Panaji: The Congress today demanded special status for the coastal state, claiming that it has unique culture and identity.
"We should get special status which will get the finances for the state," Goa Pradesh Congress Committee President Luizinho Faleiro said. "Congress party will pursue dream of Goa for special category status," he added.
Faleiro said the state needs special status right now as its economy is going through a financial meltdown. The Congress chief recalled that country's first Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru was a great friend of Goans.
"He (Nehru) has always said Goans have distinct culture and it should be protected," he said. "If we had to demand or ask during Nehru's time for a special category status, Goans would have easily got it. But that time the agenda of our senior leaders was different," Faleiro said referring to then ruling Maharashtrawadi Gomantak Party (MGP) who had held opinion poll taking mandate of the people whether to let Goa remain an independent state or merge with Maharashtra.
"Party then in power (MGP) had agenda that Goa should be merged with Maharashtra. Our then leaders had to channelise their entire strength to save Goa from merging with Maharashtra," he added.
"As far as lands are concerned, it is up to the Goa government to enact laws and protect land of the state," he added. The ruling BJP which had mentioned giving special status to Goa as a part of their 2012 assembly poll manifesto has now said such a status will not be possible.