Goa Forward Party

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Goa Forward Party
LeaderVijai Sardesai[1]
PresidentVijai Sardesai[1]
FounderChaitanya Bhaje
Founded25 January 2016; 8 years ago (2016-01-25)
ECI StatusState Party (Goa)
NDA (2017–2019)[2]
Seats in Goa Legislative Assembly
2 / 40
Election symbol
Indian election symbol Coconut.svg

Goa Forward Party (abbr. GFP) is a regional political party in the western coastal Indian state of Goa, led by Vijai Sardesai. The GFP fielded four candidates in the 2017 Goa Assembly election and won three seats. It played a crucial, if controversial, role in the return of the Bharatiya Janata Party to power in the March 2017 election results in Goa.[4][5] The party's motto is "Goem, Goemkar, Goemkarponn" (Goa, Goans and Goan ethos).[6] The party was launched on 25 January 2016[7] and its symbol is the coconut.[8]


Former party president Prabhakar Timble in 1998

The Goa Forward Party was launched on 25 January 2016 with Prabhakar Timble as its President, Dr. Renuka Da Silva as the Vice President and Mohandas Lolienkar as the state secretary of the party under the guidance of then Independent MLA Vijai Sardesai.[7] The party was launched as an alternative to the national political parties and inclusive development while retaining Goemkarponn (Goan ethos).[9] In a press conference held to announce the launching of the party, then President Prabhakar Timble had stated that the party would be ready to ally with any other political parties except the Bharatiya Janata Party. In the initial days of its formation, the Goa Forward Party was a vocal critic[10] of the Bharatiya Janata Party and its campaign for the 2017 Goa Legislative Assembly election was majorly based on the anti-BJP plank.[11] To oust the BJP from power was among the party's main priorities[12] when it was launched.

The first protest by the party along with other opposition parties was held on 27 January 2016 opposing cutting down of coconut trees to make way for the red category[13][14] beer factory by Vani Agro Farms Private Ltd. at Amdai in Sanguem.[15] The party later organised a protest march in the form of a Maad Yatra (Coconut tree march) to protest against the Goa Preservation of Trees (Amendment) Act, 2016 which was passed by the Goa Legislative Assembly.[16][17][18]

In April 2021, the GFP left the BJP led NDA. President Vijai Sardesai cited multiple reasons for leaving the alliance and "alleged that BJP’s only mission in Goa is transportation of coal and handing it over to private company".[19]

Political leadership[edit]

The Goa Forward Party during its launch contained no popular politicians but since its inception, the party referred to the three independent MLAs Vijai Sardesai, Rohan Khaunte and Naresh Sawal as 'mentors'.[20] The three MLAs initially backed the party[21][22][23][24] while Sardesai and Khaunte participated in the protests[16] organised by the party too.

Many members of the Bharatiya Janata Party[25] and the Indian National Congress[26][27] gradually joined the party. While cricketer Shadab Jakati formally joined[28][29] the party, cardiologist like Dr. Francisco Colaco[30] campaigned[31][32] for the party.

Subsequently, Naresh Sawal disassociated himself[33][34] from the party, joining the M. G. Party and unsuccessfully[35][36] contesting the 2017 Assembly elections from the Bicholim constituency as a M. G. Party candidate. Rohan Khaunte successfully[37] contested the 2017 Assembly elections as an independent candidate[38][39] from the Porvorim constituency.[40] He was supported by the Indian National Congress.[41]

Vijai Sardesai joined the party on 16 January 2017[42] and successfully[43] contested the 2017 Assembly elections from the Fatorda constituency as the party's candidate.

2017 Assembly elections[edit]

The Goa Forward Party initially expressed the need of an alliance to counter the Bharatiya Janata Party[44] but all efforts[45] to forge an alliance between the party and the Indian National Congress failed.[46][47][48][49] Vijai Sardesai blamed the Goa Pradesh Congress Committee's President Luizinho Faleiro for the failure to form an alliance.[50] The party declared its support[51] to the independent candidate Edwin alias Cipru Souza who unsuccessfully contested the 2017 Assembly elections from the Navelim constituency against Luizinho Faleiro. The Indian National Congress accused that the Goa Forward Party was funded by the Bharatiya Janata Party.[52]

Manifesto and agenda in 2017 elections[edit]

In the run-up to the 2017 elections, Goa Forward said its "vision" was a "developed Goa, happy Goans". It also spelt out what is said was its mission ("empowered Goans"), motto ("Our Goa, Our Centre, Our Culture") and objective (to "protect [the] Goan identity").[53]

It listed[53] its promises as:

  • Setting up of an Employment Promotion Board.
  • 80% jobs to local youth.
  • Abolish the Madhya Pradesh Sound Pollution Act and legislate "our" (i.e. one of Goa's) own.
  • Affordable pricing of fish, rice, coconut and pão (local bread).
  • Zero-tolerance to the drug trade.
  • Free WiFi across Goa.
  • To legislate new laws to fulfil the dream of special status for Goa.
  • To build Goan partnership in the tourism and mining sectors.
  • "Denationalisation" of Goan rivers.

Being a new local party, contesting elections for the first time, the Goa Forward also came up with local, constituency-wise "priorities" of its contestants. For example, in Saligao assembly constituency, its candidate Jayesh Salgaonkar had a list of some 25 one-line "top priorities" ranging from traffic congestion at Verem, employment for local youth in government enterprise and tourism, promoting rural employment for the SC/ST/OBC communities, taking the benefits of government schemes to the local underprivileged, guaranteeing assistance to those whose lands are acquired by the government (through employment, market price and support to their occupation), connecting internal areas of Saligao by public transport, etc.[53]

Other promises made to this constituency include connecting every home to an effective sewerage network; door-to-door garbage collection and making Saligao garbage and plastic free; beautifying open spaces in the constituency; encouraging sports including traditional games and yoga; setting up special day centres for senior citizens; tackling the street-dog "menace" through NGO intervention by scientific methods; a morgue and hearse van facility in the constituency; green hubs with support from the Horticulture Corporation; hawker zones for "inclusive development"; showcasing heritage spaces and houses; a 24x7 helpline for Saligao residents in distress; office with staff to settle citizen grievances; dedicated fish and veg markets in all villages; community halls at "select locations"; gardens and children's parks in all villages with joggers' parks at select locations; development of Coco and Quegdevelim beaches (Nerul); football grounds at Reis Magos, Saligao and Guirim; upgradation of grounds at Sangolda, Pilerne and Nerul; and facilitating water harvesting.[53]

The party's 24-point programme promised free water to each household, free power for agriculture, free WiFi access, affordable housing, day-care centres for seniors and children, and fish-coconut-bread at affordable prices. Goa Forward promised to bring the coconut under the Goa Preservation of Trees Act and pledged to declare the coconut as the State Tree.[54] Its party symbol has been the coconut, over which there was a major controversy in Goa in recent years with the BJP government making the important local tree easier to be felled under the law.

Goa Forward contested only four of the total forty seats of the Goa Legislative Assembly. The party's President Prabhakar Timble stated that the party had contested in only four constituencies in order to prevent division of the non-Bharatiya Janata Party votes.[55] The party contested in the Fatorda, Velim, Saligao and Siolim constituencies.[56] The party emerged victorious in all three constituencies except Velim.[57] While Jayesh Salgaonkar in Saligao and Vinoda Paliencar in Siolim defeated the Bharatiya Janata Party's political heavyweights[58][59][60][61] Dilip Parulekar and Dayanand Mandrekar respectively, Vijai Sardesai retained his Fatorda seat.[62]

Government formation[edit]

The results of the 2017 Goa Assembly election gave rise to a hung assembly since no political party could achieve a complete majority of 21 in the 40 member Goa Legislative Assembly. The Indian National Congress emerged the single largest party with 17 seats but ultimately, the Bharatiya Janata Party which emerged victorious in 13 constituencies formed the government with the support of the Goa Forward Party, Maharashtrawadi Gomantak Party and independents.[63] The Goa Forward Party expressed its support to the Bharatiya Janata Party on the condition that the then Union Defence Minister of India Manohar Parrikar would return to Goa as the Chief Minister of Goa.[64]

Party's supremo[65] Vijai Sardesai justified his decision by stating that the Indian National Congress party as well as the Goa Pradesh Congress Committee President Luizinho Faleiro had ditched him before.[66] He stated that the BJP in Goa was different[67] from that of the national BJP and that the government would work according to a common minimum programme.[66] Vijai Sardesai claimed that he would act as a watchdog of Geomkarponn (Goanness) in the government[66][68] and that he had supported the BJP-led government for stability and development.[69]

The Goa Forward Party President Prabhakar Timble resigned as the President and subsequently as the primary member[70] of the party after Sardesai and the other two party MLAs accorded their support towards formation of the BJP-led government in Goa.[71][72] The party and its supremo Vijai Sardesai[73] were heavily criticised for joining the government led by Manohar Parrikar. At a largely attended protest meet on 18 March 2017 at Margao's Lohia Maidan, Sardesai was condemned by many for supporting the Bharatiya Janata Party government led by Manohar Parrikar.[74][75][76][77]

On 14 March 2017, the government led by Manohar Parrikar was sworn in. All three MLAs of the party was included in the cabinet. Vijai Sardesai was given the portfolios of Town & Country Planning and Agriculture.[78] Jayesh Salgaonkar[79] was allotted the portfolios of Housing and Rural Development Agency, while[78] Vinoda Paliencar was allotted the Water Resources Department and Fisheries portfolios.[78][80]

Post government formation, some office bearers of the Goa Forward Party were also nominated to head some government corporations and institutions. Then party-president Dr. Renuka da Silva was appointed as the Chairperson of the South Goa Planning and Development Authority.[81] The party's Chief Spokesperson[82] Prashant Naik was appointed the Chairman of the Ravindra Bhavan at Fatorda.[83] Party's Senior Vice President Monica Dias was appointed the Chairperson of the Goa Khadi and Village Industries Board,[84][85] but she could not complete her term as she died on 31 July 2017.[86] The Town and Country Planning Board was reconstituted to be headed by Vijai Sardesai and Goa Forward's Treasurer[87] Suraj Lotlikar was appointed as a member of the Board.[88]

Party leadership[edit]

After Prabhakar Timble's resignation as the President of the party and from the primary membership as well, Vice President Dr. Renuka da Silva was appointed as the President of the party.[89][90] Subsequently, Dr. Renuka da Silva was appointed as the Chairperson of the South Goa Planning and Development Authority.[81] Former Congress Organisation Secretary Shri.Durgadas Kamat joined Goa Forward Party on 31 May 2016 and was appointed as the Vice President & Spokesperson of the Party.

On 12 July 2017, she was relieved from the position of the President as per her request.[91] Vijai Sardesai took over as the new President of the Party. Jayesh Salgaonkar was appointed as the in-charge of the party's youth wing , Vinoda Paliencar was made in-charge of the OBC wing.Shri.Raj Malik was appointed as the Youth President and Adv Ashma Sayed was appointed as Women Forward President [92]

External links[edit]


  2. "Goa Forward takes a big leap, joins NDA".
  3. "Goa Forward alleges Milind Naik involved in test-fixing | Goa News - Times of India". The Times of India.
  4. Sequeira, Devika. "Goa Forward Fast-Forwards BJP Move to Upend State Verdict as Parrikar Reclaims Power". thewire.in. The Wire. Retrieved 12 March 2017.
  5. D'Mello, Pamela. "Goa election 2017: As BJP stakes claim, anger among supporters of regional party that allied with it". scroll.in. The Scroll. Retrieved 12 March 2017.
  6. "Parrikar ready to scrap amendment derecognising coconut palm: Vijai". The Navhind Times.
  7. 7.0 7.1 "New political party 'Goa Forward' launched".
  8. http://eci.nic.in/eci_main/ElectoralLaws/OrdersNotifications/year2017/Letter%20dated%2028.09.16%20Para10B.pdf
  9. "new regional party GOA FORWARD launched in goa. - Goan Reporter".
  10. http://www.uniindia.com/goa-forward-to-sensitise-people-on-anti-goan-policies-of-bjp-govt/other/news/649231.html
  11. "'Goa Forward' Vows To Walk the Talk".
  12. http://www.goanews.com/blogs_disp.php?bpid=1071
  13. "Villagers seek setting up of proposed Sanguem beer factory elsewhere - The Navhind Times".
  14. http://www.heraldgoa.in/Goa/Govt-says-cheers-to-red-category-Vani-Agro-beer-factory-/100066.html
  15. http://www.goanews.com/news_disp.php?newsid=6764
  16. 16.0 16.1 "Hundreds turn up for Maad Yatra".
  17. http://www.goanews.com/news_disp.php?newsid=6905
  18. Correspondent, Special (23 February 2016). "'Delisting coconut from conservation Act can destroy Goa'". The Hindu.
  19. Vaktania, Saurabh. "Goa Forward Party withdraws from BJP-led National Democratic Alliance". India Today. Retrieved 15 April 2021.
  21. http://www.goanews.com/news_disp.php?newsid=6756
  22. "For Goa Forward, King is Cong?".
  23. "If we allow 2017 to be about political deals, Goa is finished".
  24. "No political party is contesting the elections on Goemkarponn".
  25. "Senior BJP members join Goa Forward Party in droves".
  26. "Monica joins Goa Forward Party - Times of India". The Times of India.
  27. "Congress youth brigade joins Goa Forward party".
  28. "Cricketer Shadab Jakati makes his political debut, joins Goa Forward party - Latest News & Updates at Daily News & Analysis". 23 July 2016.
  29. "Cricketer Shadab Jakati joins Goa Forward - Times of India". The Times of India.
  30. 10, Goan Observer TeamDecember; 2016 (10 December 2016). "WHY VOTE FOR GOA FORWARD".{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: numeric names: authors list (link)
  31. 10, Goan Observer TeamDecember; 2016 (10 December 2016). "DR COLACO LAUNCHES GOA FORWARD VELIM OFFICE".{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: numeric names: authors list (link)
  32. D'Mello, Pamela. "Goa's 'legally legitimate but morally illegitimate government': Anger in state as BJP stakes claim".
  33. http://www.goanews.com/news_disp.php?newsid=7459
  34. "Sawal no longer mentor of Goa Forward Party - The Navhind Times".
  35. "Lobo likely to be deputy speaker - Times of India". The Times of India.
  36. https://www.heraldgoa.in/Goa/North-Goa/MGP-The-lair-is-shrinking-for-the-lion/113385.html
  37. "Rohan Khaunte wins in Porvorim with 7534 votes. He is an independent".
  38. http://www.heraldgoa.in/Goa/Did-MoI-issue-force-Khaunte-to-go-solo/110588.html
  39. "Rohan Khaunte to contest as independent in Porvorim - Times of India". The Times of India.
  40. "Rohan Khaunte creates history, becomes first independent to retain seat - Times of India". The Times of India.
  41. "Congress to contest on 36 seats in Goa, leaves 4 for others". Press Trust of India. 18 January 2017 – via Business Standard.
  42. http://www.prudentmedia.in/politics/its-official-vijai-joins-goa-forward.html
  43. "Fatorda Election Results 2017: Vijai Sardesai of Goa Forward Party Wins". 11 March 2017.
  44. "Impossible to oust BJP in Goa if other parties don't tie-up: Goa Forward". Press Trust of India. 25 May 2016.
  45. http://www.ptinews.com/news/8311215_Cong-locked-in-a-seat-sharing-tussle-with-Goa-Forward.htmll
  46. "Goa Forward Party accuses Congress of 'backstabbing'".
  47. "Nothing formal about Congress-Goa Forward Party alliance: Vijai Sardesai - Times of India". The Times of India.
  48. "Congress fails to hold on to alliance with Goa Forward Party - Times of India". The Times of India.
  49. "Goa Forward Fast-Forwards BJP Move to Upend State Verdict as Parrikar Reclaims Power". The Wire. Retrieved 5 December 2021.
  50. "Vijai Sardesai: Faleiro to blame for failed GFP-Cong alliance - Times of India". The Times of India.
  51. https://www.heraldgoa.in/Goa/GF-openly-backs-Cipru-to-damage-Luizinho-in-Navelim/111048.html
  52. "Goa Forward is funded by BJP, says Congress".
  53. 53.0 53.1 53.2 53.3 Goal 2017. Vote for Coconut. Truly Goan Party. Truly Goan Symbol (election Symbol, Saligao Constituency, 2017 Elections). Saligao: Goa Forward, 2017. Print. Two page, colour pamphlet of the Goa Forward party, circulated prior to the 2017 elections, in Saligao constituency, seeking the election of Jayesh Salgaonkar, ex-Chairman of the North Goa Zilla Panchayat and Candidate of the Goa Forward for Saligao.
  54. Goanews Desk. "'Goa Forward' floated, to oust BJP, even by 'sacrificing' own programme". Goanews.com. Prabhudesai, Sandesh. Retrieved 13 March 2017.
  55. "Goa Elections 2017: Goa Forward to contest four seats to prevent division of non-BJP votes - Latest News & Updates at Daily News & Analysis". 18 January 2017.
  56. "Goa Forward will perform a miracle in polls: Timble - The Navhind Times".
  57. "Goa election results 2017: Full list of constituencies and winning candidates". 9 March 2017.
  58. "BJP big daddies are in a coast of discomfort in Pernem, Mandrem and Siolim".
  59. "Parrikar makes ghar wapsi as he sworn-in as Goa CM - Rediff.com India News".
  60. "Govind Gawade is the tribal face of the ministry. He - Latest News & Updates at Daily News & Analysis". 14 March 2017.
  61. "Will never join BJP: Jayesh Salgaocar".
  62. "Goa election results 2017: Full list of winners".
  63. "Goa Election 2017: Manohar Parrikar resigns as defence minister, to be sworn-in as CM at 5 pm Tuesday". 13 March 2017.
  64. "Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar Likely To Return To Goa As Chief Minister".
  65. "Cong lays down terms for Fatorda pullout".
  66. 66.0 66.1 66.2 D'Mello, Pamela. "'Congress has ditched me twice before': Vijai Sardesai of Goa Forward explains why he has backed BJP". scroll.in.
  67. "Goa BJP Little Different Than National BJP: Vijay Sardesai". prudentmedia.in.
  68. "Parrikar ready to scrap amendment derecognising coconut palm: Vijai – The Navhind Times". navhindtimes.in.
  69. "Aligned with BJP for stability and development: Vijai". heraldgoa.in.
  70. "Prabhakar Timble resigns as member Goa Forward Party - Times of India". The Times of India.
  71. "Timble resigns as GF chief". heraldgoa.in.
  72. "GFP president Prabhakar Timble resigns – Times of India". indiatimes.com.
  73. 18, Tara NarayanMarch; 2017 (18 March 2017). "VIJAI SARDESAI BLASTED IN SOCIAL MEDIA".{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: numeric names: authors list (link)
  74. "Vijai draws severe criticism over support to BJP".
  75. "Minister Vijai faces protest meet #1".
  76. "MLAs who betrayed voters must resign: Lohia Maidan meet - Times of India". The Times of India.
  77. "Vijai in line of fire at Margao meet".
  78. 78.0 78.1 78.2 "Vishwajit gets health; panchayat goes to Mauvin - The Navhind Times".
  79. https://www.goa.gov.in/ministers/shri-jayesh-salgaonkar/
  80. "Goa portfolios announced: GFP's Vijai Sardesai gets Town & Country planning, MGP's Sudin Dhavalikar gets PWD". 20 March 2017.
  81. 81.0 81.1 http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/goa/goa-forward-president-to-head-sgpda/articleshow/59060028.cms
  82. http://www.heraldgoa.in/Goa/Goa-Forward-backs-MMC-chief-to-end-extortion-racket/104056.html
  83. https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/goa/new-ravindra-bhavan-council-takes-charge/articleshow/59431709.cms
  84. http://digitalgoa.com/monica-dias-appointed-chairperson-of-khadi-board/
  85. http://www.navhindtimes.in/outburst-by-mgp-pays-off-party-gets-khadi-board/
  86. http://www.navhindtimes.in/monica-dias-passes-away/
  87. https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/goa/congress-eyes-gfp-man-for-vijay-in-rs-poll/articleshow/59519577.cms
  88. http://digitalgoa.com/tcp-board-reconstituted/
  89. http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/goa/renuka-dsilva-is-the-new-president-of-goa-forward-party/articleshow/57746647.cms
  90. http://www.heraldgoa.in/Goa/Timble-quits-GF-primary-membership/112961.html
  91. http://digitalgoa.com/vijai-sardesai-appointed-goa-forward-party-president/
  92. http://www.prudentmedia.in/politics/goa-forward-president-vijay-sardesai-for-goemkarponn.html
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