Panaji, August 2: The newly formed Goa Forward Party has alleged that the ruling BJP has spent the last four-and-a -half years misleading the Scheduled Tribe (ST) community by making false promises about reservation of Assembly constituencies.
Responding to a statement by Chief Minister Laxmikant Parsekar during a convention in South Goa that BJP would lead a delegation to Delhi demanding reservation of Assembly constituencies for Scheduled Tribes, the Goa Forward Party said the announcement was a "mere eyewash".
"Parsekar made a statement at the convention that he would lead a delegation to Delhi demanding reservation of Assembly constituencies for Scheduled Tribes. This is a pure eyewash as detailed analysis of the issue will show," Goa Forward Party's chief spokesman Prashant Naik said.
"The fact is that if the BJP is serious about doing justice to the STs of Goa, they do not need to put up a show of conventions and delegations, but can do so at the central government level by just promulgating an ordinance, as was done in 2013 by the UPA government," he said.
"Thus the ball is in the court of Parliament where the BJP has a majority, and not the Election Commission of India or the Reorganisation Commission, as has been misstated at various times by BJP leaders as part of their continuous campaign to mislead the ST community," Naik said.
"The Re-adjustment of Representation of SC/ST in Parliamentary and Assembly Constituencies (Third) Ordinance, 2013 issued by the UPA has lapsed. Before this, the UPA government had issued two similar ordinances. Now, it is for the present BJP government to either issue a fresh ordinance or get the law passed in Parliament. Nobody else has the power to move further in the matter in the absence of any statute to this effect," the party said.
Naik said the Election Commission of India (ECI) has already completed the survey before 2013 and identified the constituencies to be reserved for Scheduled Tribes in Goa.
"However, the ECI cannot issue any notification calling for objections, which is the next step in the process, as the ordinance has lapsed and no further action has been taken in the matter by the BJP-led dispensation at the Centre," it said.
Naik said the Goa Forward Party is committed to give representation to the ST community in proportion to their population in the ensuing elections and will field winnable candidates from the ST community.