Margao: Freedom fighter Gopal Narayan Chitari, a resident of Cuncolim, passed away Friday morning. He was 87. The final rites were performed Friday evening. Chitari had participated in Goa’s freedom movement. A teacher by profession, Chitari was the recipient of the President's Award. In a conversation with TOI ahead of Goa’s liberation Day in December 2021, Chitari had expressed his disappointment over the state of affairs of Goa’s politics. “This isn’t the freedom we gave our blood and tears for,” he had said. “I sometimes wonder if we have really achieved freedom in the real sense of the term.” Commenting on political defections with scant regard to political ideologies, Chitari had said: “Democracy has been reduced to a mockery, as it’s difficult to identify who belongs to the ruling dispensation and who is from the opposition side.” Chief minister Pramod Sawant in his condolence message said that Chitari’s “immense contribution in Goa's Liberation struggle will always be remembered.” Cuncolim MLA Yuri Alemao said Chitari’s passing was “a huge loss to the historical village of Cuncolim.” “People of Cuncolim will miss his valuable advice and guidance,” Alemao said. Margao MLA Digambar Kamat also expressed his sorrow over Chitari’s death.
Panaji: The public spat between opposition leader Michael Lobo and town and country planning (TCP) minister Vishwajit Rane continued, with Rane telling the Calangute MLA to stop playing the victim card over the probe into the outline development plans (ODPs). Rane said that a “detailed investigation” will be launched into conversion of land when the Parra-Arpora-Nagoa and Calangute-Candolim ODPs were formulated, after which legal action will be initiated. A day earlier, Lobo had accused Rane and the BJP of hounding and targeting the opposition. “I would like to mention to the leader of the opposition that using public office for personal gains is not acceptable. He should refrain from playing the victim,” said Rane. Rane also said that all eco-sensitive land that was illegally converted will be reverted back to its original state. On Wednesday, Rane took to Twitter to announce that TCP’s scrutiny committee has identified irregularities in the ODPs of Parra-Arpora-Nagoa and Candolim-Calangute. Rane also said that a former NGPDA chairman violated norms by getting their own land converted. Lobo refuted Rane’s allegations and said that Rane is engaging in “vindictive politics” by suspending the ODPs and by pointing fingers at Lobo. “Let’s wait for the report to come out, survey by survey, the report will be shared with the citizens of the state of Goa,” said Rane. He said that Lobo’s attempts to shift the blame “authenticates the fact that there are a lot of wrongdoings” in Calangute-Candolim and the Parra-Nagoa-Parra.
Panaji: Leader of the opposition Michael Lobo on Thursday said that the government, particularly the town and country planning (TCP) department is deliberately targeting him and harassing him. Lobo’s allegations come a day after TCP minister Vishwajit Rane said that the Parra-Arpora-Nagoa outline development plans (ODPs) have shocking irregularities. Lobo, who was the former North Goa Planning and Development Authority (NGPDA) chairman, said that the ODPs have become a victim of BJP’s “vindictive politics” that is playing out in Goa. “He is personally targeting me, which is not right in politics. I was a businessman before I could become an MLA. It is nothing but vindictive politics and I have spoken to the CM about this,” the opposition leader said. He said that it has become natural for the government of the day to target the opposition, but the common man and businessmen face the fallout of the government’s pressure tactics. “Rane is the minister; he’s free to do whatever he wants to do with regards to the ODP of Arpora-Nagoa and Parra but how many times are we going to look at this? Are you going to haunt them? How many people are you going to haunt?” Lobo said. On Wednesday, Rane took to Twitter to announce that TCP’s scrutiny committee has identified irregularities in the ODPs of Parra-Arpora-Nagoa and Candolim-Calangute. He also said that a former NGPDA chairman violated norms by getting his own land converted. Rane said that the irregularities identified could lead to prosecution under the Prevention and Corruption Act for using public office for personal gains. Rane has already directed the TCP department to suspend all the ODPs Trying to distance himself from the irregularities, Lobo said that all planning and policy decisions regarding ODPs were taken collectively by a committee comprising town planners, deputy planners and other stakeholders. He said that if the BJP government has adopted a policy to “throw out” whatever earlier governments have done. “All this was done by the same BJP government. Whatever they want to do now they can do,” Lobo said.
Staff ReporterPanajiFormer Chief Minister Pratapsingh Rane has filed an affidavit in the High Court of Bombay at Goa with regards to the petition filed by advocate Aires Rodrigues challenging the Lifetime Cabinet status conferred on him.In the petition, Pratapsingh Rane said that he has not asked for cabinet status or any such honour or privilege and that the same was bestowed upon him by the state of Goa in its own discretion and wisdom.“It is for the HC to decide the legality of that Lifetime Cabinet status, will accept whatever decision the Court makes in the matter,” said Rane.Denying that the notification bestowing Lifetime Cabinet status was issued on the basis of some alleged quid pro-quo, Pratapsingh Rane has said that he is 83 years old and that if he had contested this year’s elections, he would have been 88 when his term as an MLA would come to an end.Stating that in view of his advanced age he took a decision to retire from active politics and that he would however continue to do social work in whatever capacity he can to serve the people of Goa, Rane in his affidavit has also stated that he had been contemplating taking the decision to retire from active politics since as far back as December 2021.Meanwhile, the Goa government has submitted through an affidavit that by virtue of being conferred the Lifetime Cabinet status, the former Chief Minister Pratapsingh Rane is neither appointed as a Minister nor is discharging any functions as a Minister.The affidavit states that conferment of the status is in the nature of an award, recognition and honour conferred on Pratapsingh Rane, and that it does not require any provision under the Constitution or a law for the same as certain national and state awards have been conferred on eminent personalities which entitles them to benefits.Further stating that there has been a long standing and accepted practice in Goa of recognising and honouring citizens for their contribution in different fields including in Sports, Science and Art, the affidavit states that it is well within the executive power of the state to honour and recognise distinguished personalities who have been in public life and contributed to the state in their lifetime.
Panaji: Hours after opposition leader Michael Lobo came under attack from town and country planning minister Vishwajit Rane “over the FIR filed” against his wife Delilah and him over allegations of hill cutting and tree felling at Parra, senior Congress functionaries in a counter attack termed Rane’s action “as an act of vindictive politics”. “Filing of FIRs against our MLAs CLP leader Michael Lobo and Delilah Lobo is an act of vindictive politics by the minister Vishwajit Rane,” Dinesh Gundu Rao, Congress’ Goa desk incharge, tweeted. “You got an opportunity to govern Goa again for five more years, use that period judiciously, don’t use it to settle scores,” Rao said. Goa Pradesh president Amit Patkar in a series of tweets also took on Rane. “The random allegations against Congress will not help you in your intra-party politics. Nor does it benefit an elected representative. I will not stand by and listen to your baseless vish (poison),” Patkar tweeted. Targeting Congress, Rane had earlier said that the party’s vision for destruction of the state of Goa will never be a reality. “Don’t threaten this party and or me with your intimidation tactics,” Patkar said. Patkar claimed that he was briefly blocked by Rane after his tweets. In another tweet, Patkar questioned why Rane was ruffled and agitated. “Why so agitated and ruffled. Personal attacks are quite tasteless. But thanks for having the courage to unblock me,” Patkar tweeted.
Calangute: Leader of opposition and Calangute MLA Michael Lobo on Wednesday dismissed allegations made by a Calangute NGO that foul smell emanates from the garbage treatment plant (GTP) at Saligao. He called it “cheap politics” ahead of the panchayat elections. “They’re trying to show people that they’re doing some work. If they were really doing something genuine, I would be the first to salute them,” he said. Lobo, who was waste management minister in the previous government, said the NGO is missing the bigger picture. “What is important is that all the garbage goes to one place. When there is excess garbage during rush of tourists, and it is dumped on the tipping floor at the GTP, then there is some smell. That cannot be denied. But what is important is that garbage from the coastal belt is being collected there. Otherwise it would be strewn everywhere and people would get the stench there,” he said. “Earlier the panchayats used to dump the garbage here and there and then people would agitate and protest,” Lobo said.
Panaji: The high court of Bombay at Goa has admitted the petition challenging the state government’s conferring of lifetime cabinet status on former Congress chief minister Pratapsingh Rane. Before granting the lifetime cabinet status, the cabinet did not obtain financial sanction from the finance ministry as required under the rules, as the resolution involved financial expenditure, petitioner Aires Rodrigues stated. Rodrigues further stated that the cabinet hurriedly resolved on January 6 afternoon that it would confer lifetime cabinet status with all consequential benefits to those members of the assembly (present/past) who have served for at least eight continuous terms as MLA and have held position of chief minister (to suit only Rane). Thereafter, in a hurry, a notification was issued and published on January 7, Rodrigues said. The BJP desired to nominate Rane’s daughter-in-law Deviya Rane as its candidate and Congress candidate Rane was capable of toppling its applecart, he submitted. “As a quid pro quo, Rane did not contest the elections, and instead announced that he was retiring from politics, just a few days before the last date for filing nominations making it impossible for INC to field a suitable candidate at such short notice,” he said. The high court has adjourned the case to May 2.
Margao: Fatorda MLA Vijai Sardesai on Tuesday said that he had hit the pause button to introspect and plan his next political move. “In politics, there’s something called a reflective pause,” Sardesai said. “I am reflecting and I am on pause.” He made this statement when asked by reporters about his prolonged silence after the polls leading to government formation. “One cannot start blaming this government immediately. You have to give them time before you make a judgement,” he said. To a question he replied that he was very much a part of the opposition and that he voted in favour of Alexio Sequeira, the opposition candidate, for the speaker’s post. Asked to comment on the appeal made by leader of opposition Michael Lobo to earlier Congressmen to return to the party fold, considering that he too was once a Congressman, Sardesai said, “The leader of opposition himself has joined Congress recently.” Sardesai was speaking at the launch of the replacement of a 60mm diameter asbestos cement water pipeline, which has outlived its utility, with a new 100mm pipeline. The pipeline is being replaced from Kala Fabs area to Gogol junction and will supply water to Vidyanagar and surrounding areas with increased pressure. The work is estimated to cost Rs 21 crore. Chairperson of the Margao Municipal Council Lyndon Periera was also present on the occasion.
Margao: As CM Pramod Sawant on Saturday expanded his cabinet by inducting three more MLAs into his cabinet, it became even more evident that the Bhandari community card used by AAP to whip up caste frenzy ahead of the polls did not find resonance with the people.. Significantly, it’s the Kshatriya Maratha samaj that has replaced Bhandari samaj in terms of dominant numerical strength in the assembly with as many as seven MLAs belonging to the warrior class getting elected. The dominance of the Maratha class finds a resonance in the cabinet as well, with a fourth of the cabinet belonging to Kshatriya Maratha samaj. While chief minister Pramod Sawant belongs to this caste, health minister Vishwajit Rane and the newly inducted Sanguem MLA Subhash Phal Dessai also belong to the Kshatriya Maratha samaj. If that renders the dominion of the Marathas in the BJP government obvious, the fact that the president of the ruling party, Sadanand Shet Tanavade, also hails from the same caste, further extends the sphere of supremacy of the "shahannau (96) kuli Marathas" in Goa’s politics. The Bhandari community constitutes nearly 30% of the Bahujan samaj classified under OBC, followed by the Kshatriya Maratha samaj. Political observers point out that the Bhandari community comprises 30% of the Bahujan samaj which is roughly 60% of Goa’s population. However, political observers stressed that the success of the Kshatriya Maratha Samaj candidates in the February 2022 assembly polls had nothing to do with caste politics. “Rather, it’s largely due to their personal charisma and popularity that they won,” lawyer and political commentator, Vallabh Dessai, said. “Take for instance Subhash Phal Dessai in Sanguem which is an ST-dominated constituency. He won on his personal merit as people across communities voted for him. In Poriem and Valpoi constituencies, as is obvious, the Khashes hold influence over the voters on account of the feudal sentiment that prevails in the two constituencies. In the rest, the victory of Maratha candidates had nothing to do with caste appeal.” Appeal to caste identity wasn’t a part of the political discourse in Goa until AAP set the narrative on a tangent after it promised that its chief minister, if it forms the government in Goa, would be from the Bhandari samaj. “The Bhandari card was a new political concept AAP tried to introduce in Goa with the objective of dividing Hindu votes,” said political commentator, Rajendra Kakodkar. “The experiment failed as the open appeal on caste lines didn’t find favour with the voters.” Rahul Mhambrey under whose leadership AAP contested the polls – he recently resigned as the state unit president – has acknowledged that declaring a Bhandari candidate as its CM face was a mistake that cost the party dearly. “It’s just impossible to appeal to the Bhandari samaj for votes in Goa,” Dessai said. “Though there has been emergence of new leaders among the Bhandari samaj of late, there are certain unchallenged leaders in certain constituencies, like for instance, Ravi Naik in Ponda, who hold considerable sway over the community. The equations change when it comes to such caste leaders-politicians.” The rise in numbers of the Maratha legislators from just three in the last legislative assembly to seven in the current one has led some political observers to ascribe the outcome to the “backfired” Bhandari card. “The bottom line is that,” Kakodkar said, “it is foolhardy to think that by appeasing the Bhandaris, and thereby antagonising the majority non-Bhandari Bahujan samaj, a party would fetch votes. The model was bound to fail in Goa.”
Vasco: Mormugao MLA Sankalp Amonkar on Wednesday highlighted “revenge politics” in the constituency alleging that selective transfer of government employees, registering of cases against innocent people, and stop work orders for under construction houses was being carried out. Amonkar said that it was unfortunate that the altercation between two families during Holi was politicised. “So many cases were registered against innocent people over this,” he said. Stating that, in Mormugao taluka, several houses are standing on government land, Amonkar said that where so many are building and repairing houses, only a selective few people are being targeted. He said, transferring government staff has started. with “75% of the transfers being from Mormugao”.
Opposition rejects President’s invitation to join unity governmentColombo: Sri Lanka’s Opposition parties on Monday rejected President Gotabaya Rajapaksa’s invitation to join the proposed unity government as a “sham” after he fired his brother and Finance Minister Basil Rajapaksa from his post, as protests were held nationwide over the ruling Rajapaksa family’s poor handling of the country’s worst economic crisis.Gotabaya Rajapaksa on Monday fired Basil Rajapaksa from his post and invited the Opposition parties to join a unity cabinet to tackle the raging public anger against the hardships caused by the economic crisis.On Sunday night, all 26 cabinet Ministers submitted letters of resignation after thousands of people defied a countrywide state of emergency and curfew and joined street protests denouncing the government.The largest Opposition political party – United People’s Force, or Samagi Jana Balavegaya – immediately rejected the President’s proposal of a unity government and termed this spate of resignations a “sham”.Party leader Sajith Premadasa said he wished to see a political model that works.“We want resignations and then we want a political model that works.”“A new Sri Lanka will begin with stronger institutions and not just a change in leadership. An interim government is nothing but internal party politics,” he tweeted.Mano Ganesan, a Tamil leader from the Opposition, said his party Tamil People’s Alliance and the main Muslim party Sri Lanka Muslim Congress also on the Opposition will also not join the unity government.Gotabaya Rajapaksa named just four cabinet members after the entire cabinet other than Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa resigned on Sunday night.All 26 cabinet ministers handed in their resignations after thousands of people defied a countrywide state of emergency and curfew and joined street protests denouncing the government. Following the cabinet’s resignation Gotabaya Rajapaksa made an open invitation for all parties to join the unity cabinet to tackle the current economic crisis.Despite the declaration of the state of emergency and a weekend curfew, people joined the protests calling for the resignation of Gotabaya Rajapaksa. It appeared that Gotabaya Rajapaksa’s unity cabinet plea had no resonance with the public as they were out in larger numbers, calling for the resignation of the entire Rajapaksa family from politics.Basil Rajapaksa, who had negotiated the Indian economic relief package to help Sri Lanka tackle the current foreign exchange crisis, was at the centre of anger within the ruling Sri Lanka Podujana Peramuna (SLPP) coalition. He has been replaced by Ali Sabry, who was until Sunday night the Minister of Justice.Basil Rajapaksa was scheduled to leave for the U.S. to meet with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) for a possible bailout package to get over the unprecedented economic crisis.After the resignation of the cabinet Ministers on Sunday, at least three other new ministers were sworn in. G. L. Peiris has been sworn in as the Foreign Minister while Dinesh Gunawardena is the new Education Minister. Johnston Fernando has been made the new Minister of Highways.There have been mass public agitations against the ruling Rajapaksa family for its mishandling of the economic situation triggered by the foreign exchange crisis and the balance of payment issues.
Vasco: Councillor Amey Chopdekar was elected unopposed as vice-chairperson of the Mormugao Municipal Council (MMC) in a special meeting called on Tuesday. Presiding officer deputy collector (Mormugao), Dattaraj Gawas Desai, said that 14 councillors were present for the election and supported Chopdekar. Later, Chopdekar told reporters that following up on various civic works, garbage collection and making the municipal area garbage free will be among his main priorities. He added that he will take up the responsibility of completing pre-monsoon works in the Mormugao municipal area. Later when questioned about his political career, Chopdekar gave credit of his success and entry into politics to his father Anil Chopdekar and his mother Anita Chopdekar who were both councillors in the past in MMC. The post had fallen vacant after incumbent Shradha Mahale resigned following submission of a no-confidence motion against her by the ruling group. She had reportedly supported Congress in the February 14 polls.
Pramod Sawant's entry into politics was far from accidental. Sawant, 48, is a second-generation politician who learnt the ropes from his father and stepped into his boots when former chief minister Manohar Parrikar came calling. “I remember, I was in Class XI when Parrikar ‘bhaee’ came to our house during the election campaign,” Sawant told TOI, remembering Parrikar’s first big election in 1991 when he contested for the North Goa Lok Sabha seat. “The good part is that BJP took a lead in Pale constituency (now Sanquelim) and the highest votes he polled was in our Kothambi polling station.” Parrikar’s lead in Pale and the big votes in Kothambi were all due to the efforts of Sawant’s father, Pandurang, a former zilla panchayat member. Pandurang had contested the assembly election as a Janata Party candidate from Pale in 1980 and quit active politics after his son contested his first assembly election in 2008. A machine operator in a mining company, Pandurang is a staunch believer in BJP ideology and campaigned for the party on foot, walking from one village to another. He was actively associated with Bharatiya Jana Sangh, Bharatiya Mazdoor Sangh and Vishva Hindu Parishad, and was also recognised as BJP’s loyal foot-soldier. Sawant, on the other hand, was named chief minister following the demise of Parrikar, his political guru, in 2019. While many said he was handpicked for the top post largely because he was the only MLA from the RSS cadre, his leadership saw BJP win 20 of the 40 seats in the first assembly election the party fought without the talismanic Parrikar. It was also the first time BJP won half the seats on its own. Its best performance of 21 in 2012 under Parrikar was in partnership with MGP. Hailing from Kothambi, a rural hinterland village in Bicholim, Sawant’s saffron leanings right from his early days grounded him in the Hindutva ideology. After completing his graduation in ayurveda medicine in Kolhapur, he completed his post-graduation studies in the medico–legal system and did his Masters in Social Work. “Sawant functioned as the ‘boudhik pramukh’ (in charge of ideological orientation programmes) of RSS of Bicholim taluka. However, he didn’t get to spend much time in RSS activities as he soon entered politics,” said former RSS sanghchalak Subhash Velingkar. Sawant took a plunge into politics on the insistence of the BJP leadership in 2008 after the Sanquelim assembly seat fell vacant following the demise of its Congress MLA. Quitting his government job as an ayurveda physician in the North Goa district hospital at Mapusa, Sawant contested the byelection as a BJP candidate and lost. He, however, triumphed in the 2012 assembly election and in the subsequent 2017 and 2022 polls. “Sawant was groomed into politics by Parrikar and was close to him,” said a senior official close to the chief minister. “He always put the party before personal ambition. BJP’s requirement of a relatively younger candidate to lead the party for the next 10-15 years, and importantly being from RSS, worked in Sawant’s favour to get to the top.” He won for the first time in 2012 —when BJP got a majority on its own — and retained the seat in 2017. After the BJP-led coalition led by Parrikar formed the government, he was elected as the speaker of the Goa assembly, making him the youngest from among all state legislative assemblies in India at the time. In 2022, Sawant, former state president of Bharatiya Janata Yuva Morcha and national vice-president of Bharatiya Janata Yuva Morcha, faced a tough election. When votes were being counted, he initially trailed Dharmesh Saglani, but eventually got enough to pip the Congress candidate by 666 votes, a big dip in margin from 2012 (6,918) and 2017 (2,131). “The party strategy to project Sawant as the Bahujan Samaj CM paid off. He proved everyone wrong, and it includes many from his own party. The opposition seemed to be celebrating too early and the exit polls got it wrong too,” said another official. The perception that Sawant would be the second sitting chief minister to lose an election after Laxmikant Parsekar in 2017 was fanned due to strong anti-incumbency and politicians across party lines trying to pull the rug from under his feet. However, Sawant not just survived, but triumphed.
MARGAO: Responding strongly to statements made by chief minister designate Pramod Sawant in reference to the speech made by Arvind Kejriwal over Kashmir Files, AAP state convener Rahul Mhambre advised Sawant to “focus on Goa and the missing governance in the state instead of behaving like a social media troll of BJP.” “It is unfortunate that caretaker CM of Goa has got riled up over the statement made by Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal that the movie Kashmir Files be made available on the YouTube platform so that it could be available for free viewing by everyone. While Sawant and his party are leaving no stone unturned to promote the movie, no attention is being paid to the plight of the Kashmiri Pandits who suffered under the militancy in the Kashmir valley,” state convener Rahul Mhambre stated. AAP functionary Amit Palekar said that in the past 30 years since the incident happened, parties like BJP and Congress have only indulged in politics over the issue.
Staff ReporterPanajiCongress working president and Nuvem MLA Aleixo Sequeira will be the Opposition’s candidate for the election to post of state legislative assembly, which is slated to be held on March 29.Congress party MLAs and legislators of Aam Aadmi Party met at the assembly complex in Porvorim and decided to field Sequeira for the said post on behalf of the Opposition.Revolutionary Goans Party MLA Viresh Borkar and Goa Forward Party MLA Vijai Sardesai did not attend the meeting.However, Congress MLA Digambar Kamat claimed that both informed telephonically that they would agree to the candidate selected jointly by the Congress and AAP MLAs.“At the meeting, the MLAs proposed my name. I will stand for the election to the Speaker’s post,” Sequeira said, interacting with media persons after the meeting.Michael Lobo informed that Sequeira has filled in the form for the Speaker’s post and that the Nuvem MLA will file the nomination papers for the same on Monday.AAP’s Venzy Viegas said that despite having different ideology, the AAP will take on the ruling party unitedly with Opposition MLAs in the assembly as ‘Team Goa’ for the betterment of Goaand Goans.Sequeira, a former minister, had retired from politics in 2017 after being denied nomination by the Congress.However, he made a comeback in politics after being reportedly persuaded by the then GPCC president late Shantaram Naik.He contested the 2022 assembly polls from Nuvem constituency and emerged victorious.Months before the 2022 assembly elections, the All India Congress committee appointed the veteran Congress leader as the president of the Goa Pradesh Congresscommittee.
Staff ReporterPanajiDemanding an impartial probe in the assault incidents in Vasco and Quepem, the Goa Pradesh Congress Committee (GPCC) on Monday submitted a memorandum to the Director General of Police (DGP) Indradev Shukla requesting him to instruct police not to unnecessary harassinnocent people.Congress MLAs Michael Lobo and Sankalp Amonkar, media in-charge Amarnath Panjikar, general secretary Janardhan Bhandari, youth president Varad Mardolkar, mahila president Bina Naik and others submitted a memorandum to the office of the DGP at the police headquarters in the cityon Monday.Speaking to the media persons, Lobo said that it is wrong to give a political colour to incidents that have no links with politics. “Some students, who have no role in these incidents, are harassed in this case and are summoned for investigations. Police should stop playing with the future of students at the behest of the BJP.”Regarding the incident reported at Quepem, the Congress leaders said that a person was beaten and threatened to kill by a BJP supporter for bursting crackers. “BJP supporters have started to misuse power,” Congress leaders have alleged.
Quepem: Billboards bearing congratulatory messages for Congress Quepem MLA Altone D’Costa on his victory at the recent assembly polls were defaced by some unknown persons on Thursday night. Altone, who polled 14,994 votes defeated former deputy chief minister and BJP candidate Chandrakant Kavlekar by 3,601 votes, termed it as an act of frustration by rival parties. “People of Quepem have taught these people a lesson by electing me with a thumping majority. The rival group can tear our posters, but not our people’s hearts,” he said. CCTV cameras in Quepem town have not been working for the past many years. “Kavlekar has been the MLA for the last 20 years. His rivals never stooped to such low levels. What we see now is manifestation of frustration,” panch of Fatorpa panchayat and Altone’s brother, Sanzil said. Meanwhile, posters and signboards of the D’Costa sports arena, erected by former chairperson Filu D’Costa, were also damaged by unknown persons on Thursday night. Filu filed a complaint at the Quepem police station on Friday. Filu, a staunch supporter of Kavlekar for the last 20 years, had not backed the former Quepem MLA at the polls. “My posters are related to my business and not politics. I have requested the Quepem police to book the culprits at the earliest so that people learn under whose instance they are committing this crime,” Filu said.
Special CorrespondentPanajiValpoi MLA-elect Vishwajit Rane, who met Governor P. S. Sreedharan Pillai on Saturday evening, said the visit to Raj Bhavan was a personal one and had nothing to do with government formation in the state.Speaking to ‘The Navhind Times’, Rane said that he went to meet the Governor for seeking his blessings, as after he and his wife Deviya won the assembly polls with record margin, the Governor had telephonically congratulated them.“Therefore, I felt it my duty to visit the Governor personally, and seek his blessings.“Furthermore, today I had visited a temple, which is also often visited by the Governor, so I felt that I should hand over the ‘prasad’ of the particular deity to the Governor,” he informed, adding that this was another reason for his visit to Raj Bhavan.Rane also condemned a section of the media, which had misinterpreted his visit to the Governor, and stated that, “Rane’s visit to Raj Bhavan had created flutter and confusion among top leadership of the BJP in Goa.”State BJP president Sadanand Tanawade refused to link the visit of Rane with government formation.“Any MLA can seek appointment of the Governor and meet him; the Opposition parties can also do so,” he observed, pointing out that the Governor is the custodian of Constitution, and a father figure in state politics, and hence politicians can meet him.Tanawade further said the government formation exercise in Goa would be a smooth exercise.“The delay in the same is only because the central BJP leadership wants to have the swearing-in ceremonies in four states, where the party would be forming the governments, on the same day,” he noted.
IANSVenturing into a big city for a person from a small or non-metro town can often be daunting. If the person comes from a place perceived to be backward, it can be even worse.Interestingly, growing up in a small town and migrating to big cities may not be measured on a utilitarian scale, though the journey of life against the trials and tribulations of individuals and their frustrations and triumphs ultimately make its imprint palpable in the indifferent world too.‘The Girls From Patna’ tells a contemporary story that examines the debate of nature versus nurture – what constitutes a family and home. Is it important to be born into a family or can one build a family out of circumstances, is the central question that it raises?The book written by senior business journalist Surabhi also looks into the life of an adopted child and how he or she is perceived later in life by relatives and family friends, even if they are happily settled in their own families and life.The novel begins with the death of the family matriarch – Saroj Sinha, which has her granddaughters – Neha and Priyanka, rushing home to Patna from New Delhi, where they both live.While Neha and Priyanka are cousins, they have been brought up together as siblings after the untimely death of Priyanka›s parents. The two girls have never been able to bridge this gap in their relationship despite the love and support from their parents and family. A common love interest and pressures to marry further cloud theirrelationship.Not surprisingly then, it turns out to be a bitter-sweet homecoming for the two young women with old hurts and new misgivings rising to the fore. A cousin›s sudden arrest and plans to join politics add more drama to this story.The question then is whether the two young women will be able to forgive each other and accept that they cannot wish each other away?“’The Girls From Patna’ also attempts to highlight that the state capital is not as underdeveloped or backward as it is often perceived to be although it is not free of its own set of challenges. It has tried to fight the portrayal of Bihari people in movies and popular culture as interested only in politics or crime to highlight that most of them are well educated, regular people, looking for good jobs and a decent life both in and outside the state,” says Surabhi in an interaction with IANS.The book tries to highlight issues of unemployment, which is still a major challenge for Bihar and leads to much of the youth leaving the state in search of better opportunities.The novel is also an ode to all the people from small towns, who leave behind the comfort of their homes, in order to get a better education and jobs.The hesitation that they feel in big cities as well as the various biases that they have to battle as they come from smaller towns is a side commentary in the novel. It is a hard life for anyone, whether they are an immigrant in another country or move to another city to start a new life.Despite such a heavy theme, the author points out, it is a light-hearted, slice-of-life story and will ring true with all readers, irrespective of whether they belong to Patna or not. The easy-to-understand language, pace of the book and realistic characters have made the book relatable for people who have hardly ever read any modern day and realistic stories based in Patna.An alumnus of the Indian Institute of Mass Communication and Lady Shri Ram College for Women in Delhi, Surabhi shared her life experiences and gradual journey when she returned to the national capital from Patna in the early 2000s. “Over the years, I have realised that it can take years for people to overcome these tags no matter how smart, funny, brilliant, hard working or good hearted they are. This book is especially for them,” she writes in her maiden book.‘The Girls From Patna’ urges people, especially girls, to meet the challenges of transient life rather than wish they were not before them. “We must never lose infinite hope in the celebration of a journey called life,” the journalist-turned author adds.
Panaji: After drawing a blank in 2017, the Aam Aadmi Party opened its account in the state assembly with two seats in 2022. Captain in the merchant Navy, Venzy Viegas, won on debut in Benaulim while Cruz Silva, an engineer, won the Velim seat. Viegas defeated veteran Churchill Alemao in a contest that was billed as a clash between David and Goliath in Benaulim, while Silva did another giant-killing act as he put it across two former MLAs, Filipe Nery Rodrigues and Benjamin Silva, besides Congress candidate Savio D’Silva. “One person has been in politics for more than three decades in the same constituency, but it doesn’t have a hospital. Thirty-five years weren’t enough to put health infrastructure in place. I contested because there were no basic amenities in the constituency,” said Viegas. Many political experts had made Viegas the favourite in Benaulim. AAP has a strong presence in the constituency where Royla Fernandes finished ahead of the sitting MLA Caetano Silva in 2017 and was the only one from among 39 contestants to save her deposit. Even at the zilla panchayat elections in 2020, AAP won its first and only seat in Benaulim with Hanzel Fernandes emerging triumphant. When votes for the 2022 state assembly elections were counted on Thursday, Viegas brought cheer to the AAP camp as he won by 1271 votes against Alemao, a five-time legislator and former chief minister. In Velim, Silva won by a narrow margin of 169 votes against Velim sarpanch and Congress’ Savio D’Silva, while also defeating TMC’s Benjamin Silva, RG’s Dagley Fernandes and NCP’s Filipe Nery, who finished fifth. “The electorate harboured resentment against Nery who defected along with nine other MLAs when they merged with BJP in 2019. Although Nery changed his colour and contested on NCP ticket, the electorate were not convinced,” a political commentator said. Silva said he and Viegas will be the “voice of the people”, highlighting the ills plaguing their villages as well as those affecting Goa. While Viegas and Silva triumphed in Benaulim and Velim, there was embarrassment elsewhere. Contesting from Santa Cruz, AAP’s chief ministerial candidate Amit Palekar finished third with 4098 votes while the party’s state convenor Rahul Mhambre fared badly with 1511 votes, coming in third and losing his deposit. The party that promised corruption-free governance, flaunted its Delhi model and provided several guarantees, contested 39 seats. AAP openly practiced caste-based politics, promising a chief minister from the dominant Bhandari community and a Catholic as the deputy chief minister but did not manage to expand its vote share. In 2017, except Benaulim, candidates had lost deposits in all constituencies. At the time, the party garnered a total of 57,420 votes or a vote share of 6.27%. This time around the party won two seats but didn’t succeed in vastly expanding its vote share which is now at 6.77. A political commentator said AAP couldn’t win more seats as it had no senior leader of repute as the political face of the party. AAP also went solo. Its attempt to get Aleixo Reginaldo Lourenco on board, who would be the face of the party, didn’t materialise as the former Curtorim MLA flirted with BJP and TMC before eventually contesting as an Independent. The two seats that AAP won were due to the combined efforts of the candidates and the party. “The party was very active during Covid-19 pandemic, getting its workers on the ground to distribute groceries and oximeters to those in need, creating goodwill among the people,” said one voter from Benaulim. The heightened AAP activity came at a time when rival Alemao was seen with one foot in the BJP camp, which was frowned upon by his constituents. In Velim, Silva was a ‘clean’ option with a reputation to beat that of other candidates. “Cruz continued his work in Velim even after his defeat at the 2017 polls when he finished third with 3,423 votes. He has participated with the people in all important agitations and remained with AAP, not changing sides,” said a local.
Rohan ShrivastavPanaji: Having gone down from 17 seats in 2017 to just 11 seats now, the Congress’s vote share is down by nearly 5% as compared with the votes polled in the last elections. As per ECI data, the party, which had gained 28.4% vote share in the previous elections, got 23.46% votes in the February 14 polls.Despite the fact that the BJP emerged as the single largest party with 20 seats, winning seven seats more than in 2017, it bagged 33.31% vote share, merely an increase of 0.81%. The Maharashtrawadi Gomantak Party’s vote share is down by 3.7 percentage points as it secured 7.6% as against 11.3% in 2017.The Goa Forward Party also registered a drop in vote share as it polled 1.84%, down 1.66 percentage points.The Aam Aadmi Party, which won in two segments, secured 6.77% of the total votes as compared to 6.63% votes in 2017.The Trinamool Congress, which entered Goa’s politics just months ahead of the elections, managed to get 5.21% votes in its favour.The Nationalist Congress Party suffered a loss of 1.16 percentage points as it recorded a 1.14% vote share as against 2.3% in the last elections.Around 1.12% of the electorate opted for NOTA (None of the Above), which is designed to “disapprove” of the contesting candidates, while 19.37% of votes went in favour of “others”, which also include Independents.
Panaji: Goans displayed mixed reactions to family raj politics with the voting pattern showing the electorate giving a 50% score to the six families who contested the 2022 assembly elections.In all, the six families contested elections for 12 seats, making up for 30% of the constituencies.The families comprised power couples Vishwajit Rane and wife Deviya contesting from Valpoi and Poriem constituencies, Antanasio ‘Babush’ Monserrate and Jennifer Monserrate, both from the BJP and contesting from Panaji and Taleigao, and Michael Lobo and Delilah Lobo on Congress ticket from Calangute and Siolim. All the three couples won the elections convincingly. On the other hand, the husband and wife team of Kiran Kandolkar and Kavita Kandolkar, AITC candidates from Aldona and Tivim constituencies, Chandrakant ‘Babu’ Kavlekar and Savitri Kavlekar, BJP and Independent candidates from Quepem and Sanguem constituencies, and the father-daughter duo of Churchill Alemao and Valanka Alemao, AITC candidates from Benaulim and Navelim contituencies, lost the elections.Observers said that while family raj politics in Goa is here to stay, their winning chances depend on their popularity with the voters. Dr. Deviya Rane won with the highest margin because of her father-in-law’s popularity.The Poriem seat is a bastion of former Chief Minister Pratapsingh Rane, who abstained from contesting the elections due to health reasons and vacated the seat for his daughter-in-law, said observers. They added that Jennifer Monserrate is the incumbent MLA of Taleigao and a third-time winner, while Delilah, who won from Siolim, has been nurturing the constituency for some years now.
Panaji: After the High Court upheld the Goa Assembly Speaker’s order dismissing petitions seeking disqualification of the MLAs who joined the BJP, the Congress party on Thursday said that it will challenge the order before the Supreme Court.Goa Pradesh Congress Committee president Girish Chodankar, who is a petitioner in the case, said that the order of the High Court has given power to MLAs to change the mandate of the people.“The order will encourage politics of the Narendra Modi government at the Centre…with the use of money, they can change the mandate of the people. It is against the democratic values. This order is going to set a bad precedent, not only for the Congress but all political parties in the country, as after an election, a few MLAs can come together and make a decision to join another party,” said Chodankar.“The very spirit of the Tenth Schedule (of the Constitution) has been destroyed by this order. The purpose of the Tenth Schedule is to prevent defection and horse trading. It is necessary that this order is challenged, we will challenge it before the Apex Court,” he added.
Panaji: MGP’s Ramkrishna ‘Sudin’ Dhavalikar on Saturday said that health minister Vishwajit Rane and power minister Nilesh Cabral are eligible for the next chief ministership in case BJP forms government. “There is nobody in BJP to match Rane’s and Cabral’s level,” Dhavalikar said, adding that Rane and he meet every three to four days, but that their meeting is not connected with politics. “We have old relations with the Rane family and it should not be linked to politics,” he said. As far as government forming goes, Dhavalikar said that he has made his stand clear on the exclusion of persons with criminal and corruption cases against them. They should be kept aside, he said. The MGP executive committee will meet after March 10 to decide on the new government formation, Dhavalikar said, adding that as they are in alliance with TMC, both parties will sit together and decide on government formation. “This time we will see a change in Goa.” He demanded scrapping of the postal ballot and said that the EVMs should be kept at the mamlatdars’ offices so that on duty officials can cast their vote. Two days should be kept for voting, Dhavalikar said. His demand comes following an allegation that politicians are pressurising and bribing voters to cast their vote in their favour.
Mumbai: Change is the need of the hour, Telangana Chief Minister K. Chandrasekhar Rao and his Maharashtra counterpart Uddhav Thackeray said after the two leaders met here on Sunday as part of efforts to bring together like-minded parties against the BJP at the national level.After a two-hour meeting at ‘Varsha’, the official residence of Maharashtra Chief Minister, the two leaders addressed a pressconference where Rao said this is a “good beginning” and that they will meet again after speaking to leaders of other regional and national parties.“We discussed the political situation, development issues being faced by the country after 75 years of Independence, “ he said.Thackeray, in a veiled attack on the BJP, said the present day “politics of revenge” was neither Hindutva nor Indian culture, and that the situation needed to change.What is the country’s future if such an atmosphere continues, he said, adding that his discussion with Rao revolved around these issues.The country’s development is a priority and even states need to have friendly relations with each other, he said.“The politics of revenge is not good. Instead of speaking on development issues during their tenure, lies and misinformation are spread about the political opponents,” he said, without taking any name.Rao said Thackeray and he agreed that a change was needed in the country.“All should co-exist in harmony,” he said.“We will meet again after speaking to other regional and national parties on the road ahead. The path taken from Maharashtra always leads to success. This is a good beginning and it is a fight for preserving the democracy,” he said.Rao, the founder of the Telangana Rashtra Samiti (TRS), said he has invited Thackeray to Hyderabad.“Telangana and Maharashtra share a 1,000-km border. We need to have friendly relations with each other for the development of both states and the country,” he said.