BJP spokesperson and law commissioner Narendra Sawaikar said, “The agitation is for ‘Dabolim only’ and the chief minister has maintained that Dabolim will stay. So there is no contradiction of any sort. The two ministers have attended the public meeting, and that’s all. Nothing much can be read beyond that. There’s nothing wrong in the ministers attending the public meeting. Anybody can attend public meetings to listen to the speakers’ views. And that’s what the two ministers have done. Whatever has been expressed by the people in the meeting will be conveyed to the government,” Sawaikar said.
BJP state president Vinay Tendulkar affirmed that Saldanha had sought permission from the party before attending the public meeting in Margao. “The forest minister had told us that she would attend the meeting and sit in the audience,” he said.
He also refuted the suggestion that the presence of the two ministers has highlighted a division among the government over the Mopa issue. “There is no division nor would it send any wrong signal as even Avertano had intimated to the chief minister about attending the meeting,” Tendulkar said, when pointedly asked if the presence of the two ministers at the meeting have brought differences on the Dabolim-Mopa issue in the government in the spotlight. He further said the government’s decision has been very clear that it wants both airports for Goa.
BJP will have a discussion on the issue with Parrikar shortly. “Our senior office bearers are out of the state. When they return we will discuss issue with the chief minister,” Tendulkar said.