The Goa Forward Party today threw its weight behind minister Vijai Sardesai, saying there was no need for him to apologise for referring to a section of domestic visitors to the state as the "scum of the earth".
Sardesai, the chief of the Goa Forward Party and state agriculture minister, had last week described a section of domestic tourists visiting Goa as the "scum of the earth" and urged the state to look for "qualitative and not quantitative" improvement in the visitors.
The Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) had demanded an apology from the minister, claiming that his statement was unwarranted and that it had degraded Indians.
"Our (party) president has already clarified that his remarks were regarding those tourists who not only display an absolute disregard for Goa and its culture but also create nuisance and trouble for the peace-loving and tolerant locals, which has led to instances where even their lives have been endangered," he said.
D'Mello added that Sardesai was courageous enough to stand by his statement, despite attempts to portray him as xenophobic by those with "vested interests like the AAP".
"We do not expect them (AAP) to speak up for Goa or Goans as they take orders from their bosses in Delhi and the so- called leaders in Goa are nothing but their vassals," said the leader whose party is an ally in the BJP-led state government.
D'Mello said it was impossible for a party like the Goa Forward to hide behind the "pseudo morality and false ethics" like that of the AAP and added that they could not remain silent over a video purportedly showing a tourist urinating from a bus window on a busy road in Goa that had angered the locals but had no effect on the Arvind Kejriwal-led outfit.
The video had recently gone viral.
"Unlike the AAP, we are a party that was founded to champion the cause of the common Goemkars and we are fearless, unashamed and proud tovoice their anger and frustration," D'Mello said.
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