PONDA: Despite the arrest of several Congress leaders, Goa Congress senior leader Girish Chodankar led a protest of Congress office bearers and workers against the betrayal of the Mhadei river case by the BJP leadership, including Union Home Minister Amit Shah and Goa CM Pramod Sawant, at the Ponda bus stand, meters away from the venue where Shah addressed a public meeting on Sunday evening.
Flanked by Goa Pradesh Youth Congress Joel Andrade, NSUI President Naushad Chawdari, PCC General Secretaries Vijay Bhike, Rajesh Verenkar, Manisha Usganokar, North District President Virendra Shirodkar, block presidents, and other workers, Chodankar said, “We Goans are feeling ashamed today. The BJP leadership led by Shah has betrayed us in the Mhadei case for a Karnataka election. These elections will come and go. How can Shah and the Goa BJP leadership betray our mother and finish our future? These people attending the meeting today should have stood with the people of Goa irrespective of their political affiliations and asked questions that matter to Shah. At this rate, the people of Goa will die of thirst. Then we will have no people, government, Congress, or BJP. We will all die.”
PCC GS Manisha Usgaonkar said, “When Shah went to Belgaum, he gave the Mhadei verdict in favor of Karnataka, with the blessings of the Goa BJP leadership. Did he not think of the people of Goa when we made that statement? Perhaps he thought Goa and Goans had only two seats.”
PCC GS Vijay Bhike said, “We have been asking questions to save our Mhadei river. The security personnel has blocked our party workers from coming to this venue to ask questions. To the people attending the public meeting today, I want to ask you one question – Who and what is more significant for you? Is it Amit Shah or our river Mhadei?”
North DCC President Virendra Shirodkar said, “Ruling MLAs are already struggling to provide water to their constituencies. Imagine what the state of rest Goa is. On the other hand, the BJP leadership is selling us Goans in the Mhadei case. We will continue to question the BJP leadership till we get answers.”
Others who attended the protest include PCC GSs Vijay Bhike, Rajesh Verenkar, Manisha Usganokar, North District President Virendra Shirodkar, Goa Pradesh Youth Congress Joel Andrade, NSUI President Naushad Chawdari, South Goa Youth President Mahesh Nadar, Meghashaym Raut, Lourenco Silveira, Jayesh Patil, Atul Naik, Pradeep Harmalkar, Pranav Parab, Nazir Beig, Manoj Naik, Krishna Nene, and Pramesh Mayenkar.
Meanwhile, several Congress leaders, including PCC GSs Pradip Naik, Shrinivas Khalap, Mahila President Beena Naik, and Vasco Block president Melvin Fernandes were detained at the Farmagudi junction while another group of leaders, including PCC president Amit Patkar, GSs Everson Vales, Moreno Rebello, Viriato Fernandes, and South Goa President Savio D’Silva were detained much before they could even reach the venue. Earlier in the day, Congress media cell chief Amarnath House was placed under house arrest.