Goa’s political scene fizzing like Cola wars of the past: Ex Dy CM

The political fizz erupting in Goa ahead of the 2022 state assembly polls has the makings of Cola wars of the past, according to former Deputy Chief Minister Vijai Sardesai.

Speaking to reporters on Tuesday at the state legislative assembly complex, Sardesai, a sitting MLA and president of the Goa Forward party said that the upcoming election was proving to be a challenge for regional parties who are being swamped out by national parties with massive campaign funding.

Sardesai likened the stand-off between Goan regional parties like the Goa Forward and Maharashtrawadi Gomantak Party and national parties like the AAP, Trinamool Congress, Congress and the BJP to a past era when the entry of Coca Cola in the Goa market in the early 1990s, wiped out the popular local brand Top Cola.

“This prevailing situation is such that even if regional forces come together, you can be subsumed by bigger players. It is like Top Cola versus Coca Cola,” Sardesai told reporters.

“It is panning out like that. Everyone wanted (Erasmo de) Sequeira’s Top Cola. But Top Cola disappeared after Coca Cola arrived (in Goa). We do not want to disappear,” Sardesai said.

Top Cola was the state’s most popular cola before the advent of Coca Cola in the Goa fizzy drink market. Manufactured in Ponda sub district in South Goa, Top Cola was registered as a trademark in 1981 and was synonymous with a cola drink in the state until Coca Cola made a splash in Goa and the rest of the country in the early 1990s, after which the Goa-born cola brand was swamped out of the market.

Goa is heading for polls in early 2022, with several national parties like the ruling BJP, Congress, Aam Aadmi Party and the Trinamool Congress. The Trinamool Congress is making a re-entry into state politics after facing bitter defeats in the 2012 state assembly polls and the general elections in 2014.