With his senior Minister Ramkrishna Dhavlikar in the dock for opposition to bikini, pub-culture and support to Sri Ram Sene chief Pramod Muthalik, Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar on Wednesday blamed the media for “distortions and giving different versions” and claimed that he was satisfied with the version the Minister gave to him.
Replying to a question whether he sought an explanation from his senior Minister from alliance partner MGP, Mr. Parrikar at his cabinet briefing at the State Secretariat lashed out at the media for the controversy and said he cannot stop people including a Minister from voicing their opinions.
“Why are you creating such a ruckus? Government has not made any statement. Everything is running very smoothly in Goa. The press seems to be confused,” said an agitated Mr. Parrikar.
He clarified that there is no question of banning bikinis on beaches, and there is no question of banning pubs.
He expected people to be sensitive enough about their dress not to hurt sensibilities when they go to temples and churches. Secondly, he said the government will not certainly allow drinking in the open like on beaches which is known to invite problem of litter and nuisance in public leading to problems of law and order.
However, earlier in the day, Mr. Francisco de Bracanca, president of Travel and Tourism Association of Goa (TTAG), body representing hospitality and travel described the statements of the Minister as “outrageous, uncalled for” and warned that such outrageous statements by Ministers would drive foreign tourists away from Goa.
“On one hand the government is promoting tourism abroad and on the other its own Minister is driving away tourists and destroying efforts of Tourism,” he said. He asserted that people and tourists have right to choose their lifestyle.
Goa Minister for Tourism Dilip Parulekar said he can understand the Minister’s sentiments (on issues like bikini), but they have to be restricted to visits to Churches and temples.
“Tourists come here to enjoy, they know their responsibilities,” said the Minister as he ruled out any restrictions on pubs, etc.
Independent MLA Caetano Silva from the ruling side said,” You cannot wear a “saree” or a “chudidar” while going for a swim, can you?”