The controversy ridden amendment bill to the Panchayat raj act added another dimension with a new forum formed to battle against the draconian bill when the panchayats from Goa announced the formation of the All Goa panchayat Democratic Forum(AGPDF) which warned the government of a full blown agitation in the state if the bill wasn't reverted in a time frame of three weeks.
The forum which met in Panjim , exhorted Goans and the people from South Goa to attend a big public rally in Salcete, to oppose the damaging bill in full force. The date for the rally is expected to be fixed somewhere after the Ganesh festival.
Speaking at he meeting, the President of the forum, Mr Joseph Sequeira said that if the government failed to take cognizance of its demand, then there will be a full fledged agitation which the government of Goa will find difficult to resist. Mr Sequeira also lambasted the various MLAs for making baseless statements against the Sarpanchas, as a means to push in the amendment bill
Other speakers who spoke on the occasion were Soter Dsouza who called for unity among the panchayats and compared the government to the British who tried to play the game of divide and rule.Thalmann Pereira revealed how a select committee and ad-hoc committee reports differed on the rights of the panchayats and urged the panchayats to pass resolutions opposing the amendment. Former convenor of Goa Bachao Abhiyan(GBA) , Mr Oscar rebello recollected the victories of the Goan people in fighting issues such as the Regional Plan 2011, SEZs etc and said that it is time the gram sabhas of Goa took this issue also to be defeated through an unified action.
Prajal Sakhardande, the well known historian reminded the people about the day August 20 2009 as being the birthday of the late Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi whose vision of panchayati raj in Goa was being strangulated by this amendment. Also speaking on the occasion were convenor of GBA Sabina Martins, Cansaulim Sarpanch Basil Fernandes, Rachol Sarpanch Joseph vaz and others.