Maharashtrawadi Gomantak Party MLA Lavoo Mamledar has asserted that bikinis are against Indian culture and, if at all, Goa should have private and paid “bikini beaches”.
"I believe that India will be a superpower only on the basis of its culture and not otherwise. And if we want India to be superpower, then I firmly believe our culture should be protected and preserved," Mr. Mamledar told The Hindu on Saturday justifying his statement on Thursday in the State Assembly demanding private bikini beaches.
Distancing from the “private bikini beach” remarks of Mr. Mamledar, Goa Minister for Tourism Dilip Parulekar said, “Though the MLA is from our alliance partner MGP, his statement on “bikini beaches” is not our (BJP) view and nor our government’s. It is his private view.”
In his speech delivered in Konkani, Mr. Mamledar had demanded that bikinis should be worn only in specially earmarked private beaches and not public beaches.
He said he suggested separate private beaches because he was opposed to “bikini culture” as articulated by one of his party seniors recently. Mr. Mamledar blamed sections of media for putting his statement out of context and wondered if some of them did not understand Konkani or deliberately distorted his statement.
“In fact Goa should have a ‘Bikini Beach’. The government should think of introducing an entry fee of Rs. 2,000 to such a beach enclosure. It will not only increase Goa’s tourism but also government will get revenue,” Mr. Mamledar had said.
Mr. Mamledar's remarks assume significance as his party’s senior MLA and Minister for Public Works Department Ramkrishna Dhavalikar had first triggered a controversy last month when he demanded a ban on bikinis and pub culture in Goa because they were “against Indian culture”.
The opposition Congress, which had accused the BJP-led coalition government of trying to impose restrictions on women, has now wondered if it is using bikinis as a pretext to privatise beaches.
“They are trying to impose restrictions on women by making such statements, and want to curb their freedom. Their real agenda now appears to be to privatise Goa's beaches and make money," Congress spokesperson and Organising Secretary Durgadas Kamat told The Hindu responding to Mr. Mamledar’s latest statement.
Tracing the chronology of statements against bikinis and “pub culture”, from MGP’s all three legislators, one after another, Mr. Kamat said they have been coming since the Modi government took over. Mr. Kamat saw a systematic pattern in this tirade. He demanded that it is time Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar ousted the three-Member MGP from his alliance government in the larger interest of Goa.