Land rights, environment top election agenda in India’s Goa

GOA, India (AP) — India’s undisputed tourist hot spot and the tiniest state, Goa is voting to elect a new government. More than 1.1 million voters will decide who among the 301 contestants can help save their ecologically fragile land struggling to cope with uncontrolled tourism and an unbridled real estate boom. The coastal state has only begun to recover from the pandemic that has shuttered restaurants and rendered thousands jobless. For the native communities like farmers and fishermen, what is at stake is a distinctly Goan way of life that for centuries has been in sync with its lush green environment and biodiversity. The vote in Goa and four other states is seen as a test for Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Hindu nationalist party ahead of general elections.