If the BJP returns to power, IIT Bombay graduate Manohar Parikkar (56), a protégé of the late Pramod Mahajan, will be the main contender for the CM’s post. It was Mahajan who brought this small-time entrepreneur to politics in the 1990s. Illegal mining and under-development are the issues that the former Goa CM has taken up this time.
What are main issues you want to highlight in the March polls?
Corruption and under-development are key issues. People are fed up with the current, corrupt regime. The state needs a change for the better. Not a major infrastructure project came up in the past few years. All are in the race to loot the state.
Mining remains a festering wound?
Mining is a major issue. Come what may, illegal mining has to go. Those who allowed it should be dealt with ruthlessly. If mindless mining goes on, the state will be a desert soon. Crores of rupees have been siphoned off and people who suffered pollution and water depletion have not got anything in return. At least half the mining revenue will be spent on the affected areas to improve infrastructure.
People say Goa's mining barons got their first lessons from Karnataka.
It is not true. In Goa mining was there since the late 1960s. Things worsened in the past six years or so. In comparison to Bellary, the magnitude and destruction levels are quite high here. CM Digambar Kamat has been handling the mining portfolio for more than a decade. He has to be exposed.
Are you in favour of a blanket ban on mining?
We are not against mining and there is no need to ban it. We have to check illegal units. In five taluks, at least 40,000 people are directly or indirectly involved in this activity. We don't want to render them jobless one fine morning. If it is accounted properly and continues without damaging the environment, it is ok with us. A blanket ban is no answer to the problem.
Is the BJP in the driver's seat?
The BJP will come to power with a two-thirds majority this time and end the long instability in the state. People have realised the need for stability, which plays a catalytic role in development. It is for the party and MLAs to decide who will be their leader. As of now I can only say I am one of the contenders.