Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Sunday, December 19, said that Goa would have been liberated from Portuguese rule much earlier had Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel lived for some more time.
Modi, who is in Goa for a day-long trip to celebrate Goa Liberation Day, was speaking at an event at Dr Shayma Prasad Stadium.
"Had Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel been alive for a little more time, Goa would have been liberated earlier," Modi said.
Patel, deputy PM in the Nehru cabinet, died on December 15, 1950. He is credited with the liberation of the Marathwada region in Maharashtra from erstwhile Nizam's rule.
“Goa came under Portugal rule when the other major part of the country was ruled by the Mughals. But even centuries later, neither Goa has forgotten its Indianness, nor India has forgotten its Goa,” said PM Modi
Speaking about his meeting with Pope Francis, Modi said: “Some time ago, I went to Italy and Vatican City. There I also had the opportunity to meet Pope Francis. I invited him to visit India, to which Pope Francis said, ‘This is the greatest gift you have given me” This is his love for India's diversity, our radiant democracy’”.
Modi lauded freedom fighters, including those from outside Goa, who fought for the state's freedom. When India got Independence, they still continued the fight to liberate Goa, he added. “They ensured that the struggle to liberate Goa did not end after India's independence,” he said.
Modi also congratulated the Goa government for topping in various parameters of good governance. “Goa is top in good governance, per capita income, and many others. I want to congratulate Goa for completing cent per cent coverage of 1st dose to all its eligible population. Today I can say that Pramod Sawant Ji is working with a big vision for the development of Goa,” Modi said.
“The country through the character of Manohar Parrikar Ji saw how honest, talented, and hardworking the people of Goa are. Through his life, we saw that how one can remain devoted to his state, his people till his last breath,” he added.
PM Modi also inaugurated multiple development projects in Goa, including the renovated Fort Aguada Jail Museum, the super-specialty Block at Goa Medical College, the South Goa District Hospital, an aviation skill development centre at Mopa Airport and a gas-insulated substation at Davorlim in Navelim.
Earlier in the day, he felicitated Operation Vijay veterans and offered tribute at the martyrs’ memorial in Azad Maidan, Panaji.