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MERGER CONFLICT: Legislative or people ?

Goa Opinion Poll

MERGER CONFLICT: Legislative or people ?

The Congress Government in New Delhi, under the leadership of Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru decided to conduct an Opinion Poll to decide on the verdict of the people, whether in favour or against the merger. However before the Parliament could approve the matter, Nehru expired and the decision was left to the next Prime Minister, Lal Bahadur Shastri who took over the mantle of Prime Ministership from Nehru.

A delegation of the MGP under the leadership of Bandodkar and leaders of State of Maharashtra met Shastri and placed before him their claims for the merger of Goa with Maharashtra. With that Dayanand B. Bandodkar would become the first and last Chief Minister of Goa.

Dr. Sequeira with AICC President Kamaraj

Congress ministers and members of the Maharashtra Assembly tried to convince Shastri, that a vote on the merger issue should be conducted in the Legislative Assembly, which enjoyed the presence of 16 MGP MLAs as against UGPís l2 MLAs. Daman was represented by a Congressman and Diu had an independent elected from there.

The All India Congress Committee meet was held in Bangalore and it was here that the UGP President, Dr. Jack de Sequeira and others met Lal Bahadur Shastri and the AICC President Kamaraj. A memorandum was presented to Kamaraj, expressing strong opposition to the Legislators deciding the fate of the Union Territory and that the people must be given the right to decide. An Opinion Poll of the people must be held, so that Goa, Daman and Diu could seek a popular mandate from all its citizens for right to self-determination, as a separate entity, the memorandum stated.

Most of the Karnataka leaders, Members of Parliament and ministers accepted the UGP proposal for an Opinion Poll to be conducted amongst the people. At the Bangalore AICC meet, schisms developed wherein the other States in India, except Maharashtra decided that Goa must seek the verdict of the people, on whether to merge with Maharashtra or remain a separate entity. However, the Bangalore meet failed to arrive on a final decision and it was decided to keep the matter in abeyance, to be taken up at an appropriate time.

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