Pramod Sawant News

Landlords of 20 illegal Bangladeshis to be investigated
Times of India | 1 day ago | |
Times of India
1 day ago | |

Panaji: Chief minister Pramod Sawant on Sunday said that during the tenant verification exercise in Goa around 20 Bangladeshis have been found so far residing illegally and without any valid documents. One of them has also been found with an Aadhar card. Sawant said that these illegal residents will be deported and the landlords who rented them rooms will be investigated by police.“There are people around without valid documents. I ask people renting their homes to either carry out tenant verification or do not keep tenants at all. We have found more than 20 illegal Bangladeshis residing in Goa. Work is on to identify others. We will deport them back to Bangladesh. We have sent a report to the home ministry,” Sawant said.He said that a report has also been sent to the home ministry regarding the misuse of Aadhar card by such illegal residents.“Those who had rented their premises to such illegal immigrants will also be investigated as to why they rented rooms without verification, since when, for what reason, whether they were aware of their background. Various wings of Goa police are working on identifying such illegal residents,” Sawant said.Such illegal immigrants are found to be working in businesses such as illegal scrapyards, the CM said. “We have passed the tenant verification bill in the assembly, after which the tenant verification exercise began across Goa. During the exercise we saw that many have no permanent address. These people are employed in illegal scrap yards and other illegal businesses. I appeal to those renting their houses to verify where their tenant is coming from,” Sawant said.

Landlords of 20 illegal Bangladeshis to be investigated
Dempo appointed prez of All India Mgmt Association
Times of India | 3 days ago | |
Times of India
3 days ago | |

Panaji: Chairman of the Dempo Group of Companies Shrinivas Dempo has been appointed as the president of the All India Management Association (AIMA). AIMA is the apex body of management with over 30,000 individual members and 3,000 institutional members. As his appointment drew applause from various corners, Dempo said he is humbled to hear about his appointment and that he looked forward to further the cause of management education in India. “Heartiest congratulations to Shrinivas Dempo, on being elected as the chairman of AIMA. It is a proud moment for Goa. My best wishes for a successful tenure,” chief minister Pramod Sawant said.Dempo oversees the Dempo Group’s business that covers calcined petroleum coke production, shipbuilding, media, food processing, real estate, sports and renewable energy generation. “Congratulations to my dear friend, Shrinivas Dempo for being appointed as the president of the All India Management Association. With your extensive knowledge, I am confident that you will contribute to the advancement of the management profession in India,” TCP minister Vishwajit Rane said.“It is a moment of pride for Goa as Shrinivas Dempo is appointed president of the prestigious All India Management Association (AIMA),” said tourism and IT minister Rohan Khaunte. Prior to this, Dempo has held the presidency of the western region of the Confederation of Indian Industry, India’s biggest industry lobby, and was also the elected president of the Goa Football Association. He has been a member of the executive council of the Goa University for six years, a member of the Goa State Planning Board, and chairman of the state’s Planning and Development Authority.

Dempo appointed prez of All India Mgmt Association
PFI leader’s house raided, docus, digital devices seized
Times of India | 4 days ago | |
Times of India
4 days ago | |

Panaji: The National Investigation Agency (NIA), Enforcement Directorate (ED) and police forces conducted a search at the residence of Popular Front of India (PFI) leader, Anis Ahmed Mossa, at Baina, Vasco, on Thursday. Around 20 officers were involved in the search operation.During the search, incriminating documents, cash, and a large number of digital devices were seized.The search started at 3am and concluded around 8pm. The central committee member, who is a resident of Bengaluru, used to frequently visit Goa. Musa left the state over 15 years ago and is one among the top PFI leaders. Goa police said that NIA and ED officials have come from Mumbai to conduct a search. PFI has its office in Margao and is also active in Ponda.NIA had taken the help of Goa police to conduct the search and a huge force of Goa police personnel were kept on standby to act in case of any law and order situation during the search.When asked if Goa police will monitor the activities of PFI in the state, director general of police (DGP) Jaspal Singh told TOI that the department’s special branch always keeps a watch on all organisations.Chief minister Pramod Sawant had said that during the time of the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) agitation, PFI were active in Goa trying to create communal disturbance. Sawant had said that earlier, on three occasions, PFI had attempted to disturb communal harmony in the state. He had said that he had received a police report on the activities of the PFI and the attempts to disturb communal harmony.Sawant had also said that he will write to the Union government seeking a ban on the PFI in the country.

PFI leader’s house raided, docus, digital devices seized
CM to interact with primary teachers, parents tomorrow
Times of India | 4 days ago | |
Times of India
4 days ago | |

Panaji: Chief minister Pramod Sawant will be interacting virtually with teachers, parents and managements of 932 government and government aided primary schools in the state on Saturday, September 24, from 10am to 12pm. Students have been told not to report for classes on the day as teachers will be engaged in the interaction.“New education policy, inclusive education, Nipun Bharat, midday meal, Mulya Vardhan value-based education will be discussed on the day. Parents and teachers will be able to ask questions which will be answered by different officials. Parents will also be guided on how they can monitor the use of the funds allotted under various schemes to the schools,” said director of education Shailesh Zingade.The facilities to attend the interaction will be set up in around 137 schools, from where teachers from the particular area will be able to participate.“Schools are required to put up the list of funds and their utilisation on the notice board. School management committees also have a role to play in this regard. This will be explained to them. Parents are also required to taste the midday meals and sign a register accordingly. At times, there are complaints against midday meals, but we find that no one wants to carry out the job of tasting the meals,” Zingade said.A total of 932 primary schools— 718 government schools and 214 unaided schools, will participate in the interaction.

CM to interact with primary teachers, parents tomorrow
Goa: Work for development, win both LS seats, Amit Shah, JP Nadda tell new BJP MLAs
Times of India | 6 days ago | |
Times of India
6 days ago | |

PANAJI: Seven of the eight MLAs who defected to BJP last week met Union home minister Amit Shah and BJP president J P Nadda at the party headquarters in Delhi on Monday. Chief minister Pramod Sawant, who accompanied the MLAs along with state BJP president Sadanand Shet Tanavade, told TOI that Shah and Nadda urged the MLAs to work for the development of the state, and that BJP should win both Lok Sabha seats in Goa. The Goan contingent, however, had to return without meeting Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who cancelled the appointment at the last minute. Sawant told TOI that Modi cancelled the meeting because of his busy schedule, and that they would meet him next time. The meeting between the MLAs, Shah and Nadda took half an hour, and various issues were discussed. The seven MLAs are former CM Digambar Kamat (Margao), Aleixo Sequeira (Nuvem), Rodolfo Fernandes (Santa Cruz), Delilah Lobo (Siolim), Sankalp Amonkar (Mormugao), Kedar Naik (Saligao), and Rajesh Faldessai (Cumbarjua). Calangute MLA Michael Lobo was not part of the group, as he is in Kenya. Eight months after they did a run of a temple, a chapel and a mosque, taking a vow not to defect from Congress and even signing an affidavit pledging their loyalty to the party, eight of the 11 Congress MLAs “merged” the CLP into BJP taking the saffron party’s strength to 28 in the 40-member House. The three MLAs who remain with Congress are Quepem MLA Altone D Costa, Cuncolim MLA Yuri Alemao and Aldona MLA Carlos Ferreira. The merger of the CLP into BJP was held considering the upcoming Lok Sabha election, where BJP is eying both seats, especially South Goa, which has proved tough for the party to secure. So far, BJP has only won that seat twice. Chief minister Pramod Sawant is likely to reshuffle his cabinet after returning from Delhi. Sawant is likely to induct one minister initially. Nuvem MLA Aleixo Sequeira is likely to be the first to be inducted, political sources said. Whether Margao MLA Digambar Kamat is to be inducted in the state cabinet or moved to Delhi will be taken by the central leadership, a senior BJP leader had said. Ahead of the Delhi visit, Sawant also attended the coordination meeting called by RSS. The chief minister said that all the organisations connected with RSS attended the meeting.

Goa: Work for development, win both LS seats, Amit Shah, JP Nadda tell new BJP MLAs
  • Goa CM Pramod Sawant, 7 new BJP MLAs to meet Narendra Modi today
  • Times of India

    PANAJI/VASCO: Chief minister Pramod Sawant will lead the seven MLAs, who merged the Congress legislative wing into BJP, in a meeting with Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Monday. Sawant said that the seven MLAs will meet the PM, Union home minister Amit Shah and BJP national president J P Nadda. “Our visit to Delhi is purely meant to meet party leaders,” the chief minister told TOI at the Goa airport. Sawant, accompanied by BJP state president Sadanand Shet Tanavade, Rajya Sabha MP Vinay Tendulkar and five of the newly inducted MLAs left for Delhi by a late evening flight on Sunday. Tanavade said that other than meeting the PM, Union home minister and party’s national president, “nothing else has been planned during our scheduled visit to Delhi”. Michael Lobo told TOI that he is unable to attend the meeting on Monday as he is currently in Kenya and will return on Thursday. The five newly inducted MLAs who accompanied the CM and Tanavade on the flight to Delhi are Sankalp Amonkar, Delilah Lobo, Kedar Naik, Rudolf Fernandes and Aleixo Sequeira. Sources said that Digambar Kamat and Rajesh Phaldesai have already reached the national capital. The chief minister is likely to reshuffle his cabinet after returning from Delhi. Margao MLA Digambar Kamat and former leader of opposition and Calangute MLA Michael Lobo along with six other MLAs “merged” the Congress Legislative Party (CLP) with BJP, last week. Ahead of the Delhi visit, Sawant also attended the coordination meeting called by RSS. The chief minister said that all the organisations connected with RSS attended the meeting. Sawant is likely to induct one minister initially. Nuvem MLA Aleixo Sequeira is likely to be first to be inducted. Whether Kamat is to be inducted in the state cabinet or moved to Delhi will be taken by the central leadership, a senior BJP leader said. Besides Kamat and Lobo, the other MLAs who joined BJP are Sequeira, Rodolfo Fernandes (Santa Cruz), Michael’s wife Delilah (Siolim), Sankalp Amonkar (Mormugao), Kedar Naik (Saligao) and Rajesh Faldessai (Cumbarjua). Eight months after they did a run of a temple, a chapel and a mosque taking a vow not to defect from Congress and even signing an affidavit pledging their loyalty to the party, eight of the 11 Congress MLAs “merged” the CLP into BJP taking the saffron party’s strength to 28 in the 40-member House. The three MLAs who remained with Congress are Quepem MLA Altone D Costa, Cuncolim MLA Yuri Alemao and Aldona MLA Carlos Ferreira. The merger was held considering the upcoming Lok Sabha seat where BJP is eyeing to win both the seats especially the South Goa one which has proved tough to secure. So far BJP has only won the seat twice.

  • Goa CM Pramod Sawant, 8 new BJP MLAs to meet PM Modi on September 19
  • Times of India

    PANAJI: Goa chief minister Pramod Sawant will lead the 8 MLAs, who merged the Congress legislative wing into BJP, will meet Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Monday. Sawant told TOI that the eight MLAs will meet the Prime Minister, Union home minister Amit Shah and BJP national president J P Nadda. The chief minister is likely to reshuffle his cabinet after returning from the national capital. Margao MLA Digambar Kamat and former leader of opposition and Calangute MLA Michael Lobo along with six other MLAs “merged” the Congress Legislative Party (CLP) with BJP, last week. Ahead of the Delhi visit, Sawant also attended the coordination meeting called by RSS. He said that all the organisations connected with RSS attended the meeting. Sawant is likely to induct one minister initially. Nuvem MLA Aleixo Sequeira is likely to be first to be inducted.

  • Goa CM Pramod Sawant, 8 MLAs who switched to BJP to meet PM Modi in Delhi
  • The Indian Express

    Goa Chief Minister Pramod Sawant on Sunday said he will be traveling to Delhi with the eight newly inducted MLAs, who defected to the BJP from the Congress. Sawant and the MLAs are scheduled to meet Prime Minister Narendra Modi in the national Capital.The chief minister, who attended an annual meeting of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) on Sunday, said, “A meeting with the PM has been fixed. I will go with the eight MLAs and the (Goa BJP) president,” he told reporters.Eight MLAs – including former Goa chief minister Digambar Kamat and former leader of Opposition Micheal Lobo – who were elected to the Goa Legislative Assembly on Congress tickets, defected to the BJP on September 14, in a merger of the two legislature parties. With this, the Congress’s strength declined from 11 to just three MLAs in the 40-member Assembly and that of the BJP increased from 20 to 28.In July 2019, two-thirds (then 10 out of 15) of the Congress MLAs had defected to the BJP in a similar fashion. Back then too, the defections took place while Sawant helmed the government.The recent developments have dealt a blow to the Congress at a time when party leader Rahul Gandhi’s Bharat Jodo Yatra is underway. Along with Kamat and Lobo, MLAs including Lobo’s wife Delilah, former minister Aleixo Sequeira, Sankalp Amonkar, Kedar Naik, Rajesh Phal Dessai and Rudolfo Fernandes were welcomed into the saffron party by Pramod Sawant and state BJP chief Sadanand Tanavade last week.Sawant had said, “Congress has started a Bharat Jodo Yatra but in Goa the Congress Chhodo Yatra has begun. I welcome the new MLAs in BJP wholeheartedly… Before the election, we had resolved ‘Bavisaant Baavis plus (22 plus MLAs in 2022)’ and before 2022 comes to an end, the BJP has 28 of its own MLAs and the BJP’s foundation in Goa has been strengthened. In the Lok Sabha elections of 2024, we will definitely win both Parliamentary seats. With Congress Chhodo Yatra beginning in Goa, various Congress leaders from across the country will come to the BJP in the interest of the nation and give more strength to Modi-ji. And Modi-ji will be back as the Prime Minister in 2024 with over 400 (parliamentary) seats.”After the Assembly election results were declared on March 10, the BJP had formed the government with 20 of its own MLAs and support from two MLAs from the Maharashtrawadi Gomantak Party (MGP) and three Independents. With eight Congress MLAs switching to the treasury benches in a merger of the legislature parties, the BJP now has 28 MLAs of its own and support from five, raising its tally to 33. The Opposition now consists of three Congress MLAs, two from the AAP and one each from the Goa Forward Party and the Revolutionary Goans Party.Stung first in 2019 with 10 of its 15 MLAs walking over to the BJP, the Congress had averted a repeat of the incident in July and accused Kamat and Lobo of engineering the defection of its MLAs. The party had also filed disqualification petitions against the two leaders before the Speaker of the Assembly. But the storm seemed to have blown over only for a while. With their respective trips to Delhi, both Kamat and Lobo had made it apparent that their entry into the BJP was imminent.Ahead of the Assembly election in February, the Congress had for the first time taken its election candidates to a temple, church and a dargah where they, led by Kamat, took an oath that they would stay in the Congress if elected on a party ticket. Later, they also filed affidavits to this effect in the presence of Rahul Gandhi.Asked if their oath before Goa was insincere, Kamat said: “I am a believer in God. About the oath which I have taken before God, I have gone back to the temple and I have asked God and the Goddess that this (joining BJP) is in my mind. What should I do? We have a system of getting prasad. Then God said, you go ahead, don’t worry.”AICC Goa desk in-charge Dinesh Gundu Rao had alleged that the BJP had paid Rs 30 crore to Rs 40 crore to each of the MLAs who jumped ship. He said that the BJP had spent Rs 240 crore for splitting the Congress in Goa.Goa BJP president Sadanand Tanavade had then said, “We did not go seeking any MLAs. They formed their group and said that they want to join our party. We have not given a single rupee to any one or made any promises. They have come on their own and they have come unconditionally. The Congress only wants to make such allegations against us to divert people’s attention.”

  • Panchayat must serve citizens, help disabled: Goa CM Pramod Sawant
  • Times of India

    PANAJI: Chief minister Pramod Sawant said that the panchayat's role is not just restricted to granting construction licences, but to also serve the people, maintain cleanliness, conserve water bodies, and other related aspects. Sawant was speaking during the inauguration of a training programme by Goa Institute of Public Administration and Rural Development (GIPARD) for newly-elected representatives of village panchayats at Ravindra Bhavan, Margao on Thursday. The chief minister urged the panchs to be the link person between the government and reach out to the last person in society. He said told the panchs that they have a role to play in identifying persons with disabilities who require implants and assistive devices in their wards and help them in getting the devices which the government provides for free. Similarly, panch members can play a role in monitoring and identifying children under the age of six who require cochlear implant operation which costs over Rs 6 lakh where the family won't have to spend any money, he said. "If you identify children who are hearing impaired as early as possible, you can facilitate them and direct them to GMC, and they won't have to spend anything for the operation," Sawant said. He narrated the incident of a 34-year-old woman who suffered a spinal cord injury and was at home for four years, and she couldn't afford a wheelchair. The government provided her one and it was for the first time that she had gotten out of her house. "Whatever the cost of the wheelchair and other assistive devices, the government can bear the expenses," Sawant said. Sawant said Goa's utilisation of central government schemes is low compared to other states, despite it being an educated state, and urged panch members to reach out to those living in poverty and link them with schemes including self-sustaining schemes.

  • With electoral triumphs bookended by arrivals from Congress, Pramod Sawant consolidates his hold on Goa BJP
  • The Indian Express

    With eight of its 11 MLAs in Goa joining the BJP on Wednesday, the Congress party faced a second major instance of defection in the state in the past three-and-a-half years of BJP rule under Chief Minister Pramod Sawant.Despite his personal winning margin having shrunk to 666 votes in this year’s Assembly election, the BJP’s central leadership had decided to keep Sawant as Goa’s Chief Minister. He was, however, not without a challenger. Until the day Sawant was declared Chief Minister for a second time in March, state Health Minister Vishwajit Rane was very much in the reckoning for the top job. Tensions between Sawant and Rane have been no secret in Goa’s politics, and spilt over during the time the state was reeling under a crisis in the second wave of the Covid-19 pandemic amid deaths of patients in the Goa Medical College in May 2021. Of late, there have been fewer manifestations of these tensions.The latest defection of Congress MLAs, which follows a similar move by 10 of the party’s Goa MLAs in 2019, is likely to cement Sawant’s position as the BJP’s top leader in the coastal state. When Sawant welcomed the Congress defectors into the party fold at the BJP headquarters in Panaji on Wednesday, he was asked if raising the BJP’s tally in the 40-member House from 20 to 28 gave him an advantage. “I am saying this again. The BJP is a party that has a central leadership. We are not a regional party. We are constantly working in the interest of the country,” he responded.In July, when an attempt at the defection that came through on Wednesday was foiled, Sawant had said that the BJP had a stable government in Goa and did not need any more MLAs. On Wednesday, he said, “If people want to come and join us, they are welcome.” Asked if any of the newly inducted MLAs would be accommodated in his Cabinet, he said, “That we will see. They have been accommodated in the party. They have joined us unconditionally.”That this decision was taken with an eye on the 2024 Lok Sabha polls was apparent when Sawant said, “…the BJP’s foundation in Goa has been strengthened. In the Lok Sabha elections of 2024, we will definitely win both the Parliamentary seats.”The BJP has been determined to wrest the South Goa parliamentary seat from the Congress. The entry of former chief minister and eight-time Margao MLA Digambar Kamat into the BJP fold gave fresh wind to speculation that he could be the party’s candidate from South Goa in 2024.Asked on Wednesday if a Cabinet berth or a ticket to contest the parliamentary election from South Goa were among his expectations on his return to the BJP, Kamat said, “I am such a senior leader. I have no expectations. I have joined them unconditionally.”Making inroads into the Catholic-dominated Salcete taluka has been among the BJP’s main challenges in South Goa. However, in the last Assembly election, with Opposition votes split between the Congress, AAP and TMC, the BJP won the Navelim seat and secured one MLA in Salcete, which is spread out over eight Assembly constituencies. With the addition of former minister Aleixo Sequeira to the BJP on Wednesday, the saffron party may also be hopeful of securing more votes from the Nuvem Assembly constituency, which is also in Salcete. With the addition of four Catholic MLAs — three in North Goa and one in the South — the number of Catholic MLAs in the BJP climbed from five to nine.The BJP, which formed the government in the state with the support of the Maharashtrawadi Gomantak Party and three Independents, has the support of two Independent Catholic MLAs from Salcete.Goa BJP president Sadanand Tanavade said that Kamat’s entry into the party would help the BJP in Margao, the majority-dominated constituency of Salcete. “In Margao, this will definitely help us. He has been an MLA eight times.”“Leaders of other parties have seen the good work done by the BJP government in Goa and at the Centre under the leadership of PM Modi. This is happening all over the country. More and more leaders want to join the BJP because they have seen our work,” Tanavade said.While mid-term changes in leadership are not alien to BJP-governed states, Sawant may have put speculation over this to rest in Goa with Wednesday’s events coming on the back of comfortably forming a government in March and scoring big in the panchayat elections in the state in August.

Inter-state meet on Thursday will chalk out strategy to deal with drug menace
Times of India | 1 week ago | |
Times of India
1 week ago | |

Panaji: A crucial meeting of six states, including Goa, will be held on Thursday to deliberate measures to curb the drug menace. The meeting will chalk out a detailed strategy to tackle the issue and also have better co-ordination among police and other investigating agencies.Speaking to TOI, inspector general of police (IGP) Omvir Singh Bishnoi said that for the first time, states like Andhra Pradesh, Telangana and Odissa has been invited to participate in the meeting of the inter-state co-ordination committee.Besides representatives of police force of the six states, central agencies will also participate in the meeting.The meeting is being called at a time when Goa police has decided to go all out against the drug mafia. Chief minister Pramod Sawant had directed Goa police not to spare anyone involved in the drug trade.A few days back, Hyderabad police, who made allegations that Goa police is not cooperating with them to act against the drug mafia, had sent a team to Goa to meet the IGP to discuss the agenda for meeting.Recently, Hyderabad police commissioner CV Anand had said that his team did not received help from Goa police while probing drug cases that have a Goa connection. Anand said this in response to a query on Goa police during a press meet. However, Goa police made it clear that they never received any communication from Hyderabad police for any kind of help.

Inter-state meet on Thursday will chalk out strategy to deal with drug menace
Goa’s jobless rate at 13.7% double of national average
Times of India | 1 week ago | |
Times of India
1 week ago | |

PANAJI: In a worrying trend, an independent research firm has pegged Goa’s unemployment rate at 13.7% in August, much higher than the national average of 7%. Job creation in the state appears to be a problematic issue as the unemployment rate has remained in double digits for more than two years, with states like Bihar succeeding in creating more jobs than Goa. Except for a sharp drop in June, when agricultural activity picks up, joblessness in Goa remains stagnant suggesting that efforts to upskill and create jobs for locals has yet to pay off. Monthly data released by the Centre for Monitoring Indian Economy Pvt Ltd (CMIE) shows that Goa’s unemployment figures have been marching upwards since the start of 2022. Joblessness stood at 11.6% in January, peaking to 15.5% in April before easing a bit as summer tourism picked up and the monsoon activity kicked in. Business sentiment remains muted with entrepreneurs hesitant to expand their operations, Goa State Industries Association (GSIA) president Damodar Kochkar told TOI. “The optimism in Goa is missing. There is no income for the companies, so why will they create more jobs?” she said. Goa’s unemployment rate remains among the highest in the country with just five other states faring worse than the sunny state. Haryana, Jammu & Kashmir, Rajasthan are the top three states with the highest unemployment followed by Jharkhand, Tripura and Goa. The figures prompted the opposition to question the Pramod Sawant government’s priorities. “As Goa crosses Bihar in unemployment, and continues at almost double the national average, Pramod Sawant is hard at work to collect more MLAs so that he has a job,” said GFP president Vijai Sardesai. “How long will he hide behind ‘atmanirbhar’ and ‘swayampurna’ before the youth start taking to the streets?” Kochkar said that the industry is waiting for the new industrial policy, the new logistics policy and other reforms to kick in before taking a decision about expanding operations in Goa. “Unless they put things in order, why will industry will come and expand. Industry is hesitating to expand. There is no incentive to expand because they are not getting plans approved on time,” he said.

Goa’s jobless rate at 13.7% double of national average
Goushala, ‘Vamanavriksha Kala Garden’ set to be new tourist attractions at Goa Raj Bhavan
The Indian Express | 1 week ago | |
The Indian Express
1 week ago | |

A Goushala (a protective shelter for cows) and a ‘Vamanavriksha Kala Garden’ of 72 potted plants will now be the new tourist attractions on sprawling premises of the over 450-year-old monumental complex housing Goa Raj Bhavan, the residence of Governor, in Dona Paula.The Goushala dedicated to the indigenous Goan cow breed ‘Shwetakapila’ was inaugurated by Governor P S Sreedharan Pillai and Chief Minister Pramod Sawant on the occasion of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s 72nd birthday on Saturday.After feeding bananas and grass to the 20 cows and two bulls housed in the Goushala, the Governor and the Chief Minister performed a puja of the cow. “I am very happy to be a part of these events organised by our Governor on the occasion of PM Modi’s birthday. Goushala for the Shwetakapila breed will attract tourists. There are many Goushalas in the country but this is unique because it is exclusively for the Shwetakapila cows. The ‘Gau premis’ (cow lovers) from across the country will now come to the Raj Bhavan to see the Shwetakapila cow,” said CM Pramod Sawant.Governor P S Sreedharan Pillai said that new Gaushala was different from those in Rajasthan and UP as this a local, traditional way of protecting cows and producing maximum amount of milk.“We contacted many business concerns and public field concerns, who are prepared to help us. The idea is that maximum milk be produced. Raj Bhavan will give this milk to the poor. This is the first such attempt in India. With the Raj Bhavan and the state government together, we will be able to achieve our final goal.”“As far as the Raj Bhavan is concerned, this is one of the happiest days since it is our Prime Minister’s 72nd birthday. It is celebrated throughout India by launching various service-oriented schemes,” Pillai said.The Raj Bhavan has declared financial aid to 72 cancer patients, 72 TB patients and 72 patients with dialysis. The Governor disbursed a token amount to the patients on the occasion.Asked about the political connotations that cow protection had assumed in the country, CM Sawant said, “We think of the cow as our mother. Especially in Goa we have always protected the cow. That is why we have always supported NGOs that come forward with such missions.”Sawant said that the Gomantak Gau Seva Mahasangh Trust that runs a Goushala in Sinquerim, Goa, has been tasked with looking after the cows in the Raj Bhavan’s new shelter. The project will run under the Goa government’s stray cattle management policy of 2013. Dr Dattatray Naik Parrikar of the Trust said that the cows would be used for dairy and agricultural purposes.Sawant said that as Goa has a persistent problem of cattle straying on its roads, especially during monsoon, said that cow shelters served two purposes – reduce accidents on roads and also bring down the number of cattle straying on the roads. It is important to take care of the cow and also the people, the CM said.‘Vamanavriksha Kala Garden’ of 72 potted plants inauguratedEarlier, the Governor inaugurated a ‘Vamanavriksha Kala Garden’ of 72 potted plants, the first such in the Raj Bhavan. He said, “With the term ‘Bonsai’, we are under the impression (if you go through any documents) that China and Japan are the pioneers. I had the occasion to see that China is the largest exporter of it but actually, it originated in India. Vamanavriksha Kala is a very important part of our traditional system. I would like to say that 15,000 species are there for such a field. China and Japan are confined to about 1,500. But they are the champions in the field now. That is why the first Vamanavriksha Kala garden is also inaugurated in the Raj Bhavan.”Vamanavriksha Kala refers to the ancient Indian system of Bonsai art of nurturing miniature trees.“It is one of the brilliant chapters in our history. Due to non-application of mind, we have all been saying Bonsai, Bonsai. There is a specific concept in our ancient texts, especially in Sanskrit language,” Pillai said.The programme was attended by Goa Animal Husbandry Minister Nilkanth Halarnkar, chief secretary Puneet Kumar Goel and BJP state president Sadanand Tanavade. They all participated in feeding the cows at the ‘Goushala Shwetakapila’.

Goushala, ‘Vamanavriksha Kala Garden’ set to be new tourist attractions at Goa Raj Bhavan
Drug users will also be arrested: Goa CM Pramod Sawant
Times of India | 1 week ago | |
Times of India
1 week ago | |

PANAJI: Chief minister Pramod Sawant on Thursday said that the state government has decided to arrest those who are caught consuming drugs and that Goa police is conducting continuous raids on clubs and late-night venues. "We are conducting raids on those parties where we suspect there is sale and consumption of drugs. Goa will not tolerate drugs," Sawant said. Following the death of Haryana BJP functionary and social media star Sonail Phogat murder, Sawant had directed police to go all out against the drug trade in the state. DGP Jaspal Singh during a meeting with police officers had directed strict against the narcotics trade. Sawant had said that the anti-narcotics cell will be strengthened. Speaking on ahead of the International Coastal Cleanup Day, the chief minister urged people and NGOs to come out in large numbers on September 17 to clean the state's 37 beaches so as to send a clear massage to tourists that Goan beaches are clean and safe. Sawant said that they will also run a 'No To Drugs' campaign. The Clean Coast Safe Sea campaign that started on July 5 will culminate on September 17. Sawant appealed to NGOs to spend two hours - 8 am to 10 am - in cleaning Goa's beaches. He said that MLAs, panchs and sarpanchs will also participate in the campaign. All over India, 75 beaches has been selected, including five beaches from Goa-Miramar, Baina, Velsao, Bogmalo and Colva beaches. "We will form a human chain and sent a clear message that Goan beaches are safe," Sawant said.

Drug users will also be arrested: Goa CM Pramod Sawant
Goa: Resentment among karyakartas, BJP in damage control mode
Times of India | 1 week ago | |
Times of India
1 week ago | |

PANAJI: BJP's induction of eight Congress MLAs on Wednesday has created strong undercurrents of resentment within the party, especially among former MLAs and candidates picked for the 2022 assembly polls who now feel that their chances of contesting on a BJP ticket in the future have turned bleaker. To allay the situation, Goa BJP's core committee held a crucial meeting on Thursday morning. Later, chief minister Pramod Sawant and BJP state president Sadanand Shet Tanavade were entrusted with the task of pacifying the former MLAs, candidates and mandals by holding meetings constituency-wise. "Once the Centre takes a decision, the party stands behind it. Party karyakartas are important for BJP and that is the reason Sawant and I will ourselves go and meet them and tell them about the decision," Tanavade said. In the meanwhile, political equations have drastically changed in seven of the eight constituencies where BJP has inducted Congress MLAs. These include Saligao, Siolim, Calangute, Mormugao, Margao, Cumbharjua and Santa Cruz. Political observers say that while BJP got the upper hand in Margao and Cumbharjua after Congress MLAs joined it, those aspiring for tickets from within the party have been left dejected. Sawant should protect interest of BJP’s strong team of karyakartas in Margao, says AjgaonkarA case in point is Cumbarjua, where the struggle of Union minister Shripad’s Naik’s son Siddesh to land a BJP ticket is only likely to continue with the induction of Congress MLA Rajesh Faldessai. Siddesh had been eyeing the BJP ticket ahead of the assembly elections in February, but had to be content with stepping aside after the party decided to pick sitting MLA Pandurang Madkaikar’s wife, Janita. He was, however, rewarded with the post of North Goa ZP adhyaksha for not revolting against the party. Similarly in Margao, former deputy chief minister Manohar Ajgaonkar told TOI that he was not consulted about the induction of Congress’ Digambar Kamat. “Sawant should protect the interest of BJP’s strong team of karyakartas that is active in Margao, including BJP candidate Sharmad Raiturkar who has always taken Kamat head-on. These karyakartas should not be orphaned,” he said. Ahead of the 2022 assembly elections, the party faced a revolt in Saligao upon it inducting former GFP minister Jayesh Salgaonkar. Disenchanted BJP karyakartas threw their weight behind Kedar Naik instead, who went on to win on a Congress ticket and has now joined BJP. Wednesday’s developments also prompted many former BJP MLAs and candidates to go incommunicado. Among them is former BJP MLA Dayanand Mandrekar, whose political career is likely to be at stake over the induction of incumbent Siolim legislator, Delilah Lobo. “Mandrekar is our senior leader and we have not been able to contact him, but the chief minister will meet him,” Tanavade said. BJP’s Calangute candidate Joseph Sequeira said he wasn’t consulted before the induction of Delilah’s husband and Calangute MLA Michael Lobo into the party fold. “I am a BJP executive committee member and even then, I was not consulted. After he (Lobo) joined, one person had sought my reaction. I told that person the party has taken a decision and that I stand by the party,” Sequeira told TOI. In Mormugao, three-time former MLA Milind Naik, who was dropped from the Pramod Sawant cabinet over an alleged sex scandal, will struggle to revive his political career now that Sankalp Amonkar has joined the party. While BJP has never emerged victorious in Santa Cruz, it has managed to represent the constituency after inducting Congress MLAs — Antonio Fernandes during the previous government’s tenure and now, Rodolfo Fernandes.

Goa: Resentment among karyakartas, BJP in damage control mode
Ahead of 2024 Lok Sabha polls, south Goa seat may be within BJP’s grasp
Times of India | 1 week ago | |
Times of India
1 week ago | |

PANAJI: With eight Congress MLAs defecting to BJP, the saffron party is eyeing both Lok Sabha seats for the 2024 polls, especially South Goa, which it has historically found tough to secure. BJP currently has 12 MLAs in South Goa, including the three who joined on Wednesday. Former defence minister and chief minister Manohar Parrikar had managed to secure the South Goa seat for BJP in 2014, when he had 21 BJP MLAs and with the support of three MGP MLAs and two independents. Additionally, there was a 'Modi wave'. Five years later, in 2019, BJP lost the seat to Congress by over 9,000 votes. A political observer said that the merger of eight MLAs into BJP has given it an opportunity to once again grab the South Goa seat. "Now, BJP can expect more votes in Mormugao, Nuvem and Margao," the observer said. "An advantage is that MGP too is with BJP. During the last election, MGP had managed to damage BJP after its leader Ramakrishna 'Sudin' Dhavalikar was dropped from the cabinet. BJP should be able to fight the election comfortably, as it also has support from independent MLAs." BJP has so far won the South Goa seat on two occasions, and with an eye on crossing 400 seats in the Parliamentary polls, winning South Goa has become crucial for the state BJP. The party's central leadership too strongly backed the local leadership to allow the entry of Congress MLAs, so that there are no hiccups in winning both the seats. Union minister Narayan Rane has been given the responsibility of winning the South Goa seat for BJP. Of BJP's 28 MLAs, 12 are from the minority community. Now, the party does not require support of any other MLAs. In the 2022 assembly election, BJP won 20 seats and formed the government with the help of independents and MGP. In the 40-member Goa legislative assembly, 21 is the magic number, and with the eight Congress MLAs joining BJP, it has now got an 'absolute' majority in the House. The merger will also help chief minister Pramod Sawant silence opponents in the party vying for the top post.

Ahead of 2024 Lok Sabha polls, south Goa seat may be within BJP’s grasp
  • Ahead of 2024 LS polls, S Goa seat may be within BJP’s grasp
  • Times of India

    Panaji: With eight Congress MLAs defecting to BJP, the saffron party is eyeing both Lok Sabha seats for the 2024 polls, especially South Goa, which it has historically found tough to secure.BJP currently has 12 MLAs in South Goa, including the three who joined on Wednesday.Former defence minister and chief minister Manohar Parrikar had managed to secure the South Goa seat for BJP in 2014, when he had 21 BJP MLAs and with the support of three MGP MLAs and two independents. Additionally, there was a ‘Modi wave’. Five years later, in 2019, BJP lost the seat to Congress by over 9,000 votes.A political observer said that the merger of eight MLAs into BJP has given it an opportunity to once again grab the South Goa seat.“Now, BJP can expect more votes in Mormugao, Nuvem and Margao,” the observer said. “An advantage is that MGP too is with BJP. During the last election, MGP had managed to damage BJP after its leader Ramakrishna ‘Sudin’ Dhavalikar was dropped from the cabinet. BJP should be able to fight the election comfortably, as it also has support from independent MLAs.”BJP has so far won the South Goa seat on two occasions, and with an eye on crossing 400 seats in the Parliamentary polls, winning South Goa has become crucial for the state BJP. The party’s central leadership too strongly backed the local leadership to allow the entry of Congress MLAs, so that there are no hiccups in winning both the seats.Union minister Narayan Rane has been given the responsibility of winning the South Goa seat for BJP.Of BJP’s 28 MLAs, 12 are from the minority community. Now, the party does not require support of any other MLAs. In the 2022 assembly election, BJP won 20 seats and formed the government with the help of independents and MGP. In the 40-member Goa legislative assembly, 21 is the magic number, and with the eight Congress MLAs joining BJP, it has now got an ‘absolute’ majority in the House.The merger will also help chief minister Pramod Sawant silence opponents in the party vying for the top post.

  • BJP sets sights on winning South Goa seat at 2024 Lok Sabha polls
  • Times of India

    PANAJI: Union minister for micro, small and medium enterprises (MSME) Narayan Rane on Saturday said that with 12 MLAs in South Goa and the BJP government in the state, the party is confident of winning the South Goa seat for the 2024 Lok Sabha election. He also expressed confidence that that BJP will win both the Lok Sabha seats in Goa. “BJP will 100% win the South Goa seat,” Rane said. Till date, BJP has won the South Goa seat only on two occasions. Currently, the seat is represented by Congress MP Francisco Sardinha. Rane said that MGP will support the BJP candidate in the Lok Sabha election.When asked if BJP wants to increase its MLAs in South Goa, Rane said, “Under the leadership of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, in every state, somethings happen automatically and we don’t have to make an effort. But it happens in the name of Modi. It takes time to happen in Goa, but when it happens, it happens effectively.” BJP has appointed Rane to oversee two Lok Sabha constituencies, including South Goa and South Mumbai.

  • BJP eyeing south Goa seat for Lok Sabha
  • Times of India

    PANAJI: Union minister for micro, small and medium enterprises (MSME) Narayan Rane on Saturday said that with 12 MLAs in South Goa and the BJP government in the state, the party is confident of winning the South Goa seat for the Lok Sabha election. Rane also expressed confidence that that BJP will win both the Lok Sabha seats in Goa. “BJP will 100% win the South Goa seat,” Rane said. Till date, BJP has won the South Goa seat only on two occasions. Currently, the seat is represented by Congress MP Francisco Sardinha. Rane said that MGP will support the BJP candidate in the Lok Sabha election. When asked if BJP wants to increase its MLAs in South Goa, Rane said, “Under the leadership of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, in every state, somethings happen automatically and we don’t have to make an effort. But it happens in the name of Modi. It takes time to happen in Goa, but when it happens, it happens effectively.”

Goa: As 8 MLAs walk out, Congress rests in pieces
Times of India | 1 week ago | |
Times of India
1 week ago | |

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.

Goa: As 8 MLAs walk out, Congress rests in pieces
  • Goa: Under pressure from family, priests & supporters, 3 MLAs stay back in Congress
  • Times of India

    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.

Eight of Cong’s 11 Goa MLAs break away, merge with BJP
Times of India | 1 week ago | |
Times of India
1 week ago | |

PANAJI: Eight 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’s strength alone to 28 in the 40-member House. Former CM Digambar Kamat, who led the rebel MLAs along with opposition leader Michael Lobo, said they “spoke to God” before joining BJP and were advised to take an “appropriate decision”. “I am a person who believes in God. I went back to God. I told him that these are the circumstances. What should I do? God told me to take my decision. I am with you,” said Kamat, who returned to BJP after almost 17 years. The eight MLAs form two-thirds of the Congress legislative wing, which meets a provision in the anti-defection law that allows a split in such cases without the members needing to resign and contest elections. The defections take NDA’s majority of 25 (20 BJP MLAs, MGP 2, Independents 3) in the Goa assembly to 33. Congress is left with three MLAs and Goa Forward Party has one. There are two AAP MLAs and one from the Revolutionary Goans Party. The Congress MLAs’ move to join BJP has come at a time when Rahul Gandhi is leading a “Bharat Jodo” yatra. “We have joined BJP to strengthen the hands of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and chief minister Pramod Sawant… Congress chhodo, BJP ko jodo (leave Congress, strengthen BJP),” Lobo, a former BJP minister who joined Congress on the eve of the assembly elections, said. Sawant said while Congress was busy with its “Bharat Jodo” yatra, a “Congress chhodo yatra” had begun in Goa. “Many Congress leaders from other states will soon join BJP in the interest of the country and to strengthen Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s hands,” Sawant said, adding that Congress MLAs have joined BJP unconditionally, seeking only the development of the state. The sudden turn of events took place after Lobo told Sawant on Tuesday night that in case a merger is taking place, it should be done by Wednesday as he was leaving for Kenya for 4-5 days to visit his business partner’s restaurant. Having burned his hands in July, Lobo was categorical that he and wife Delilah would be at the assembly only if six other MLAs were present. On Wednesday morning, while Lobo was on the way to the airport, Sawant called him and asked him to rush to the assembly to merge the Congress legislative wing with BJP. Lobo turned back and arrived at the assembly with his travel bags. Two months ago, as first reported by TOI, there was an attempt by most of these MLAs to join BJP, but the plan fizzled out after two of them backed out at the last minute. Speaker Ramesh Tawadkar was even stationed in the assembly the entire day on July 11 and an emissary had come from Delhi for the induction. Following this, Congress moved a disqualification petition against Kamat and Lobo, which is still pending. A letter was also submitted to the speaker withdrawing its earlier decision to make Lobo the opposition leader. In the 2022 assembly elections, BJP secured 20 seats. It is supported by two MGP legislators and three Independents. “We had pledged to win 22 seats in 2022, but before the end of 2022, BJP has 28 MLAs,” Sawant said. Goa has a history of defections. In 1970, Goa witnessed its first defection when five United Goans Party MLAs, who were in the opposition, joined MGP after it was reduced to a minority following seven MGP MLAs breaking away from the party. Congress has also suffered huge setbacks earlier, with groups of MLAs changing loyalties and bringing down governments in 1989 and 1999. The latest was in 2019, when 10 MLAs defected to BJP to give stability to the Pramod Sawant-led government. Political analysts said Wednesday’s development would further strengthen BJP for the 2024 Lok Sabha polls but carried no implication for the seven-month-old Pramod Sawant government. Sources said the Congress MLAs appeared to be more interested in joining the saffron party to be part of the governing dispensation. On Wednesday morning, a few hours before the “merger”, the eight Congress MLAs gathered in the chamber of the opposition leader, Michael Lobo, who held a CLP meeting and resolved to merge with BJP. Later, they handed over the letter of merger to the legislature secretary as Speaker Ramesh Tawadkar was out of station. Following the merger, all eight MLAs officially joined BJP at its headquarters in Panaji in the presence of Sawant and BJP state president Sadanand Shet Tanavade. Besides Kamat and Lobo, the other MLAs who joined are Aleixo Sequeira (Nuvem), Rudolf Fernandes (Santa Cruz), Michael’s wife Delilah Lobo (Siolim), Sankalp Amonkar (Mormugao), Kedar Naik (Saligao) and Rajesh Faldessai (Cumbarjua). The three MLAs who remain with Congress are Quepem MLA Altone D Costa, Cuncolim MLA Yuri Alemao and Aldona MLA Carlos Ferreira. All eight who defected to BJP will be flown to Delhi to meet Modi and party chief J P Nadda. Watch Goa: Major blow for Congress as 8 MLAs join BJP in presence of CM Sawant

Eight of Cong’s 11 Goa MLAs break away, merge with BJP
  • Goa: Eight Congress MLAs break oath, merge with BJP
  • Times of India

    PANAJI: Eight months after they did a run of a temple, a chapel and a mosque taking a vow not to defect from Congress and even signing an affidavit pledging their loyalty to the party, eight of the 11 MLAs on Wednesday "merged" the Congress legislative wing into BJP taking the saffron party's strength to 28 in the 40-member House. Former CM Digambar Kamat, who led the rebel MLAs along with opposition leader Michael Lobo, said they "spoke to god" before joining BJP and were advised to take "appropriate decision". "I am a person who believes in God. I went back to God. I told him that these are the circumstances. What should I do? God told me to take my decision. I am with you," said Kamat, who returned to BJP after almost 17 years. The eight MLAs form two-thirds of the Congress legislative wing-a provision in the anti-defection law to facilitate a split without the members needing to resign and contest the polls. The move by Congress MLAs to join BJP has come at a time when Rahul Gandhi is leading a Bharat jodo rally. "We have joined BJP to strengthen the hands of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and chief minister Pramod Sawant...Congress chhodo, BJP ko jodo (leave Congress, strengthen BJP)," Lobo, a former BJP minister who joined Congress on the eve of the assembly elections, said. Sawant said while Congress is busy with Bharat jodo yatra, Congress chhodo yatra has begun in Goa. "Many Congress leaders from other states will soon join BJP in the interest of the country and to strengthen Prime Minister Narendra Modi's hands," Sawant said, adding that Congress MLAs have joined BJP unconditionally and only want development of the state. Two months ago, as first reported by TOI, there was an attempt by most of these MLAs to join BJP, but the plan fizzled out after two among them backed out at the last minute. Speaker Ramesh Tawadkar was even stationed in the assembly the entire day on July 11 and an emissary had come from Delhi for the induction. Following this, Congress moved a disqualification petition against Kamat and Lobo, which is still pending. A letter was also submitted to the speaker withdrawing its earlier decision to make Lobo the opposition leader. In the 2022 assembly, BJP secured 20 seats and is supported by two MGP legislators and three independents. “We had pledged to win 22 seats in 2022, but before the end of 2022, BJP has 28 MLAs,” Sawant said. Goa has a history of defections. In 1970, Goa witnessed its first defection when five United Goans Party MLAs, who were in the opposition, joined MGP after it was reduced to a minority following seven MGP MLAs breaking away from the party. Congress has also suffered huge setbacks earlier with groups of MLAs changing loyalties and bringing down governments in 1989 and 1999. The latest was in 2019, when 10 MLAs defected to BJP to give stability to the Pramod Sawant-led government. Political analysts said Wednesday’s development would further strengthen BJP for the 2024 Lok Sabha polls but has no implication on the six-month-old Pramod Sawant government. Sources said more than the local unit of BJP, the Congress MLAs appeared to be more interested in joining the saffron party to be part of the ruling dispensation. On Wednesday morning, a few hours before the “merger”, the eight Congress MLAs gathered in the chamber of the opposition leader, Michael Lobo, who held the CLP meeting and resolved to merge with BJP. Later, they handed over the letter of merger to legislature (secretary) as speaker Ramesh Tawadkar was out of station. Following the merger, all eight MLAs officially joined BJP at its headquarters in Panaji in presence Sawant and BJP state president Sadanand Shet Tanavade. Besides, Kamat and Lobo, the other MLAs who joined are Aleixo Sequeira (Nuvem), Rodolfo Fernandes (Santa Cruz), Michael’s wife Delilah Lobo (Siolim), Sankalp Amonkar (Mormugao), Kedar Naik (Saligao) and Rajesh Faldessai (Cumbarjua). The three MLAs who remained with Congress are Quepem MLA Altone D Costa, Cuncolim MLA Yuri Alemao and Aldona MLA Carlos Ferreira. All newly joined MLAs will be flown to Delhi to meet Modi and BJP national president J P Nadda.

  • Eight Congress legislators who joined BJP betrayed not only Gods but Goans: AAP
  • Times of India

    PANAJI: AAP has termed the joining of Congress leaders with the BJP "a very unholy alliance". "The eight legislators who joined the BJP in pursuit of wealth and power betrayed not only Gods but Goans as well," AAP state president Adv Amit Palekar said. He added that the BJP wants an "opposition-free India" and has been trying any and every method to eliminate opposition. "There have been attempts to bribe AAP leaders in Delhi and Punjab, but BJP has failed miserably," Palekar stated, claiming that AAP is the sole alternative to strongly challenge the BJP. AAP Benaulim MLA Venzy Viegas claimed that the Congress was always on sale and blasted the BJP. Viegas further said, “This time as well, these leaders will fail to provide Goans with basic amenities. The time has come for Goans to realize the opportunistic politics of such politicians”.

Goa: Cabinet reshuffle soon, Aleixo Sequeira to be made minister
Times of India | 1 week ago | |
Times of India
1 week ago | |

PANAJI: The 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." Sawant is likely to drop two to three ministers to accommodate the new additions to the party. A senior BJP leader said Congress veteran Aleixo Sequeira, who had been a minister in two previous Congress governments including the one led by Digmabar Kamat, would be the only person to be inducted immediately. A decision on the others will be taken in Delhi after BJP national president J P Nadda meets Prime Minister Narendra Modi, the senior party leader said. The central leadership will decide whether Margao MLA and former chief minister Digambar Kamat is to be inducted into the cabinet or moved to Delhi. “BJP may settle with just one ministerial berth to the eight Congress MLAs, but the final decision will be taken by the central leadership,” the senior leader said. Presently, the cabinet comprises 11 BJP ministers, including the chief minister, and one from MGP. Sequeira, 65, has always contested assembly elections on a Congress ticket. He first contested in 1994 from Loutolim constituency. He even won unopposed in 1999. He lost his first assembly election in 2012 but returned to the assembly by winning the 2022 election. Sequeira had a good equation with former chief minister Manohar Parrikar

Goa: Cabinet reshuffle soon, Aleixo Sequeira to be made minister
For months before joining BJP, Lobos faced heat from Goa govt over ‘illegalities’
The Indian Express | 1 week ago | |
The Indian Express
1 week ago | |

Former minister in the previous BJP government Micheal Lobo and his first-time MLA wife Delilah Lobo spent eight months in the Congress party that they joined ahead of the Assembly polls in Goa on February 14. But since June, they began to feel the heat as the state Town and Country Planning Department and the Food and Drugs Administration began cracking down on properties they owned in the touristy coastal belt of Bardez taluka in North Goa.Lobo, a third-time MLA from Calangute, had won his first two terms from the BJP. In the previous government led by Pramod Sawant, he was minister for Ports, Rural Development and Waste Management. In January, the Lobos entered the Congress with great pomp and show. Their entry was expected to be instrumental in reviving the Congress’s fortunes in the state at a time that it was down to just one MLA before the election. The BJP had then said that Lobo had left the party because he could not get a BJP election ticket for his wife. “For us it is desh pratham but for him it is patni pratham (For us its nation first, for him its wife first),” Chief Minister Pramod Sawant had said about Lobo’s exit from the BJP.The Congress that had appeared confident before the election results were declared on March 10, however, suffered a blow after winning only 11 seats in the 40-member House. The BJP won 20 and formed the government with the help of two Maharashtrawadi Gomantak Party MLAs and three independents.In June, about a month before the unsuccessful attempt by Congress MLAs to defect to the BJP, Goa Town and Country Planning (TCP) minister Vishwajit Rane and Lobo, then the Leader of Opposition in the Assembly, had locked horns over alleged violations of permissions granted by the North Goa Planning and Development Authority (NGPDA). The authority had issued two show-cause notices to ‘Micheal Lobo and others’ in view of the violations in two hotels in which Lobo has stakes. Lobo, former chairman of the authority, had then said that he was being ‘targeted’.Tension had been simmering between Lobo and Rane for months. During the last Assembly session, Rane had said that he would expose the “illegalities” allegedly perpetrated by Lobo during his tenure as the chairman of the North Goa Planning and Development Authority (NGPDA).In a series of tweets in June, Rane had said, “It’s also amusing to see as the report suggests, when he was in power, he had no mercy and committed illegalities such as taking away lands & selling them to people outside state. Who was responsible? How was it accomplished? What was the modus operandi? Citizens must know!”. In the same thread, he said, “LoP is one aspect, what we are doing is exposing illegalities committed. If LoP is part of the illegalities, one cannot do anything, law will take its course. Whether it is running a restaurant from an illegal premise, illegalities in ODP or misusing of power, law will catch up.”Two properties in which Lobo is a partner – Hotel Baga Deck and Nazri Resort – had earlier got notices for illegal construction, while the FDA claimed to have found violations at Pisco by the beach in Anjuna, owned by Delilah Lobo.Delilah, who was the sarpanch of the Parra panchayat before she became an MLA in March, had then said they had been running the businesses for 20-25 years, much before Lobo became an MLA. “Only now that we have joined the Congress, has something gone wrong? When all these years we were in the BJP, everything was fine?”Claiming the alleged violations were “flimsy”, like broken tiles, Lobo said: “So many ministers have also eaten at our restaurants. I asked them if there was anything wrong with our food? They said no, the food was very good…Nobody has filed any complaint against us.”Businessman-turned-politician Lobo is a three-time MLA from Calangute and a wealthy and influential figure in the Bardez taluka of North Goa where popular beaches such as Baga, Calangute, Candolim and Anjuna are located. This area has been a thriving tourist spot for decades, with several hotels, restaurants and places for tourist activities.While the Lobos themselves may not have been the target, their constituencies – especially in the touristy parts – had seen increased crackdowns by the Goa Police against touts, beggars and illegal massage parlours in the months preceding their entry into the BJP on Wednesday.The Special Investigation Team set up by Chief Minister Pramod Sawant in June had also begun making arrests in the illegal land grab cases. Majority of these cases, according to the SIT, were located in Anjuna, Assagao, Badem, Calangute, Mapusa, Nerul, Parra and Reis Magos areas of North Goa and some were from Vasco and Margao in South Goa. Thus far, however, the Goa Police had only said that “political links” in these cases were being examined.

For months before joining BJP, Lobos faced heat from Goa govt over ‘illegalities’