Panaji: The Opinion Poll of 1967, a historic referendum in Goa, may have helped the former Portuguese colony retain its own unique identity but Assembly Deputy Speaker and BJP MLA Michael Lobo feels the opinion poll is also the reason why bikinis are allowed in the coastal state.
Lobo's speech, delivered on Tuesday at one of the numerous events held to mark the Opinion Poll day, where he justifies why bikinis in Goa are allowed because of the Opinion Poll against a merger with Maharashtra, has gone viral on Wednesday on social media.
"The development which has happened here (in Goa), the fact that international tourists come to this destination... To go to the last limit, bikini is allowed on the beach is because of this Opinion Poll day," Lobo said.
"I am going into that because in Maharashtra it is not allowed. Let us be very frank. In Maharashtra it is not allowed, otherwise tourism would have flourished there," Lobo also said.
During the historic referendum known in Goa as 'Opinion Poll' day, on January 16, 1967, 54.20 per cent of the population voted for Goa to be a separate territory while 43.50 per cent voted for merging the newly liberated region into neighbouring Maharashtra.
The Maharashtrawadi Gomantak Party had backed the merger while United Goans, led by late Jack Sequeira, batted for Goa being recognised as an independent region in the Indian Union.
Goa was liberated from Portuguese rule in 1961 and was eventually granted statehood in 1987 after years of being governed as a Union Territory.
Lobo also said that Goa and its people should give proper due to Opinion Poll day by hosting an official function in Panaji to commemorate the occasion every year.