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'Dirty Tricks' After I Was Made AAP's CM Face in Goa: Elvis Gomes

File photo of Elvis Gomes.

File photo of Elvis Gomes.

AAP National Convenor and Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal has announced former Goa's Inspector General of Prison Elvis Gomes as party's chief ministerial candidate for the upcoming state Legislative Assembly election.

Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) National Convenor and Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal announced former Goa's Inspector General of Prison Elvis Gomes as party's chief ministerial candidate for the upcoming state Legislative Assembly election.

In an exclusive interview with CNN-News18's Rupashree Nanda Elvis shared his views from bureaucracy to politics.

How difficult it was to quit the state civil services and taking a big decision of joining politics? Transition pangs from bureaucracy into politics?
Elvis Gomes: Not difficult. I had put in 20 years. I had made up my mind to quit after realising that the administration works for relations of the CM's and ministers. I have seen politics, but being into it directly did take some time to sink in.

What are the reasons for taking the political plunge and more specifically - joining AAP?
Elvis Gomes: It was an option. I have been in public service and could still be in it from a different level to make a difference. BJP and Congress in Goa are just the same and their misrule has affected the lives of ordinary Goans. AAP represents the future in this country which is reeling under the weight of misdeeds of BJP and Congress.

Critics of Arvind Kejriwal accuse him of being an autocrat - did this play on your mind when you took the decision to join AAP?
Elvis Gomes: No, I didn't want to join with such prejudices.

Did you expect to be AAP's CM face or was there an element of surprise?
Elvis Gomes: It came as a surprise to me. I joined the party to serve the people. Never thought of any plum post. I thank the party that has found me worthy.

In the course of your career spanning over two decades, which have been your most significant and memorable assignments and achievements?
Elvis Gomes: Have held key positions in Tourism, Ports, Sports, Urban Development and Prisons. Achievements have been many. The last posting in prisons has been memorable for the success in introducing reforms that have changed the prisons to correction homes.

In the current dispensation, do you feel that it is really hard for a civil servant to work honestly and serve the interest of the public?
Elvis Gomes: Yes it is. One must in the first instance, learn to serve private interest of ministers to survive.

You were denied your place by the state for promotion into the IAS cadre - obviously, this was a blow for you, so much that it led you to quit the services. Why, according to you, was your name not at the top of the list?
Elvis Gomes: They (the CM's) were obsessed with officers who were ranked much below in seniority and somehow wanted to ensure their promotion into IAS. It was later revealed that they were relations of the so called powerful ministers. After being senior for 18 years, in the 19th year, 3 of us were pushed down citing some ridiculous reason. They hurriedly got them inducted when the matter was being finally heard by the High Court. By the time the verdict came in my favour, castigating the government, the damage was done. Though I was getting inducted in August 2016, I thought honour was more important and put in my papers.

Taking on the Government is difficult; having been a civil servant makes it more complicated. What was your experience while doing so?
Elvis Gomes: Many suffer in silence. I am not from among those. I fought and handsomely won. The judgement said it all. But they are shameless in their acts of nepotism.

Corruption charges have been leveled against you in case of a purported land scam? What do you have to say about that?
Elvis Gomes: That bogus FIR was registered when they got wind of my resignation. I have already filed a criminal writ in the High Court challenging the FIR. Now, after AAP projected me as the CM candidate, I have received summons from the ACB. This is no coincidence. It is to cause harassment and distract. They release half-baked stories to the media. The dirty tricks won't work against me.

Now, that you have joined the AAP and are it's CM face, do you apprehend more cases to be filed against you?
Elvis Gomes: Not ruled out. They have a history of doing such things.

AAP is a new force in Goa. There's the BJP, the Congress, MGM, GVP, SS, NCP, many independents... how realistic are AAP's chances, in terms of number of seats and possibility of forming the Government?
Elvis Gomes: These days, Goa is only speaking AAP. The disenchantment with the BJP is visible. Our prospects are very good.

What are the most important issues that you would be raising in this election vis-a vis the BJP and the Congress?
Elvis Gomes: Honest and clean candidates who are all new faces, Misrule, U-turns by the BJP, growing number of casinos, bad image of the state as the capital of gambling, drugs, sex, unemployment etc.

What is AAP’s stand on mining, a big issue in Goa? What do you have to say about the steps taken by the BJP against those involved in the mining scam?
Elvis Gomes: Sustainable mining with caps on extraction of ore. BJP played it to the gallery when in the opposition. Now they have joined hands with those perpetrators of illegal mining. No action worth its name has been taken against anyone.

How do you propose to protect the interest of the citizen and environment against the interests of the powerful builder lobby? How will your regional plan for Goa be different?
Elvis Gomes: Our governance will be people centric. Environment will be our priority. RP that was drafted by reputed town planner Edgar Ribeiro will be looked at and finalised. I am told it is one of the best works.

In case of a hung assembly, are you open to alliances with other parties? With independents?
Elvis Gomes: There will not be a hung assembly. People will hang them first.

What are the biggest challenges for you and your party in Goa ahead of elections?
Elvis Gomes: Black Money and muscle power of these traditional parties that have made slaves of some voters, misuse of official machinery.
first published:December 24, 2016, 15:27 IST