Portuguese Prime Minister António Luís Santos da Costa (a socialist leader) took office at a time when Europe was witnessing the rise of the Right wing Parties. What is noteworthy is that PM Costa holds ‘PIO’ (Person of Indian Origin ) status and is the first PIO to lead a European country.
Pride of many Goans
A matter of pride for many Goans is that a Goan now holds the highest office in Portugal. Something unimaginable a hundred years ago. The now famous Antonio’s father Orlando da Costa, a writer and poet, spent his youth in Margao (Goa). Excitingly, this would be Costa’s second visit to Goa. The first time he visited Goa with his parents as a teenager.
“I am very proud for visiting my father’s land as a Prime Minister, in particular as the first Prime Minister of Indian origin. As you can understand, this visit has a strong emotional side and a personal motivation,” Costa said. (Source: India Today)
The house that Costa’s father lived in during his youth still stands on the Abade Faria road in Margao. Though currently occupied by Antonio’s first cousin Anna Kaarina Jussilainen Costa who lives in the house with her mother, husband and daughter. They hosted a dinner for PM Costa along with other relatives and friends at his ancestral home on the second day of his trip.
PM Costa belongs to Partido Socialista (Socialist Party) of which Mário Alberto Nobre Lopes Soares was also a member. Mr. Soares in his capacity as Portugal’s external affairs minister signed the 1974 India-Portugal treaty, which meant Portugal now recognised India’s sovereignty over Goa, Daman, Diu, Dadra and Nagar Haveli. Mr. Soares has also served as the country’s PM and the President. He recently passed away on January 7, 2016.
PM Costa cobbled a coalition of smaller parties to form the current ruling government. His party has the second highest number of seats in Portugal’s parliament. He took over the country when many citizens were disgruntled due to harsh austerity measures implemented after a bailout. The PM enjoys a positive approval rating from the public.
Antonio Costa has shown many Goans that if you work really hard, anything is possible. His example itself vouches for it.