?
Goa government is one the richest government in the country. Government has no dearth of money in Goa. The only issue is where is this money going. Goa government has 23 thousand crore debt. I want to ask how did the government acquire so much loss? In the last 25 years, have you seen any new government schools? Have you seen any new government colleges in the state? have you seen any new hospitals? All the money is going to the pockets of these politicians, in their Swiss banks. With that money, they have bought land, properties. We are going to provide honest government.