The exodus of eight Congress MLAs -- Digambar Kamat, Michael Lobo, Aleixo Sequeira, Rodolfo Fernandes, Rajesh Faldessai, Kedar Naik, Sankalp Amonkar and Delilah Lobo -- has left the party in tatters. In the current situation, analysts say, Congress will have to reinvent itself and even then, after the second major setback in just three years, there are no guarantees that it can rise to the top.Digambar KamatA legislator since 1994, he was one of the four BJP MLAs when the saffron party opened its account in the Goa assembly. In 2005, he engineered the collapse of the Manohar Parrikar-led BJP government and returned to Congress. In 2007, he was picked as the chief minister. In February 2014, BJP linked him to the Rs 35,000 crore illegal mining case and Kamat was summoned by the Special Investigation Team (SIT). In the run-up to the 2022 assembly polls, Kamat was the de facto CM candidate of Congress. Michael LoboA three-term MLA, Lobo is a political heavyweight in Bardez. He has been with BJP for over 15 years and was groomed by former chief minister Manohar Parrikar in Calangute. Lobo was the first BJP MLA to quit Pramod Sawant’s cabinet and then join Congress. Though he won the elections, the party did not do well and since then Lobo has been keen to return to the BJP fold. BJP minister Vishwajit Rane had called for an investigation into Lobo’s assets, accusing him of illegal conversion of land. Congress had made him opposition leader in March but within three months the party decided not to continue him in the wake of an unsuccessful attempt to split the party. Read AlsoEight of Cong’s 11 Goa MLAs break away, merge with BJPEight months after they did a run of a temple, a chapel and a mosque taking vows not to defect from Congress and even signing an affidavit pledging their loyalty to the party, eight of the 11 Congress MLAs “merged” the Goa Congress Legislature Party into BJP on Wednesday, taking the saffron party’sAleixo SequeiraA veteran Congressman and a former minister, Sequeira also served as the deputy speaker from July 1999 to November 1999. He was first elected in December 1994 and has been elected for four terms, once unopposed. He was appointed as working president in the run-up to the 2022 assembly polls. He is known to have had cordial relations with former CM Manohar Parrikar. Rodolfo FernandesHe is a first-time MLA and the son of former Congress legislator Victoria ‘Mummy’ Fernandes. He is a relatively new entrant in the Congress camp, joining the party just prior to the 2022 assembly elections. On denial of a party nomination in the past elections, he had contested as an independent. Rajesh FaldessaiA social activist, Faldessai is known to be close to chief minister Pramod Sawant. He is also a first-time MLA and had joined Congress just five months ahead of the assembly elections. He had a miningrelated business in the past. Read AlsoGoa: Cabinet reshuffle soon, Aleixo Sequeira to be made ministerThe Pramod Sawant 2.0 cabinet is expected to be reshuffled within just six months of its formation. After the merger of eight Congress MLAs with BJP on Wednesday, chief minister Pramod Sawant said, "There will be a cabinet reshuffle soon."Kedar NaikNaik is a long-time BJP karyakarta and is the former Reis Magos sarpanch. He joined Congress along with disgruntled BJP supporters in Saligao just a month before the elections after BJP inducted former GFP legislator Jayesh Salgaokar. Naik was earlier keen on contesting the elections on a BJP ticket. Naik won the election with the support of Michael Lobo. Sankalp AmonkarThough a first-time MLA, Amonkar is a veteran Congress worker who has been involved in the party’s organisational affairs for long. Son of a former MLA, Amonkar ran a bruising campaign against his bete noire, Milind Naik, in Mormugao in the run-up to the 2022 polls. Having started as a Youth Congress activist, Amonkar has served as the Congress vice-president in Goa and also held the post of deputy legislature party leader. Read AlsoTOI maps how the saffron hue spread over GoaIn the past three years, Congress has suffered its second bout of rebellion when 8 MLAs joined BJP on Wednesday.Delilah LoboA former Parra sarpanch, Delilah has grown under her husband, Michael Lobo’s shadow. She managed to wrest the Siolim constituency from BJP, allowing the Congress flag to flutter over the constituency. She is the first woman candidate and non-resident of Siolim to be elected from the constituency. Before she joined Congress along with Michael, she was the BJP mahila morcha vice-president.
PANAJI: The three Congress legislators who chose to remain with the party said that despite the pressure tactics and money offered by BJP, they decided to remain faithful to the mandate given to them by their constituencies. The three said they put ethics and their personal principles above the offers that BJP made. Behind the scenes there is a different story. From family pressure to intervention by priests, a lot transpired over the past few weeks. The three MLAs insisted that they chose to remain loyal to the party, but political analysts indicate that there were other considerations. "I am not a commodity to be purchased. I cannot be bought. My parents taught me ethics. The amount of pressure tactics that were used, we have resisted it," Cuncolim MLA Yuri Alemao said. Alemao had to slog to overcome the "outsider" tag while contesting from Cuncolim. The constituency has a sizeable Christian community, which has traditionally been loyal to Congress. Alemao's predecessor, Clafasio Dias, was trounced in February when he contested on a BJP ticket, the electorate making it clear that it was displeased with his move to join BJP along with nine other Congress MLAs in 2019. Quepem MLA Altone D'Costa faced a similar predicament. D'Costa pulled a surprise upset in February when he defeated then deputy chief minister Chandrakant Kavlekar. Kavlekar had led the "merger" of the 10 Congress MLAs in 2019 and despite being backed by the organisational heft of BJP, he was voted out. BJP made several attempts to convince D'Costa to change his colours, but the hotelier-turned-politician decided to remain firm. "I stand by my values and principles which were taught to me by my parents," said D'Costa. "My voters and Congress supporters elected me as the Quepem legislator and today I can look them in the eye confidently and say that I have been loyal. I am a principled man, a god-fearing man and I am satisfied that I stood by my principles." Both Alemao and D'Costa have age on their side and given that this is their first term, the two were wary about earning the ire of their voters, who are largely Christians. Aldona MLA Carlos Ferreira also remained with Congress. His name featured in discussions prior to the monsoon assembly elections when indications first emerged that Congress MLAs were planning to switch sides. When asked about his name surfacing in the initial list of Congress legislators who were about to desert the party, Ferreira said it was a diversion tactic. "In the art of war, you always pretend that you are attacking one side, while you work on the other side," Ferreira said. According to sources, Ferreira's family was the first to balk at the suggestion that he was open to joining the saffron camp. Locals in Aldona state that several priests reached out to the former advocate general and convinced him that he would be committing hara kiri if he joined BJP.
MARGAO: In February 2005, Digambar Kamat quit BJP, complaining of ghusmatmar (suffocation) within the party despite being considered the no. 2 in the Manohar Parrikar-led government. Seventeen years later-a period which includes a stint as chief minister of a Congress government for a full five-year term (2007-12), and leader of opposition in the last assembly-the veteran Congressman, claiming to be "retired hurt" for being ignored for the post of legislature party leader or party president, made a comeback to don his saffron avatar. Kamat, now 68, was among the four BJP MLAs who won the assembly elections in 1994, helping the saffron party make its debut in the state legislative assembly-Manohar Parrikar (Panaji), Shripad Naik (Madkai), and Narhari Haldankar (Valpoi) were the other three. Since then, a major part of Kamat’s political career was with Congress and he never lost an election from his Margao constituency. Kamat’s resignation from BJP in February 2005, coming as it did ahead of the crucial trial of strength in the assembly, was a body blow to Parrikar, as it led to the fall of his government. Kamat joined Congress and served as the state’s minister for power, urban development, mines, and art and culture in the Pratapsingh Rane government. After becoming the “compromise” choice for chief minister — the party was torn between Ravi Naik or Rane — Kamat steered the Congress government from 2007 to 2012. Though Kamat provided a stable government between 2007 and 2012, accusations of corruption in two high-profile cases left a blot on his political career. In February 2014, Kamat was summoned by the special investigation team (SIT) probing the Rs 35,000 crore illegal mining case and quizzed for almost 90 minutes. The BJP-government had filed an FIR against unknown people in the mining case. Though BJP was keen to avenge Parrikar’s “betrayal” by Kamat by wresting the Margao seat from him, a task that remained unfulfilled, Kamat’s name invariably figured whenever any attempts at defection by Congress MLAs to BJP did the rounds. He would dismiss them as “baseless rumours”. “If anybody had hurt Manoharbhai the most,” BJP state president Sadanand Shet Tanavade had said ahead of 2022 assembly elections, “it was Digambar Kamat. And it was his resolve to defeat Digambar one day.” Aware of the resistance to his comeback moves from local party leadership, sources said Kamat leveraged his political acumen and inter-personal rapport to obtain the nod of BJP’s central leadership for the switch. Kamat, addressing his supporters outside his Malbhat-Margao house on Wednesday , alluded to just that. Attempting to counter jibes thrown at him for reneging on the loyalty pledges the Congress MLAs had made before the gods before elections, Kamat said he obtained his gods’ “approval and support” before making the latest move. Significantly, speculations were also rife during the period of Parrikar’s illness that Kamat could be the man to succeed him. As Pramod Sawant took on the CM’s mantle, Kamat had to wait for three years after Parrikar’s death to make ahomecoming. “BJP is not new to me,” Kamat told his supporters. “My voters have voted for Digambar Kamat, irrespective of my party affiliations.” As Kamat praised Modi-Shah model of development, his crowd of supporters erupted in cheers, “Bharatiya Janata Party-cha vijai aso (victory be to BJP)”. In the BJP camp, however, the silence was deafening.
PANAJI: The brazenness with which 10 Congress legislators merged into BJP in 2019 and another eight on Wednesday may have been the talking point across the country, but Goa's politics has been riddled with defections, splits and mergers for more than 50 years. In July 1970, seven MGP legislators, which included two of the four cabinet ministers-Anthony D'Souza and Gopal Mayenkar-decided to put an end to the supposedly autocratic functioning of chief minister Dayanand Bandodkar. They broke away and formed the Nava-MGP. Bandodkar saw his government being reduced to a minority with the revolt, but Goa's first chief minister swung into action and saved his party by getting five MLAs from United Goans Party (UGP) to switch sides. His daughter, Shashikala Kakodkar, who succeeded him after his death while still holding office in 1973, also faced a revolt when Dayanand Narvekar and Dilkush Desai walked out. She was, however, saved by a vote from Daman when there was a tie while voting on the budget. Four years after liberated Goa faced its first election in 1963, and months before it was to hold its second polls in 1967, there was a split too. Six of the 12 UGP MLAs protested against the unilateral decision of its leader Jack Sequeira to agree on a Merger, Yes or No, rather than Merger or Statehood, and split from the party to form UGP-Furtado group. “The history of defections in Goa is so rich that I may have to write a special book on it,” Sandesh Prabhudesai notes in his book Ajeeb Goa’s Gajab Politics. Much of Prabhudesai’s defection stance appears to have the unstable and unsavoury 1990 to 2002 period in mind. A majority of legislators in the ninth assembly, elected in 1999, he says, were habitual defectors. “From 1990 to 2002, after which started the BJP era, Goa had 13 chief ministers in three assemblies. In these 12 years, defections took place 21 times and the number of defectors was 80,” he wrote. A large chunk of these defectors defected twice in these 12 years. “BJP, in 1999, had 10 MLAs in the beginning. When the then CM Manohar Parrikar had suddenly dissolved the assembly prematurely (in 2002), the saffron party had 11 defectors with them, more than their own party men. Similarly, in 2017, people had elected only 13 saffronites, and as Goa went to polls (in 2022) there were 27, more than double,” said Prabhudesai. In 2019, Atanasio Monseratte led nine other Congress MLAs into BJP. On Wednesday, the inevitable happened as Digambar Kamat, a former Congress chief minister, returned to the saffron party, along with leader of opposition Michael Lobo and six others. The two mergers, though, were not the biggest party splits in the state’s political history. That happened in 1999, ironically also involving Congress. Five months after he took charge as chief minister, Luizinho Faleiro’s government was reduced to a minority after 11 MLAs led by health minister Francisco Sardinha walked out, reducing the 26-member Congress legislative party to just 15. Sardinha formed Indian National Congress-FS, and supported by Manohar Parrikar-led BJP, became chief minister for the first time. In less than a year, when Sardinha was away in Australia, Parrikar pulled the plug on the government to have a BJP government in place for the first time and realise his ambition of becoming the chief minister himself. At a time when defections were the order of the day, the Anti-Defection Act was amended in 2003. The law made it mandatory for a merger to have two-third majority, rather than onethird. Anything less, and there would be a by-election. But almost 20 years later, nothing seems to have changed. Whether it’s minutes after taking oath as MLA, like Vishwajit Rane in 2017, or months, like the eight Congress MLAs on Wednesday, nothing can deter legislators from switching sides.
Canacona: Following public outcry, the accident-prone road crossing at Colsor-Galgibaga on the Manohar Parrikar Canacona bypass has been closed for works to prevent mishaps. In the three years since the commissioning of the road there have been 15 accidents at the spot, which resulted in two deaths besides leaving several injured.Road contractor M Venkata Rao Infra Project Pvt Ltd is erecting a 22m-long road divider near the Hotel Matashri at Colsar-Galgibaga under the supervision of the PWD (Highways).PWD (Highway) junior engineer Nagraj Adpaikar who is supervising the works said that the contractor is bearing the construction costs. MVR, which has constructed the nearly 8km four lane expressway from Char-Rasta to Mashem, will carry out the maintenance works for four years.Sources said that the original drawings of the expressway had no provision for a road crossing. However, one was made near Hotel Matoshree, which eventually led to the spot becoming accident prone.
Panaji: AAP on Thursday blamed the state government and chief minister Pramod Sawant for 23 schools closing since 2019, while criticising the government’s move to merge schools.AAP Goa’s vice-president Ramrao Wagh said that Sawant’s thoughtless actions are destroying the legacy of former chief ministers Bhausaheb Bandodkar and Manohar Parrikar who worked to secure the future of Goan youth through their emphasis on accessible and quality education for all.Party vice-president Pratima Coutinho said the recent decision to merge more than 200 single-teacher primary schools with nearby schools, as well directing high schools and higher secondary schools to adopt an anganwadi in their vicinity, were nothing but knee-jerk reactions to critical reports and information highlighting the failure of the BJP government in the education sector such as the recent CAG report, the National Achievement Survey Report, and Unesco’s State of Education report.
Calangute: Artistic figures and other decorative items recently installed at the entrance of Candolim beach are being vandalised by unidentified miscreants, say tourism stakeholders. A statue of a local fisherman holding a fish in his hand is now missing the fish now no longer has the fish. On the other side is a fisherwoman with a basket of fish, while there are two mermaids atop the two gate-posts, all of them largely intact. A side-view mirror of a colourful jeep mounted on the roundabout in front of the entrance has been knocked off, locals said. “There is need for some security and maintenance at the entrance so that these items are not damaged further and also to stop tourists from taking their vehicles on the beach through the gate,” a local vendor Damien Teles said. The beachfront had been beautified as part of the Candolim beach promenade development, the foundation stone for which was laid by former chief minister Manohar Parrikar way back in June 2014.
Margao: Janardhan Bhandari, general secretary, Goa Pradesh Congress Committee on Friday submitted a memorandum to Union minister for road transport and highway Nitin Gadkari, chief minister Pramod Sawant, PWD minister Nilesh Cabral, opposition leader Michael Lobo, and other authorities bringing to their attention the “pathetic” condition of the Margao-Polem highway. Bhandari, through the memorandum, has placed 15 demands to make the Margao-Canacona highway smooth for traffic. The memorandum demands for checking of road feasibility, immediate hot-mixing of old and new NH 66 (Margao to Canacona, Canacona to Polem and Manohar Parrikar bypass road), installation of speed breakers, implementation of speed limit, displaying of traffic signages, repair of roadside shoulders, clearing trees on the highways, ensuring functioning of street lights from Margao to Polem, parking hub for heavy vehicles, among others.
Colva: Additional sessions judge Vincent D’Silva on Thursday allowed an application filed on behalf of minister and Dabolim BJP MLA Mauvin Godinho seeking exemption from appearing before the court in a corruption case filed against him in the alleged power rebate scandal. The case is now posted for April 7. The crime branch had filed the case against Godinho, who was then former power minister, T Nagarajan, then chief electrical engineer, late V S Bandary, then managing director of Mormugao Steel Ltd, R K Radhakrishna, then executive director, Mormugao Steel and K V S Krishnakumar, then general manager of Glass Fibre division of Binani Zinc Ltd. Earlier, the high court of Bombay at Goa directed the court to expedite the pending case and conclude the recording of evidence within one year. In 1998, former chief minister Manohar Parrikar had exposed the Rs 4.5 crore scam and an FIR was registered with the crime branch against Godinho, who part of the Congress government. An offence was registered against the accused for alleged criminal breach of trust, cheating, forgery, conspiracy and criminal misconduct by a public servant. In 2006, a special court after perusing the chargesheet directed framing of charges against the accused. Subsequently, in 2007, the high court ruled that prima facie there was material on record to frame charges for corruption against the accused. In 2018, the Supreme Court upheld the high court order to proceed with the trial against the accused. Godinho was absent at Thursday’s hearing, while Nagarajan, Radhakrishna and Krishnakumar were present in court. In 1998, former chief minister Manohar Parrikar had exposed the Rs 4.5 crore scam and an FIR was registered with the crime branch against Godinho, who part of the Congress government. An offence was registered against the accused for alleged criminal breach of trust, cheating, forgery, conspiracy and criminal misconduct by a public servant
Staff ReporterMapusaThe contribution of former defence minister late Manohar Parrikar to our country and state will always be remembered and will be an inspiration to everyone, said Mapusa MLA Joshua D’Souza after paying floral tributes on the occasion of the third death anniversary of late Manohar Parrikar at BJP officein Mapusa.Joshua said, “Manohar Parrikar has reached one of the highest positions in the country and his contribution towards Goa will always be remembered. He was a true Goan and his contribution towards development of Goa is incomparable with the simplicity he had.”
Panaji: The state led by caretaker chief minister Pramod Sawant paid tributes to former chief minister Manohar Parrikar on his third death anniversary at his memorial at Miramar. Parrikar was the longest serving BJP chief minister of Goa and he represented Panaji constituency. Sawant said that Parrikar will always be remembered for the infrastructure development in the state. He said that it had been three years since Parrikar passed away but “we remember him due to the work done by him”. The caretaker chief minister said that Parrikar will continue to remain in the hearts of the people because of his work and due to the third Mandovi bridge. Soon the third arm of Atal Setu will be completed, he added. Sawant was accompanied by Panaji MLA Atanasio Monserrate, Parrikar’s son Utpal, Tivim MLA Nilkant Halarnkar, Bicholim MLA Chandrakant Shetye and BJP state president Sadanand Shet Tanavade, among others. Monserrate said that he had come to pay tributes and pray that Parrikar’s soul rests in peace. Later, Valpoi MLA Vishwajit Rane also paid tributes. Rane said that Goa misses Parrikar who helped BJP rise in Goa.
MARGAO: The BJP camp in Salcete is upbeat. By winning the Navelim seat, the party has achieved, albeit in part, what Manohar Parrikar’s famed Mission Salcete was aimed at — making inroads in the Catholic dominated Salcete taluka. BJP had contested in all 8 constituencies of Salcete this time, unlike in the previous two elections where it had supported independents or fringe outfits in an attempt to gain a foothold in what was previously the Congress citadel. Ulhas Tuenkar turned out to be the only BJP candidate to win in Salcete. “What makes the Navelim victory sweeter for BJP,” a source in the BJP camp said, “is the fact that Ulhas is from among the BJP cadre, a true homebred karyakarta.” Tuenkar’s victory has now fuelled demands for a ministerial berth for the loyal grassroots worker. Tuemkar turned out to be a dark horse in Navelim constituency defeating his nearest rival TMC’s Valanka Alemao by 430 votes. BJP’s final tally in Navelim was determined largely on the strength of Tuenkar’s personal appeal in addition to BJP party’s traditional votes, political sources said.
Among the surprise losses were those of MGP candidate Deepak Dhavalikar and TMC nominees Churchill Alemao and ValankaAbdul Wahab KhanPanaji: On several seats, a neck-to-neck fight between candidates, representing various political parties and Independents, resulted in the defeat of popular faces, while some, including Chief Minister Pramod Sawant, won with a low margin. It was a close contest for Sawant as in early trends he trailed behind Congress candidate Dharmesh Saglani only to catch up later and emerge victorious with a margin of 666 votes.The chief ministerial candidate of the AAP, Amit Palekar, who contested for the first time after beginning his political career, lost to Congress candidate Rudolf Fernandes by over 2,000 votes in the St. Cruz constituency.Palekar had gained fame during the peak of the protest against the Old Goa controversial structure, during which he had resorted to a hunger strike.The Maharashtrawadi Gomantak Party (MGP) secured two seats, reduced from three in previous assembly elections. MGP leader Ramakrishna ‘Sudin’ Dhavalikar won with the third highest margin of 9,963 votes but his brother Deepak Dhavalikar faced defeat from Govind Gaude, who won by a margin of 213 votes.Former Congressman and BJP candidate Ravi Naik won with a slender margin of 77 votes against MGP candidate Ketan Bhatikar.Three former MLAs — Ramesh Tawadkar, Ganesh Gaonkar and Subhash Phaldesai — made a comeback after defeating their rivals with a margin ranging between 1,000 and 5,000 votes.The Revolutionary Goans Party made its debut by winning the St. Andre seat with its candidate securing a slim margin of victory against BJP candidate Francisco Silveira.Similarly, the AAP made its debut with Cruz Silva winning from Velim, defeating candidates like Benjamin Silva and Filipe Nery Rodrigues, who had defected and joined the BJP in 2019.The father-daughter duo of Churchill Alemao and Valanka Alemao lost the polls. The former Chief Minister and ex-MP Alemao, who contested on a TMC ticket, lost to the AAP’s Venzy Viegas in Benaulim, while Valanka got defeated by BJP’s Ulhas Tuenkar in Navelim.The dent to Manohar Parrikar’s legacy came with the defeat of Utpal Parrikar. Utpal contested as an Independent candidate from Panaji constituency, which was his father’s stronghold. Manohar Parrikar represented the seat from 1994 till his death.Utpal put up a tough fight to the strong contenders of the BJP and the Congress but lost to BJP’s Atanasio ‘Babush’ Monserrate, who had quit the Congress in 2019 to join the BJP.It was a historical opening for the BJP in Taleigao as Monserrate’s wife Jeniffer won from seat as a BJP candidate. The BJP had never won in Taleigao in the past. In 2017, Jennifer Monserrate polled 11,389 (51.19%) votes, winning by a margin of 2,853 votes. In 2012, Jennifer got 10,682 (50.88%) votes against BJP candidate Dattaprasad Naik. However, this time her vote share reduced to 9,915 votes, with Congress candidate and Atanasio’s former aide, Tony Fernandes, securing 7,980 votes.BJP’s Vishwajit Rane and his wife Deviya won from Valpoi and Poriem assembly constituencies respectively with huge margins.Michael Lobo, who quit the BJP to join the Congress, won by a margin of above 4,500 votes and helped the Congress to win in the Aldona, Saligao and Siolim seats.
Panaji: Irked with the rampant corruption and slow approval process, entrepreneurs from the state want the next government to implement the Goa (Right of Citizens to Time-Bound Delivery of Public Services) Act, 2013, including imposition of stringent penalties on government employees for delays. With the election results set to be declared on March 10, industrialists are preparing a set of recommendations for the new government with the demand for time-bound services featuring prominently on the list. In 2018, then chief minister Manohar Parrikar had promised that the legislation, commonly known as the Public Service Guarantee Act would be fully implemented and all applications will be processed within 30 days. However citizen-centric services as well as industrial approvals take as long as six to 12 months for clearance, say government officials and Goa Inc. “The act has been made in Goa but there is no penalty for it in Goa and it has become defunct. It should be made universally applicable to all services,” said president of manufacturing association for information technology, Nitin Kunkolienker. The legislation was passed by the state assembly in 2013 but was never made applicable to all departments. Most importantly, though the law speaks about imposing fines up to Rs 2,500 on any government officer who fails to provide the public service to eligible persons, the clause was never implemented. “Directions should be given to all heads of departments to implement the act. The act should be notified in its entirety across all the departments, including penalties for delays as currently it is partially operational. Issuance of various certificates, granting permissions, disbursement of claims and compensations, construction permissions and renewals should be brought under the purview of the act. The rules and regulations under the act should be notified soon with stringent penalties imposed on government staff for delaying services,” said Goa state industries association president Damodar Kochkar. The private sector has also red-flagged the current practice to sending all files to the minister in-charge and the chief minister for clearance. The private sector wants this practice to stop as it has become a source for harassment and corruption. “Things have to change and some system has to be made. Otherwise corruption will not end.,” Kunkolienker said. In 2018, then CM Manohar Parrikar had promised that the legislation, commonly known as the Public Service Guarantee Act would be fully implemented by the government and all applications will be processed within 30 days. However citizen-centric services as well as industrial approvals take as long as six to 12 months for clearance, say government officials and Goa Inc
Margao/Canacona: Irate residents of Canacona led by Janardhan Bhandari, who contested the February 14 assembly elections on Congress ticket from Canacona, gheraoed the PWD executive engineer Dattaprasad Kamat and demanded that all pending road works on NH 66, including the newly-built Manohar Parrikar bypass at Canacona be started. They have warned of resorting to rasta roko at Canacona and at several places along the highway on March 1 if the works don’t start by then. Later speaking to reporters, Bhandari said that regular commuters from Canacona to Margao have to face hardships owing to the bad condition of the highway at several places. “The PWD had issued the work order to a contractor in October last year, but the work is yet to be commenced. Such is the audacity of the contractor that he has failed to reply to the letters written to him by the PWD engineer for not starting the work,” Bhandari said. GFP’s Prashant Naik, who was also among the protesters, said that accidents on the Manohar Parrikar bypass road have become an almost daily feature. “The Manohar Parrikar bypass has become a death trap, particularly for two-wheeler riders,” he said. Kamat told reporters that he had already given an ultimatum of 10 days to the contractor to start the work.
Panaji: Congress distanced itself from South Goa MP Francisco Sardinha’s distasteful remarks about former chief minister Manohar Parrikar, with state party president Girish Chodankar saying that Congress does not endorse the remarks. Addressing a political rally at Curchorem and in the presence of Rahul Gandhi, Sardinha said, “People in old age want a pain free death. But Parrikar got a painful death with tubes in his nose.” Sardinha went on to call Parrikar a liar. “Goa Pradesh Congress commitee does not endorse the statements of the South Goa MP on Manohar Parrikar. Those are his personal statements and our party does not support those statements,” said Chodankar. Earlier, former finance minister P Chidambaram had also said that Congress does not “speak about those who have passed away”
Staff ReporterPanajiThe independent candidate from Panaji and the son of former chief minister Manohar Parrikar, on Thursday, said that now he can feel a sense of why his father felt such an immense sense of love, attachment and pride about the (Panaji) constituency and its residents.Late Manohar Parrikar was elected as the MLA of Panaji constituency on six occasions since 1994, when he won it for the first time defeating a Congress candidate.in his post-poll message to Ponjekars – the residents of Panaji – said that “Today, after receiving such tremendous support from across Panaji for the Goa assembly elections 2022, I am greatly humbled by the experience.”The post-poll message released on various social media platforms further stated, “I thank each and every Ponjekar who voted for me and blessed me with their unflinching support.”“I also take this opportunity to thank all my supporters and the volunteers who worked tirelessly throughout the campaign often using their own resources and for not bowing down to pressure from various vested interests,” it added.The message further said, “To my detractors and critics, I say thank you for having spurred me to put in even more effort to be the best version of myself and for strengthening my resolve to pick up the baton from where my late father left it, to ensure that his vision and dream for Panaji isrealised.”Utpal has contested the recently conducted state assembly polls as an independent candidate from Panaji, after the Bharatiya Janata Party refused him the candidature. He was pitted against the sitting MLA Atanasio ‘Babush’ Monserrate.
Pramod Sawant has been fighting several battles since taking over as chief minister, following the death of Manohar Parrikar in March 2019. As BJP goes to polls under his leadership, Sawant explains to TOI some of his decisions and remains confident that the party will form the government again How difficult is it for you to face the elections without Manohar Parrikar? Every leader has his speciality. It is true that Manohar Parrikar was our big leader. His speciality was of a different kind. In my own way, I am managing my politics. I am giving responsibilities and decentralising. So many people have taken responsibility on their own and they have started with their work. I am very confident that this time we will get good results. For zilla panchayat election, people had told us that it wouldn’t be possible for us. No one had imagined (the results). And I am saying that history will repeat. You will be surprised but I am confident that we will get Navelim as well as Cuncolim (among the new seats in 2022). From 13, you had 27 MLAs. What is your experience with them? If they were from our own party, it wouldn't have been difficult for me. They came from different parties, but I have managed to keep them together. BJP has been referring to Parrikar’s legacy and his dream of Golden Goa. How do you propose to continue his legacy? When we work towards fulfilling Parrikar's dream of Golden Goa, the state has to become swayampurna (self-sustained) which is more important. If it becomes swayampurna, our economy will remain with us. Crores of rupees are going to other states everyday for commodities like vegetables, flowers, fruits, etc. Wherever it is possible to keep it for us, we can do it. Hence, I am making efforts to make it swayampurna. Do you think BJP has moved away from Parrikar’s brand of politics and ideals, including coalition dharma? Wasn't (Atanasio) Monserrate a minister in Parrikar’s government? Digambar Kamat was a minister in his government. Filipe Nery was a minister. Except Chandrakant Kavlekar, all were cabinet ministers in his government. On the contrary, you should appreciate me for getting the Opposition leader himself into my camp. It is my capacity to get him this side and make him deputy CM. It is my organisational skills with which I managed. You should also look at which candidates were given tickets in 2012. Who were originally from the party? Was Ganesh Gaonkar from BJP? Was Nilesh Cabral from the party? Then why accuse me now? I am not a big leader like Parrikar, I am a karyakarta, and these decisions are not taken by me. It is a collective decision and I am owning it being the leader. But picture is different from what is being portrayed. I feel leaders like (Laxmikant) Parsekar have moved from party’s ideology. Is there a failure on the part of the party to convince Parsekar, Utpal Parrikar and Michael Lobo to stay back with BJP? They started feeling that they are greater than the party. That's why they have moved away. When one feels that he is greater than the party, such things happen. Whether it’s Parsekar, Utpal or Lobo, we made efforts to make them stay with the party. But they either felt greater than the party or had selfish reasons to leave. Why was Monserrate chosen over Utpal for Panaji ticket? Is it because of Monserrate’s influence over Tiswadi? Not because of Tiswadi. He is the sitting MLA. People got him elected in 2019. If there are allegations (against him), then people have (still) elected him. He is acceptable to the people. How do you look at karyakartas being hurt? The charge against BJP now is that the party imported candidates and there is Congressisation of BJP? Congressisation of BJP has never happened. BJP is original. Some of the karyakartas are hurt, but if the organisation has to run effectively, then there has to be a proper government in place. So, these are the decisions taken to provide a stable government. You also provided tickets to husband and wife… We have given ticket to only one couple (Vishwajit and Deviya Rane). It was an exception as it was in their family. In the post-poll scenario, in case BJP falls short of MLAs, will you approach MGP or any other party? We will not need to take anyone from MGP. Only one seat of MGP will get elected. We will get 22 seats and one or two independents who get elected will extend their support to us. I am 100 per cent sure that we will get elected with a majority. During the peak of the second wave of Covid-19 and even the first wave, you defied all logical wisdom and even advice from the Prime Minister to get the health infrastructure ready, including supply of oxygen. Instead, there was shifting of blame between you and the health minister. Your comments... I have always fought the situation on the front-foot. I always stood with them. Whatever infrastructure was needed, right from setting up the oxygen plant to visiting the hospitals, everything was done, and people are aware of how I worked during Covid times. Whatever opinion one may have, there are no differences between me and the health minister. The Bombay high court apologised to the people of Goa for over 1,000 deaths, especially those due to inadequate and timely supply of oxygen, that happened during the second Covid wave. The court said despite having a 13-member cabinet and 25 IAS officers, the state could not save the lives of Goans. Would you apologise to Goans for loss of lives during Covid, especially due to oxygen shortage? I am sympathetic and sad over the deaths during Covid. It is not directly a blame on the government. We have given the best infrastructure facilities and manpower to the people. Finally, it is up to the doctors how it is handled. But the situation was bad with oxygen shortage across the country for three-four days. We have said it earlier also that it should not have happened. You speak of protecting the environment, but on the other hand, you are allowing the three linear projects to cut across the green lung of Goa, the biodiversity hotspot of Mollem, and destroy endemic species. How do you explain the contradictory stance, and in your view, is destroying the environment for development the right approach? There was a similar protest when Konkan Railway project was proposed in Goa. People were opposing then too over biodiversity. Goa has reached the third position from the earlier seventh in sustainable development. We will go ahead as per court order, taking all precautions. It is needed for future growth. Will you review these projects? Yes, of course. The proposal for expansion of national highway, by taking all precautions, has gone to central empowered committee of ministry of forest and environment for clearance. The Supreme Court committee has kept double tracking project on hold. They have asked us to lay power line on existing line which is not possible as it will result in further damage. We have again asked for revision. It is up to the court. Infrastructure is required for the future of Goa.
Panaji: Union minister for women and child development, Smriti Irani, on Friday said Congress has enslaved its own candidates by making them take an oath to not defect from the party. “Congress, which enslaves its own candidates by making them take an oath, cannot serve the people and provide development in a democratic way. For the first time in their lives, 2.6 lakh people in Goa received clean tap water under BJP. Another one lakh received electricity connections for the first time because of the BJP government. Those who call BJP communal should know that electricity was not given on the basis of the beneficiary’s religion and creed,” Irani said. She said Congress also tried to poach BJP’s Margao candidate Manohar ‘Babu’ Ajgaonkar. “Babu bhai, I heard that Congress approached you. Congress is such that it cannot win elections on its own. Its leadership is such that they come to Goa and ask candidates to take an oath that they will not leave. If they do not trust their own candidates, why should voters trust their candidates?” Irani said. She also said that before voting on Monday, Goans should remember that Congress scion Rahul Gandhi had questioned the integrity of former CM Manohar Parrikar. “It is a thing of pride for the nation that Manohar Parrikar was its defence minister. It is under his leadership, under PM Narendra Modi, that Pakistan was made to bite the dust when it set its sights on Indian territory. When the country was united and Modi was praising Parrikar, Rahul Gandhi raised questions on Parrikar’s integrity. That is why I say vote in Parrikar’s memory, for India’s pride,” said Irani. She further claimed that parties like AAP have tried to stop development works from progressing in Goa.
Panaji: PM Modi said here on Thursday that Goa has played a crucial role in his journey towards the position he has reached today. “I was declared the PM candidate by BJP in Goa and my phrase ‘Congress Mukt Bharat’, which has been made a mission by each citizen of this country, was also inspired in Goa,” Modi said at a public rally in Mapusa. “Dev Bodgeshwar (considered as the guardian of Mapusa) has blessed me immensely and the land of Goa remained crucial in some of the most important milestones of my life,” he said. “Today, you see me in this role. Its beginning was made from Goa.” He said it was in June 2013 that BJP's karya sammiti met in Goa and declared him as the campaign chief for the 2014 Lok Sabha elections. “Later, I was also declared the PM candidate,” he said. Modi said it was at a meeting organised by former chief minister Manohar Parrikar, while interacting with Goans he uttered the phrase ‘Congress Mukt Bharat’. “It came from an inspiration from the pure souls that have blessed this land,” he said. The PM said though Goa has its unique culture and identity, the previous governments did not care for it. “Those who do not care for this culture had turned Goa into an ATM for their loot. But BJP gave Goa the mantra of swayampurna Goa and called for equality in the progress of Goa. Development cannot be divided into pieces on the basis of caste, creed, language and region,” Modi said. He said an equal number of developmental works were carried out in North Goa and South Goa. He invoked the memory of Parrikar and former deputy CM of Goa and long-time Mapusa MLA Francis D’Souza. “Whenever I come to Goa, I always feel the absence of my friend Manohar Parrikar. Goans must be feeling this void even more. I also recall the memory of BJP’s senior leader late Francis D’Souza, with whom I got an opportunity to work. Francis D’Souza remained a true representative of Goan culture and ideology of BJP,” Modi said. He also said that with every visit to Goa he is filled with a new energy. “I am filled with a new energy after coming to Goa each time. There is something in the very air in this place,” Modi said.
Party manifesto assures 3 free LPG cylinders for each householdPanaji: Assuring to make Goa a $50-billion economy, Union Minister for Road Transport and Highways Nitin Gadkari on Tuesday released Sankalp Patra 2022 – the manifesto of the Bharatiya Janata Party for the state assembly elections – which among other things promised every household in the state three free LPG cylinders, no hike in the state duties on petrol and diesel for next three years and restarting mining operations within six months of forming government, if it returns to power.Union Minister Shripad Naik, Chief Minister Pramod Sawant, state BJP president Sadanand Tanawade and state election in-charge of the party Devendra Fadnavis were present on the occasion.The manifesto further assured to introduce Manohar Parrikar Kalyan Fund, which will be a common development fund of up to `3 crore for every panchayat and up to `5 crore for every municipality to boost the infrastructure.It also promised provision of good quality housing for all Goans in the next five years by providing home loans for deserving families at an interest rate of 2% for women and 4% for men, as also developing and providing residential plots.Among other assurances in the manifesto are making Goa a hub for meetings, conventions and exhibitions (Mice) of Asia and boosting the tourism sector – doubling of number of annual tourist arrivals in the next five years by harnessing the potential for inland tourism and medical tourism, promotion of heritage and spiritual tourism and augmentation of the current infrastructure around adventure sports and beach tourism.Touching upon the education sector, the manifesto pledged that every school will be equipped with a smart classroom aided with a high-speed Internet connection to create an interactive learning environment, besides introduction of a Desh-Seva curriculum in schools, especially focused on national andGoan heroes. The documents promised launch of Mission Kaushal programme to focus on integrated skilling and vocational education from Grade 6 to Grade 12 in both government and private schools, augmentation of the Manohar Parrikar Scholarship to support Goan students who get admission to the top 100 universities in the world, and hike in the financial assistance for higher education of students with exemplary academic performance.As per the manifesto, 30 more Atal Tinkering Labs will be set up under the Atal Innovation Mission initiative started by the central government.As regards health facilities, the BJP manifesto stated that the scope of the insurance cover under Deen Dayal Swasthya Seva Yojana will be doubled in a phased manner. It also promised establishment of Manohar Parrikar Centre for Cancer Research for providing research and healthcare facilities for cancer patients across the state.In the area of sports, the manifesto promised launching of Mission Gold Coast to mould an Olympic gold medalist for India from Goa, construction of an international class football stadium, and setting up of a football coaching centre through the Goa Football Development Council.Tanawade, in the preface of the manifesto said, “We are putting forth today our Sankalp for a Swayampurna Goa, a list of 22 Sankalpas that cover all major sectors and lay a path forward for Goa.”Addressing media persons, Gadkari dismissed the Congress assurance of capping the rate of petrol in Goa at the rate of `80 per litre as well as promise of the Aam Aadmi Party to start mohalla clinics in the state.“The central government has taken a decision to use flex engines in two, three and four wheelers in the near future,” Gadkari disclosed, adding that these engines can use both, petrol or bio-ethanol, which will reduce the demand for petrol.“And then ethanol, which costs only `62 could be used to run these vehicles,” he noted, remarking that therefore the Congress assurance has no standing.Gadkari also said the mohalla clinic is obsolete in a state like Goa, which gives five-star medical treatment to Goans for all illnesses.The Union Minister maintained that there is absolutely no anti-incumbency for the government as the Sawant government has accomplished a lot of developmental works, which in turn would be converted into positive votes for the party.He maintained that Sawant has picked up the speed of Manohar Parrikar in running the administration.Speaking on the occasion, the Chief Minister said the mining in Goa will commence within six months through the Goa Mining Development Corporation, and auction of iron ore blocks through transparent leasing, and by following the due process of law.He also said that Goa in the next 10 years will become a $50-billion economy.Maintaining that the BJP governments over the last 10 years have fulfilled 80% of its assurances made in the past manifestos, Sawant challenged the Congress leader Digambar Kamat to come out with the information as to how many assurances in his party’s manifesto for the 2007 state assembly polls were fulfilled by his government.Tanawade informed that the BJP manifesto has included some suggestions from public, which were received through 8,500 SMSs and 10,000 e-mails.
Panaji: BJP on Tuesday promised not to increase state duties on petrol and diesel for the next three years, give three free LPG cylinders a year to every household in Goa, and increase the pension under the Dayanand Samajik Surkasha Yojana (DSSY) to Rs 3,000. The assurance on fuel comes in the backdrop of severe criticism BJP is facing over the increase in prices of LPG cylinders, petrol, and diesel over the years, and also that the Congress manifesto promises to cap petrol at Rs 80 per litre. In what could be termed as old wine in a new bottle, BJP has once again promised to resume mining activities within six months of forming the government. “Within six months of forming the government, we will revive mining in the state through the Goa Mineral Development Corporation and undertake the auction of iron ore blocks through transparent leasing and following due process of law,” the 22-point manifesto, released by Union transport minister Nitin Gadkari, said. With its manifesto, BJP has tried to reach out to all sections of society—women, government employees, sportspersons, police, persons with disabilities (PwDs), senior citizens, entrepreneurs, farmers, fishermen, and youth. The manifesto also promised to provide “good quality housing” for all Goans in the next five years by providing home loans for deserving families at an interest rate of 2% for women and 4% for men and developing and providing residential plots. To boost infrastructure, BJP promised to introduce the Manohar Parrikar Kalyan Fund, which will provide for a common development fund up to Rs 3 crore for every panchayat and up to Rs 5 crore for every municipality. BJP also promised to double the number of annual tourist arrivals in the state in the next five years by harnessing the potential for inland tourism, medical tourism and promoting heritage and spiritual tourism, while augmenting the current infrastructure around adventure sports and beach tourism. “We will introduce a homestay scheme which will provide an interest-free loan of Rs 5 lakh and training for local residents of Goa wishing to provide homestay facilities. We will make Goa the meetings, conventions and exhibitions hub (MICE) of Asia, further boosting the tourism sector,” the BJP manifesto said. The party has also promised to propel Goa to a growth trajectory that will enable the state to become a $50 billion economy in the next 10 years. “We shall build a world class eco-friendly transportation infrastructure for Goa. We will reduce end-to-end travel time to less than an hour by harnessing the state’s inland waterways for both passenger and cargo transportation,” the manifesto said. BJP also promised to establish a new international football stadium and a football academy with a world-renowned coach in the state and host the FIFA U-20 World Cup in the coming years. In all, BJP had received 10,000 suggestions for preparation of the manifesto, of which 8,500 suggestions were received through SMS. “We will be able to fulfil former chief minister Manohar Parrikar’s dream of ‘Golden Goa’ through this manifesto,” state president Sadanand Shet Tanavade said. Chief minister Pramod Sawant said BJP has fulfilled 80% of the assurances given in earlier manifestos. He said BJP will try to provide alternate sources of fuel so that there will be no need to reduce prices on petrol and diesel, or even use them. Sawant also challenged former Congress chief minister Digambar Kamat to submit a report card of the assurances given in Congress’ manifesto in 2007. “We will complete Sankalp patra and submit a report card of the same to the people,” Sawant said. Gadkari said the manifesto promises to make Goa carbon neutral. “It is important to make Goa free from water, air and sound pollution,” he said. Reacting to Congress’ promise to cap petrol and diesel prices at Rs 80, Gadkari said, “Congress is trying to mislead people as in the coming days, all vehicles will be on a flex engine and they can use ethanol, which is around Rs 62 per litre, and Congress will not require to cap petrol at Rs 80.” Gadkari said the BJP manifesto targets doubling the number of tourists visiting Goa, which will provide employment to everyone. “Everyone will have their own houses and American-standard road infrastructure,” Gadkari said.
Panaji: BJP Goa desk in-charge C T Ravi said here on Saturday that Congress should reduce fuel rates in states it is already governing before promising to bring petrol and diesel prices under Rs 80 per litre in Goa. Ravi said that a litre of petrol costs Rs 107 in Rajasthan, Rs 98 in Jharkhand, Rs 102 in Chhattisgarh and Rs 110 in Maharashtra. “In all these states, Congress is in government. First, Congress should reduce fuel prices in these states and then in Goa,” he said. Ravi also said that PM Narendra Modi is likely to visit Goa on Friday to campaign for the party. He also said that Union home minister Amit Shah would arrive in Goa on Tuesday, and that BJP national president J P Nadda and defence minister Rajnath Singh would also come to Goa. Ravi said that BJP is missing former chief minister Manohar Parrikar during campaigning. “Parrikar was a great leader. There is no alternative to Parrikar,” Ravi said. Ravi also said that TMC, AAP and NCP are all against BJP. “They are all B-teams of Congress, only BJP is a nationalist party, all other parties are working only for votes,” he said. Union minister for state Shripad Naik said on Saturday that the Union government would take steps to reduce fuel and cooking gas prices. Naik said that a lot of jobs would be created in the next few years, including at the Mopa international airport and Ayush hospital.
Bicholim: BJP Goa election in-charge Devendra Fadnavis on Saturday said that Goa has received ample financial support from the Centre and that people have benefited from the schemes that were launched by the late chief minister Manohar Parrikar. “On the other hand AAP and TMC have been giving hollow assurances to the people of Goa,” Fadnavis said while interacting with the party’s Bicholim workers. Commenting on the MGP-TMC alliance, Fadnavis said he had not expected that MGP, which was founded by former chief minister Dayanand Bandodkar would tie up with the Bengal party. MGP functionaries joining hands with TMC, he said will do a “greater harm” to Goa’s regional party. BJP’s Bicholim candidate Rajesh Patnekar said his earlier decision not to contest was “wrong” and that he would work hard to resolve issues of locals. TNN
Panaji: Congress candidate Elvis Gomes will win from Panaji with a large margin, said opposition leader Digambar Kamat on Thursday after inaugurating the party’s campaign office for the state capital. Kamat said that over the next week, a wave of support will rise for Congress with more people making up their mind to vote out BJP. “Congress has given the people of Panaji a good candidate, one who understands administrative affairs and a new face for the capital. If one looks at the political environment, it is in favour of Congress,” Kamat said. He added that people are fed up of BJP’s poor governance and are now looking for a stable government that will address their concerns. “I can see the support growing for Congress. In the last 12 days, Congress, which could not be seen in Panaji, is now seen as a strong contender,” said Gomes, adding, “In the next few days you will see many people supporting Congress.” Congress faces an uphill task in dislodging BJP’s Atanasio Monserrate. Former defence minister Manohar Parrikar’s son Utpal also offers a stiff challenge for Congress. Congress also opened an office at Mormugao, from where the campaign for the constituency will be coordinated.
Utpal Parrikar says he is staking his political career on fighting against the BJP's candidate in Panaji.Panaji: The Shiv Sena has dropped its candidate from Goa's Panaji and has decided to support former Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar's son Utpal, who is contesting the February 14 state election as an independent after being snubbed by the BJP for the seat.Shiv Sena MP Sanjay Raut had earlier urged all opposition parties to back Utpal Parrikar if he did not get a BJP ticket to contest from Panaji."We're keeping our word. Shiv Sena is withdrawing its candidate Shailendra Velingkar from Panaji. Not just that, our workers will fully support Utpal Parrikar. We believe that the battle for Panaji is just about election, but also about the purification of Goa Politics (sic)," Sanjay Raut said in a tweet tagging Maharashtra minister Aditya Thackeray.Mr Raut's tweet included a quote from Utpal Parrikar, apparently targeting the BJP for choosing Atanasio "Babush" Monserrate: "You will give ticket to the person with criminal antecedent in the constituency represented by late Manohar Parrikar?"Utpal Parrikar, an engineer, says he is staking his political career on fighting against the BJP's candidate in Panaji, especially as his father built the party from the ground up in Goa and in particular, this constituency.Manohar Parrikar, a three-time Chief Minister, died in 2019. He held the Panaji seat for 25 years. In the by-election after Mr Parrikar's death, his long-time rival Babush Monserrate, accused in a rape case, won as a Congress candidate but later switched to the BJP.Utpal Parrikar had urged the BJP to nominate him this time but the party opted to stick with Mr Monserrate, offering him a different constituency instead.PromotedListen to the latest songs, only on JioSaavn.comThe Shiv Sena and Arvind Kejriwal's Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) have openly backed Mr Parrikar.In a tweet earlier this month, Mr Raut had said: "If Utpal Parrikar contests Independent from Panaji seat, I propose all non-BJP parties including Aam Aadmi Party, Congress, Trinamool Congress and Goa Forward Party should support his candidature and not field a candidate against him. This will be a true tribute to ManoharBhai!"
Staff ReporterVasco/Sanvordem/PondaAssuring Goans to restart mining within six months of forming government in the state, the Union Home Minister Amit Shah on Sunday said the Chief Minister Pramod Sawant has been following up the mining issue with the central ministry. He said Goa will soon see one of its most important industries restarting.Speaking at a meeting in Vasco on how the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) will benefit Goa with its double engine government, Shah said, “Congress can give government to Goa but only a corrupt family government. On the other hand, a government by BJP is based on patriotism. Goa will become world famous as a tourist spot. The Prime Minister Narendra Modi took steps like holding a BRICS summit in Goa and made it popular across the globe. The infrastructure being put in place here will attract more international tourists to Goa and it will benefit Goans at large.”Shah said Goa is important to BJP, as Modi was nominated as the prime ministerial candidate in the state and his phase of success started from this place. Talking about making Goa an educational hub, Shah said, “We have to understand the geography of the state and then formulate programmes. The BJP government will come up with higher education and technical education centres, which will help the youth in getting employment.Goa can have qualified sailors by obtaining education from its shipbuilding and marine colleges.”He said, “Political tourists who have come to Goa are promising many things, as they know that not a single candidate fielded by them will get elected and they will not have to fulfil their promises. But, BJP is a party, which keeps up to its assurances and fulfils them.”The Union Home Minister paid tributes to former chief minister late Manohar Parrikar.Recollecting his efforts in building BJP in Goa and giving it a solid platform, Shah said the BJP is in Goa to take the vision of Parrikar ahead. During his virtual interaction, he conversed with a representative each from different towns of the state. Top leaders of BJP from Goa were present on the occasion.Earlier, addressing party workers in Sanvordem, Shah said the BJP will retain power by winning more than 22 seats at the February 14 assembly elections.He said the party has made good progress in the last ten years by increasing the number of colleges, police stations, police personnel and school teachers in the state. He said the state government has also renovated many religious places and cultural centres and added that the state has made remarkable progress by reducing the crime rate by 50%. The Goa government also deserves a pat on its back, as Goa has been the first state to achieve the target of 100% vaccination against COVID-19, he said.Shah, along with others leaders of the party, also visited some local houses in Sanvordem and interacted with the people after distributing the party pamphlets.Earlier in the day, Shah addressed a public meeting in Ponda where he said the BJP is working on fulfilling the ‘Golden Goa’ dream of former chief minister late Manohar Parrikar.Criticising the Congress party and its senior leader Rahul Gandhi, Shah said Goa is only a tourist destination for the Gandhi family, which, he said, visits the state often. “But the BJP is focusing on fulfilling the dream of late Manohar Parrikar,” he said.Shah said that in the year 2013-14, when Congress-led government was ruling at the Centre, Goa received a fund of only Rs. 432 crore, while during Modi’s tenure, the state received Rs. 2,566 crore as fund last year for various projects.Claiming that Rahul Gandhi is suffering from ‘Modi-phobia’, Shah said Gandhi posts only negative thoughts on social media. “People of Goa need to choose between BJP’s ‘golden Goa’ and Congress’ ‘Gandhi parivar ka Goa,’” Shah said.Prior to the public meet, Shah offered prayers at the Sai Baba Temple in Borim. He was accompanied by top leaders of the party from the state.
Panaji: Union home minister Amit Shah on Sunday said that within six months of forming the government, BJP will resume mining activities in Goa through e-auctioning of iron ore dumps in a transparent manner. “I want to say that after the election, through e-auctioning in a transparent manner, Goa’s mining industry will function with double force,” he said, adding that this mining promise would find a place in BJP’s manifesto. Addressing a public meeting in the mining belt constituency of Sanvordem, Shah said that after examining the SC order, CM Pramod Sawant visited Delhi four times. “Mines minister Pralhad Joshi and I held several meetings with the attorney general and solicitor general, and found a way. For this, the government of India came out with a special dumping policy, and after that Sawant has already formed the Goa Mineral Corporation,” Shah said.
PANAJI: In a sly dig at his opponent and BJP’s Panaji candidate Atanasio ‘Babush’ Monserrate, independent candidate Utpal Parrikar said he would not issue any ‘100 days’ assurances to the people of Panaji. The former Union defence minister’s son was referring to Monserrate, who, during the 2019 byelection necessitated by Manohar Parrikar’s death, promised that within 100 days, he would shift casinos out of the Mandovi. Monserrate later backtracked and claimed business would be affected if the casinos were shifted. After filing his nomination on Thursday, Utpal launched his door-to-door campaign from Mala on Saturday, after seeking blessings at Maruti temple. “I will give promises which I will be able to deliver, and I will tell the people of Panaji about my vision and they will vote for me,” Utpal said, adding that his manifesto would be released soon. He said he would try to meet each and every person in Panaji during the campaign. He said circumstances forced him to take the decision to contest the election. Manohar Parrikar represented Panaji for over two decades since 1994. After he was elevated to the position of Union defence minister in 2014, BJP had fielded Parrikar’s close aide Sidharth Kuncalienkar, who won the seat for BJP. Kuncalienker had also won the assembly election in 2017, defeating Monserrate, who was the United Goans Party candidate for Panaji. When Parrikar returned to the state as chief minister, Kuncalienkar vacated the seat for Parrikar to contest and BJP once again won the Panaji seat. After the demise of Parrikar, Kuncalienkar and Utpal both staked claim to BJP’s candidature during the 2019 bypoll in Panaji. But BJP had denied candidature to Utpal at the time. Monserrate, who was the Congress candidate then, made a dent in BJP’s bastion to grab the seat for Congress for the first time since 1994.