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Goa’s ‘Opinion Poll Day’

Topics Covered:

  1. Post-independence consolidation and reorganization within the country.

 

Goa’s ‘Opinion Poll Day’

 

What to study?

For Prelims and Mains: Opinion Poll Day- historical background and significance.

 

Context: Goa celebrated its 52nd ‘Asmitai Dis’ (Identity Day) or Opinion Poll Day on January 16.

 

Significance of the day:

It was on this date in 1967 that Goans voted against merging with Maharashtra and chose to remain a Union Territory. Though referred to as an ‘opinion poll’, the vote was in fact a plebiscite.

 

Background:

Soon after Goa’s liberation from colonial Portuguese rule in 1961, murmurs began of a merger with Maharashtra on grounds of cultural similarity and the argument that Konkani was a dialect of Marathi and not an independent language. With several Indian states having been demarcated on a linguistic basis, the demand split the people of Goa into those who backed Konkani and wanted to remain independent of Maharashtra, and those who were in favour of Marathi and wanted to merge.

In December 1966, Parliament passed the Goa, Daman and Diu (Opinion Poll Act), 1966, “to provide for the taking of an opinion poll to ascertain the wishes of the electors of Goa, Daman and Diu with regard to the future status thereof and for matters connected therewith”.

Majority of votes went against the merger.

Soon afterward began demands for statehood for Goa; however, it was only on May 30, 1987, that Goa became India’s 25th state. Daman and Diu continue to be Union Territories. Konkani was included in the Eighth Schedule of the Constitution on August 20, 1992 (71st Amendment).

 

Sources: Indian Express.

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