Panaji, Feb 20 (PTI) The BJP is willing to include the demand to grant special status to Goa in its manifesto for Lok Sabha elections, a senior party functionary said here Wednesday.

Many groups in the coastal state have been demanding special status for Goa, which has been facing challenges from in-migration, scarce land resource and a resultant dilution of its identity.

“We are accepting all the suggestions. The BJP is willing to include special status (demand) for Goa as a part of its election manifesto for Lok Sabha polls. We will implement the demand,” BJP national vice president Vinay Sahasrabuddhe told reporters.

He was in Goa as a part of the party’s drive to receive the feedback and suggestions from various sections that could be inducted in the manifesto.

The BJP’s assurance came at a time when Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister N Chandrababu Naidu has been demanding special category status for the southern state which was bifurcated to create Telangana in 2014.

Meanwhile, Sahasrabuddhe also said that if tourism footfalls are decreasing in Goa, then it is a matter of concern.

“Goa is a popular tourist destination. The economy of the state is dependent on tourism. If there is a drop in tourism then it is definitely a cause of concern,” he said.

State Tourism Minister Manohar Ajgaonkar had recently admitted that number of tourists visiting Goa fell during the New Year season.

The Goa Legislative Assembly had passed a resolution for special status in the past.

The Centre had rejected a similar demand in 2014.

The BJP leads the coalition government in Goa. The Goa Forward Party (GFP), the Maharashtravadi Gomantak Party (MGP) and three Independent legislators are part of the dispensation led by Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar.

This is published unedited from the PTI feed.