Opposition to DefExpo 2016 political: Goa CM

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Panaji, March 11 (IANS) Goa Chief Minister Laxmikant Parsekar on Friday hit out at critics of the DefExpo 2016, scheduled to be held in the state later this month, terming the opposition “political”.

“The four-day DefExpo about which there was hue and cry in the beginning, probably (because) we are at the fag end of the political term… But luckily, the government overcame all these noises.

“I would say misconceptions about DefExpo and the opposition voices have come down, almost neutralized,” said Parsekar at a function organised by the Goa chapter of the Confederation of Indian Industries (CII).

Traditionally held in the national capital, the DefExpo 2016 is scheduled to be held in the coastal state’s Betul village this year in last week of March, because a new convention centre is being built at the Pragati Maidan in New Delhi.

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However, the DefExpo 2016, which is the ninth in the series of biennial Land, Naval and Internal Homeland Security Systems Exhibitions organised by the defence ministry, has drawn opposition from the central government’s opponents as well as a section of the civil society over the allocation of six lakh square metres of land at Betul.

The project’s critics claim there has been no transparency in the decision-making which led to the relocation of the event to Betul, located 45 km from Panaji.

The chief minister, however, blamed the political opposition for trying to step up unwarranted criticism of his government with elections to the Goa legislative assembly just a year away.

“This is the last year and this is a government which did not have any malpractices on its record before going to elections,” he said.

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“For people in opposition and dreaming of coming to power in the future, the image of clean government was always a hurdle and hindrance their path and therefore every little thing is being opposed these days,” he added.

Newly appointed chairman of the Goa CII Shekhar Sardesai also said the DefExpo 2016 was a terrific opportunity to build ‘Brand Goa’ and that those speaking against the project were “chronic naysayers”.

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