Panaji: TMC formed an eight-member core committee for Goa along with a 50-member ad hoc committee of coordinators on Thursday who have been asked to strengthen and rebuild the party by September 1. The party has also asked its workers to prepare for the 2024 Lok Sabha elections, an announcement that could complicate Congress’ efforts to retain the South Goa Lok Sabha seat. Former TMC state vice president Rajendra Kakodkar is the coordinator of the ad hoc core committee, which also includes the party’s Rajya Sabha MP Luizinho Faleiro, Antonio Clovis D’Costa, Dr Jorson Fernandes, Jagdish Bhobe, Samil Volvoikar and Mariano Rodrigues. “The forthcoming Lok Sabha and vidhan sabha elections are our current targets and we will bounce back in a strong and resilient manner,” said party’s Goa incharge, Kirti Azad. “Our leadership will take up local issues and bring to fore the problems of the people of Goa and pressurise the current government to deliver solutions.” Azad made the announcement at a press conference where he was accompanied by TMC national vice-president Faleiro and Kakodkar at the party office in Panaji. The cricketer-turned-politician said that the two committees have been asked to increase the membership and form new district and block committees over the next 100 days, after which a new state-level executive committee will be formed. Interestingly, former Benaulim MLA Churchill Alemao and his daughter Valanka, who contested the assembly elections on TMC tickets, do not find mention in the two ad-hoc committees. When asked about Alemao’s role in the party, Azad said that the party has not been able to contact Alemao.
Panaji: Minister for archives and archaeology Subhash Phal Dessai on Wednesday said his department would visit and inspect all historical temples in Goa and also consult with experts and historians to explore the feasibility of restoring those that were razed by the Portuguese. The minister, however, said that the Rs 20 crore allocated by the state government is meant for restoration of destroyed temples where no religious services are on. Phal Dessai’s remarks come a day after his cabinet colleague, power ministe Ramkrishna ‘Sudin’ Dhavalikar, claimed ‘shivlings’ may be buried under religious sites in Goa. “We will consult experts in the field and historians so that we understand the context. I will also be visiting some sites and if Dhavalikar also knows about such sites, he can inform the department so that we can take an appropriate decision,” said Phal Dessai. Meanwhile, TMC functionary Trajano D’Mello demanded that chief minister Pramod Sawant should clarify the state government’s stand on the issue and put an end to current attempts to create unrest. “The CM should endorse his minister Phal Dessai's decision and make a statement that will allay fears of certain sections of society,” he said. D’Mello further said Dhavalikar’s claims about ‘shivlings’ being buried under religious sites is an attempt to add fuel to the fire and divert the people’s attention. Amid the ongoing Gyanvapi mosque tensions in Uttar Pradesh, Dhavalikar had said on Tuesday that a survey needs to be conducted in Goa to examine whether ‘shivlings’ existed in temples razed by the Portuguese. He also said that temples that were destroyed need to be rebuilt. D’Mello said that Dhavalikar appeared to be contradicting his own statements made in December before the assembly elections. In December, the MGP MLA had said that the Portuguese themselves had rebuilt the destroyed temples during their rule.
Margao: Trinamool Congress Goa desk incharge Kirti Azad said on Tuesday that the party would form the government in Goa in the next five years following the next state assembly elections. Responding to queries posed by reporters over its dismal performance in the last state assembly elections, Azad exuded confidence of the party gaining strength in the state. “We are going to do it. Everything will be in place. Rome was not built in a day,” he said. Pointing out that the TMC polled 8.7% votes in the last elections, Azad said, that the party’s performance was “800 times better” than that of Congress and BJP in their first few elections in Goa. “If you compare it to what BJP did in the first three elections and what Congress did in the first four elections, you will find that we have done 800 times better than them. They couldn’t even get 1% vote share,” he said. Azad was appointed as its Goa desk incharge of the party after its state president Kiran Kandolkar as well as senior functionaries of the party resigned from their posts soon after the state assembly elections. When asked to comment on the exodus of party workers, Azad said, “Good riddance. I wish them all the best for what they have done. At least we know who stands with us. Those who are going to be with us are not opportunists.” The cricketer-turned politician, however, chose not to respond to questions over whether the TMC would back candidates in the upcoming panchayat polls.
Panaji: Chief minister Pramod Sawant’s decision to approach Union home minister Amit Shah has proven the Goa government’s inability to control sex trafficking and prostitution in the state, TMC said here on Thursday. TMC’s Goa unit said that Sawant has abdicated his responsibility and has failed to protect the people of Goa. “The failure of the BJP government in Goa is yet again brought to the fore Sawant’s inability to address the issue of increasing sex trafficking in Goa,” TMC’s Goa state in-charge Kirti Azad said. Sawant held a meeting with NGO Anyay Rahit Zindagi (ARZ) regarding sex trafficking during which he said that he will take up the issue with Shah during his next visit to New Delhi. Azad and former TMC vice-president Rajendra Kakodkar said that Sawant is passing the buck to the Centre instead of taking decisive steps to prevent prostitution in Goa. “Is it right for Sawant to pass the buck to the Union home minister for what is happening in the state? One wonders as to how Amit Shah sitting in Delhi is supposed to combat the issue of sex trafficking that is plaguing Goa,” Kakodkar said. “Goa TMC seeks accountability from the chief minister for the worsening condition of law and order in the state. It’s high time the chief minister takes stock of the situation,” Azad said.
Panaji: TMC will announce an ad hoc state committee on Wednesday and is likely to form a core committee to take decisions for the party as it goes through a restructuring process. TMC’s Goa state in-charge Kirti Azad will announce the ad hoc committee, which insiders say, may have as many as 50-80 members. Azad is expected to leave Goa on Wednesday or Thursday and return after a fortnight. TMC MP Derek O’Brien has already left the state. The ad hoc state committee’s main task is to form the executive committee and identify a new state president by August end. The committee will also have to enrol newer members and appoint block presidents for each of the 40 constituencies. “The ad hoc committee will see Rajendra Kakodkar and Dr Jorson Fernandes playing a key role. Clovis Costa and Seoloa Vas are also expected to feature prominently in it,” a TMC insider said. When the TMC formed its state executive committee in January, it had announced a 69-member committee. However, after the assembly election debacle, the party has seen several exits and has been unable to attract more than 25-35 active members for review meetings. Meanwhile, TMC has criticised the state government for the delay in disbursing funds under the Griha Aadhaar and Laadli Laxmi schemes. “When the right is created for needy women to get Rs 1,500 per month under ‘Griha Aadhar’ and Rs 1 lakh under ‘Laadli Laxmi’, who are Pramod Sawant as chief minister and Vishwajeet Rane as women and child welfare minister to delay their rights? Around 19,471 Laadli Laxmi beneficiaries and 12,658 Griha Aadhar applications are pending for two years,” Azad said.
Panaji: With domestic gas cylinder prices at the Rs 1,000 per cylinder mark, TMC on Saturday blamed the Centre for imposing an additional financial burden on the consumers in the country. The party demanded that the government must stop tormenting the people with the repeated fuel price hikes. The TMC’s Goa unit said that the hike in domestic gas prices indicates that the Centre does not care about people’s daily struggles. TMC’s Trajano D’mello said that BJP’s lack of concern for the common man’s shrinking finances is deplorable. “Not satisfied with attempting to stifle voices, the LPG hike is now hitting the common man’s stomach already struggling with price rise of essentials, making it difficult to cook the same is deplorable,” he said.
Panaji: Cricketer-turned politician Kirti Azad, who switched from Congress to Trinamool Congress (TMC) last year, met with the functionaries of TMC’s state unit to inform them in the wake of the series of resignations that an ad-hoc state committee will be formed in the coming week to restructure the party in Goa. Azad, along with TMC MPs Luizinho Faleiro and Derek O’Brien chaired two meetings on Friday at the party office to take stock of the spate of exits, including that of the state party president Kiran Kandolkar. Azad, a member of the 1983 World Cup-winning team, replaced Lok Sabha MP Mahua Moitra as the party’s Goa unit in-charge on Wednesday and immediately arrived in Goa to review the situation that the party finds itself in. The party tried Goa as a stepping stone to expand its national footprint but couldn’t win a single seat. Immediately after the results on March 10, many TMC office-bearers and candidates exited the party, including its state president Kiran Kandolkar. TMC then dissolved its Goa unit and announced an overhaul. “Kirti Azad said that the TMC will form an ad-hoc committee in the coming days to help restructure the party. The committee will be announced by May 10 to restructure the party. Their job will be to work on the ground, get in people and finally submit a full-fledged committee,” said a TMC functionary. Aside from the high ranking TMC functionaries, 25 other TMC members were present for the meeting. Azad and O’Brien are expected to stay in Goa for the next couple of days to stabilize the party and steer the selection of the ad-hoc committee.
Calangute: Calangute panchayat member Anthony Menezes on Wednesday announced that he along with others will field a panel, ‘Calangute against Corruption’, in the coming panchayat elections. Menezes, who was the TMC candidate in Calangute in the recently concluded assembly elections, also announced that he has resigned from the party. “A lot of people from Calangute asked me to join hands with them for the coming panchayat elections. Since they’re from different parties, I decided to resign from TMC and we will contest as ‘Calangute Against Corruption’,” he said.
Ponda: A week after TMC announced that it would restructure its Goa unit, the party appointed cricketer-turned-politician Kirti Azad as its in-charge for the state, replacing Lok Sabha MP Mahua Moitra. Party general secretary Abhishek Banerjee made the announcement on Wednesday. “Under the guidance and inspiration of chairperson Mamata Banerjee, TMC is pleased to appoint Kirti Azad as the state in-charge of the (TMC’s) Goa unit with immediate effect,” said Banerjee. Azad, a member of the 1983 world cup-winning team, had switched over to TMC from Congress last year. He was earlier a BJP MP from Bihar. TMC had appointed two party functionaries — Rajya Sabha MP Sushmita Dev and former MLA Sourav Chakraborty — as state co-in-charges for Goa to assist Moitra ahead of the assembly elections in Goa. Moitra was appointed Goa in-charge in November. Despite launching an aggressive campaign with lofty promises and after inducting several senior functionaries from Congress ahead of the assembly polls, TMC drew a blank in Goa. Immediately after the results were declared on March 10, many of the party’s office bearers and candidates began an exodus from the party, including its state president Kiran Kandolkar. TMC then dissolved its local unit and announced that it would reorganise the party. Many TMC office-bearers and candidates in Goa pinned the blame on election strategist Prashant Kishor and his Indian Political Action Committee (I-PAC). Party functionaries and candidates claim that Kishor and I-PAC misled them and also failed to clear pending bills and dues to local vendors.For now, the party remains in disarray and Azad may have to work on rebuilding it in the state. “We wish him the best for all future endeavours,” said Banerjee.
Panaji: As senior TMC functionaries resigned en-masse, including the state president Kiran Kandolkar, the party’s state general secretary Trajano D’Mello said that AITC had dissolved the local party unit several weeks ago. However, D’Mello offered no proof to back his claim nor has AITC issued any tweet to that effect. D’Mello said that TMC candidates and functionaries were misleading people by claiming to resign from their posts and the party. “After the results, the AITC felt it fit to dissolve the Goa state unit. The AITC recently stated that the Goa unit of TMC is on its way to be restructured,” D’Mello said. “People are now resigning from TMC citing their past designation. This is misleading. They no longer hold any designations,” he said.
Panaji: The churn in TMC continued with state party president Kiran Kandolkar quitting the party on Wednesday. Kandolkar blamed poll strategist Prashant Kishor and the Indian Political Action Committee (I-PAC) for the party’s debacle in the state assembly elections. TMC’s candidates for Mapusa, Siolim and Porvorim also quit the party along with Kandolkar, saying that they saw no hope for the party in Goa. All of them said that their supporters and workers had asked them to ditch the TMC. TMC’s Mapusa candidate Tarak Arolkar, Porvorim candidate Sandeep Vazarkar, Siolim candidate Leo Dias Aldona panch member Rajesh Pirankar and former Aldona sarpanch Deepak Naik quit the TMC along with their supporters. Three days earlier, 32 TMC members quit. Kandolkar challenged Kishor’s claim that he was not involved in the state legislative assembly elections and said that Kishor’s main objective was to defeat Congress and permit BJP to win. “I feel that Kishor came to Goa only to blackmail Congress and to divide the opposition vote,” Kandolkar said. “He wanted to show Congress that they should not take him lightly. He was using Goa to show Congress the kind of damage he can do. If he came to Goa, he came to help BJP win not to defeat them. Kishor distanced himself from Goa’s polls well before the elections and claimed that he was in Goa just for a holiday. However, TMC Rajya Sabha MP Luizinho Faleiro clearly stated that Kishor played an instrumental role in convincing him to leave Congress and join TMC. Kandolkar said that he has held 17-18 meetings with Kishor about election strategy. “If anybody has failed, it is not TMC or the candidates, it is I-PAC. And I-PAC was steered by Prashant Kishor and he is the one who misled Goa, the voters and everyone. I am making an allegation against Prashant Kishor, let him clarify,” Kandolkar said. Despite a media blitz and grand promises, TMC failed to win a single seat. Kandolkar said that in hindsight he realised that he and other party workers made a mistake. “We were quiet for many days but we have finally made our decision because we know that there is no future for TMC in Goa. I spoke to AITC general secretary Abhishek Banerjee. It was a one-hour-long meeting and I realised that TMC does not have any clear plans for Goa.”
Staff ReporterMapusaAll India Trinamool Congress’ Goa unit president Kiran Kandolkar along with the party’s three candidates in the recent state assembly polls and workers on Wednesday resigned from the party.Kandolkar held political strategist Prashant Kishor responsible for the defeat of the party in Goa and said that instead he helped BJP to win the elections.Addressing media persons, Kandolkar, in the presence of the party’s Mapusa, Siolim and Porvorim candidates Tarak Arolkar, Leo Dias, and Sandip Vazarkar respectively, panchayat members and other party workers, announced about his exit from TMC as he had resigned from its primary membership along with others in Mapusa. Kandolkar said that the decision was taken after consulting his supporters.Stating that the TMC has no future in Goa, Kandolkar said, “I don’t blame TMC but hold Prashant Kishor responsible for the humiliating defeat in Goa as the party had given responsibility to him. He may be the biggest political strategist but he has failed in Goa.”He further said, “Prashant Kishor’s entire strategy has failed. First Aleixo Reginaldo had joined but he failed to retain him in the party which was a loss for us. Secondly, he failed to bring Mamata Banerjee to Goa during the last leg of election while another party’s national leader had come and campaigned in Goa.”Kandolkar further said that Kishor came to Goa to blackmail the Congress party and Sonia Gandhi adding, “He wanted to show that if he is not taken then he would reduce the Congress vote share.The opposition was divided so BJP is ruling with 33% of vote share while 67% vote share was divided for which the opposition and Prashant Kishor is responsible. He eventually ended up helping BJP to form government again in Goa.”Replying to a question whether he had made a mistake, Kandolkar said, “We did what we felt was right at that time. It’s human to commit a mistake. We did commit a mistake.”Kandolkar also accused IPAC Company of cheating Goans and said, “Huge bills of taxi drivers, volunteers who were employed during polls, printers, hoarding and others were not paid.”Kandolkar further said that the opposition parties have failed to unite which has resulted in victory of BJP.Commenting about his future plans, Kandolkar said that he would work for people as an independent and not float a new party.It may be recalled that on Tuesday, Colvale ZP and Tivim candidate Kavita Kandolkar, who is Kiran’s wife, along with 32 supporters, had resigned from the party.
Party to restructure Goa state committeePanaji: On a day when Colvale Zilla Panchayat member Kavita Kandolkar, a member of the Trinamool Congress (TMC) party and wife of Goa TMC president Kiran Kandolkar, quit the party along with all her supporters from the Thivim constituency, the All India Trinamool Congress announced on Monday that it has decided to restructure the entire Goa state committee with immediate effect.Kavita Kandolkar was also a candidate of the TMC party during the recently-held Goa Assembly polls. She has resigned from the primary membership of TMC, along with sarpanchas, panchayat members and her supporters. She has submitted her resignation letter to the Goa TMC president.Kandolkar said she took the step following pressure from her supporters, as the Mamata Banerjee-led party was not accepted by the people of Goa at the Assembly polls.She also said that I-PAC and its then mentor Prashant Kishor had failed to fulfill the promises made before the elections on behalf of TMC.“People who have not been paid their money for various services during the elections were coming to my residence asking for the pending dues. This is also one of the reasons why I quit the party,” she said.Meanwhile, the TMC has said that it has decided to restructure the Goa state executive committee with immediate effect. “A newly-constituted ad hoc committee will be announced shortly,” the party tweeted. “We take this opportunity to reiterate our solemn commitment towards working for the people of Goa and their well-being,” the party said.
Panaji: Amid simmering differences within the Mamata Banerjee-led TMC in Goa, Kavita Kandolkar, the wife of state party president Kiran Kandolkar, quit TMC on Monday. With strong indications that Kiran himself is on his way out, TMC announced that it would restructure the state committee immediately. Kavita’s exit adds to the steady exodus of TMC office-bearers in the aftermath of the February 14 assembly elections. “My workers told me people have not accepted TMC as a party and thus I should resign,” she said. This was their wish and thus I resigned from primary membership of the party,” said Kavita, when asked for the reasons behind her resignation. Kavita, who had unsuccessfully contested the recent polls on the party ticket, also said that the Prashant Kishor-led election strategy group Indian Political Action Committee (I-PAC) had failed to pay vendors and adhere to the commitments made to suppliers. “IPAC and Prashant Kishore promised many things to people but they did not fulfil the promises. They failed to pay the taxi operators, printers and other small businessmen who are now coming to our doorstep asking for payment. I decided that I don’t want anything to do with TMC,” said Kavita. Soon after Kavita announced her resignation, TMC put out a tweet saying that the party was restructuring the entire AITC-Goa state committee with immediate effect. We have decided to restructure the entire AITC Goa state committee, with immediate effect. A newly-constituted ad-hoc committee will be announced shortly. We take this opportunity to reiterate our solemn commitment towards working for the people of Goa and their well-being, TMC tweeted. Kiran was unavailable for comment but a TMC senior functionary said that the entire party unit in Goa will be overhauled. “The president will also be changed. That is for sure. When the party says that it will restructure, that means everyone will be dropped,” said the functionary. Sources also say that after Kiran’s visit to West Bengal to meet senior TMC leaders, Rajya Sabha Derek O’Brien had informed party functionaries in Goa that after returning from West Bengal, Kiran would convene a meeting in Goa to discuss the way forward. Though O’Brien put this message on the party’s group chat, differences between Kandolkar and the national unit appear to have cropped up and Kandolkar did not convene the meeting, nor did he discuss what transpired at his meeting in West Bengal. The party’s Margao candidate Mahesh Amonkar was the first to leave the party, submitting his resignation a day after the election results were announced on March 10. Since then, several other functionaries quit TMC, including party general secretary Vijai Pai. Kavita, the Colvale ZP member, quit TMC along with her supporters, which include local sarpanchas and panch members.
Canacona: Congress’ Chetna Yatra, which was organised to strengthen and rejuvenate the party, saw differences come to the fore causing much embarrassment to the new state party president, Amit Patkar. Congress general secretary Janardhan Bhandari walked out of the meeting after seeing Mahadev Dessai, a former GPCC secretary who had revolted against the party and contested on a TMC ticket for the 2022 assembly elections. This left many of those present fuming. What was meant to be an effort to build the party at grassroots level, ended up raking major differences. Dessai said that he worked for Congress for the past 17 years, but was denied the party ticket at the last moment, which prompted him to contest on the TMC ticket. He said that he remains a strong Congress worker, adding that Patkar had invited him to the meet. Like me Bhandari too didn't fare well in the 2022 elections, Desai remarked. The anger was visible even on Sunday. In a sharp reaction to Dessai’s blaming Bhandari for his failure to win the Canacona seat, block president Pralay Bhagat termed the statement as unwarranted and uncalled for.
Keri: Functionaries and workers of Janata Dal (Secular) assembled at Kankumbi on Sunday to initiate a state-level ‘Jal Yatra’ to pressurise the Karnataka government into completing the Kalasa-Bhandura project at the earliest to meet North Karnataka’s drinking and irrigation water needs. MP Prajwal Revanna from Hassan district launched the Janata Jal Yatra in Kankumbi near the source of the Malaprabha river by worshipping a sacred pitcher of water. He alleged that the Karnataka government was displaying apathy towards the speedy completion of the Kalasa-Bhandura project and showing increasing negligence towards using available water resources to fulfill people’s requirements. He highlighted efforts of former Karnataka chief minister H D Kumaraswamy for allocating Rs 100 crore towards the project in 2006 and initiating needful steps towards the end. He said that Karnataka has asked for 36 tmc feet of water from the Mhadei basin in Karnataka, but, the Mhadei Water Dispute Tribunal, allocated just 13 tmc. Considering Karnataka’s situation, there is a need to allow three tmc feet more water at the earliest, Revanna said. Congress and BJP governments that came to power have failed to continue the long-pending project, he alleged. Recently, Karnataka’s Rajya Sabha member G S Chandrashekhar had urged the Centre to declare the Kalasa- Bhandura project a national project and allow Karnataka necessary assistance for speedy completion of the work to enable fulfilling the drinking and irrigation water requirements of the people of Dharwad, Belagavi, Bagalkot and Gadag districts. Karnataka chief minister Basavaraj Bommai told reporters that his government has already held two rounds of talks with the authorities concerned at the Centre for getting a nod for the detailed project report and clearances from the Union environment ministry as early as possible. The tribunal has allocated water share to the states concerned, but the issue is pending before the Supreme Court.
Panaji: The newly sworn-in minister Ramakrishna ‘Sudin’ Dhavalikar has said that he will be happy with whatever portfolios that will be allocated to him by the Chief Minister Pramod Sawant.Dhavalikar took charge of office at the Secretariat on Monday before allocation of portfolios to him. He was inducted in the Pramod Sawant-led cabinet on April 9 along with Nilkanth Halarnkar and Subhash Phaldesai.“The Maharashtrawadi Gomantak Party has given unconditional support to the Bharatiya Janata Party to form the government after the election results. I will be happy with whichever ministry that is allocated by the Chief Minister,” he said.He further said that he would be fine with any department and try to do full justice to the ministry that will be allocated to him.Incidentally, Dhavalikar is the only non-BJP MLA in the current government.“The portfolio will be allotted within 2-3 days’ time,” he added.Dhavalikar was a minister in the Manohar Parrikar-led government as well as Sawant-led governments between 2017 till 2019 before he was dropped from the cabinet ahead of the last Lok Sabha polls and by-elections to Shiroda, Mandrem and Panaji seats.MGP had contested the recent assembly elections with the Trinamool Congress as a pre-poll alliance.However, the oldest regional party had extended support to the BJP to form the government hours after the election results were declared on March 10.
Panaji: Former TMC Goa founder member Yatish Naik joined BJP along with his supporters on Monday. Naik had earlier quit Congress following his differences with former GPCC president Girish Chodankar, and had joined TMC ahead of the 2022 assembly elections. However, a few months after he joined the Mamata Banerjee-led party, he called it quits. He had sought to contest the elections from Saligao. The former TMC member was inducted into BJP on Monday by party state president Sadanand Shet Tanavade, who said that although Naik had decided to join BJP immediately after he left TMC, he chose to wait until the elections concluded. “Stability and development are the two mantras that can lead the state to prosperity,” Naik said and added that people who are concerned about Goa will agree with BJP’s core philosophy of stability and development. “I will work for the party as per the responsibilities given to me,” he said.
PANAJI: Former TMC Goa founder member Yatish Naik joined BJP along with his supporters on Monday. Naik had earlier quit Congress following his differences with former GPCC president Girish Chodankar, and had joined TMC ahead of the 2022 assembly elections. However, a few months after he joined the Mamata Banerjee-led party, he called it quits. He had sought to contest the elections from Saligao. The former TMC member was inducted into BJP on Monday by party state president Sadanand Shet Tanavade, who said that although Naik had decided to join BJP immediately after he left TMC, he chose to wait until the elections concluded. “Stability and development are the two mantras that can lead the state to prosperity,” Naik said and added that people who are concerned about Goa will agree with BJP’s core philosophy of stability and development. “I will work for the party as per the responsibilities given to me,” he said.
PANAJI: Chief minister Pramod Sawant on Saturday inducted three more ministers into his cabinet-BJP MLAs Nilkanth Halarnkar (Tivim) and Subhash Phal Dessai (Sanguem), and MGP's Ramkrishna Dhavalikar (Marcaim)-filling up the vacancies after he took oath on March 28 along with eight ministers from BJP. This is for the first time in the history of Goa's politics that BJP has the maximum number of ministers-11 of 12-in the cabinet. It is also the first time in two decades that no independent MLA found a place in the cabinet. Governor P S Sreedharan Pillai administered the oath of office and secrecy to the new ministers -Dhavalikar, Halarnkar and Phal Dessai-at the Darbar hall in Raj Bhavan. All three ministers took oath in Marathi. Sawant said it will take some time to allocate portfolios to the newly inducted ministers. BJP state president Sadanand Shet Tanavade said BJP had kept 11 cabinet berths with itself after dis. BJP initially planned to induct an Ind MLABJP is a national party and the central leadership felt that there should be more representation for BJP MLAs as the party has won 20 seats,” he said. Tanavade also said BJP had initially planned to induct independent MLAs in the cabinet but decided against it. “We had to change some things based on the decisions taken by the central leadership. We have gone as per the advice of the central leadership. They felt that all castes and sections of society should be given representation,” he said. Ponda taluka has benefitted the most with the induction of Dhavalikar, as all four MLAs- —besides Dhavalikar, Ravi Naik (Ponda), Subhash Shirodkar (Shiroda) and Govind Gaude (Priol)—from the taluka have been given cabinet berths. Irrespective of whichever party formed the government, Dhavalikar has been a minister since he was first elected in 1999. Sawant had dropped him from the cabinet in 2019 after two MGP MLAs merged the party’s legislature wing into BJP. MGP, which had shunned BJP before elections, had a post-poll alliance with TMC and the Dhavalikar brothers had even categorically stated that the party would never support Pramod Sawant as the chief minister. But with BJP getting 20 seats, MGP not only softened its stand but also gave unconditional support to Sawant. Dhavalikar said whichever portfolios are allocated to him, he will do justice to them. “I got an opportunity to become a minister since MGP gave unconditional support to BJP,” he said. Prior to the swearing-in, Phal Dessai, who was earlier elected as the deputy speaker, resigned from the post. Tanavade said Phal Dessai had faced a tough contest and it was necessary to give representation to Sanguem in the cabinet.
Margao: TMC’s Rajya Sabha MP Luizinho Faleiro speaking in the Parliament on Wednesday demanded reservation for gawdas, kunbis and velips of Goa in the state legislative assembly. Pointing out that these tribals declared as scheduled tribes constitute 10.23% of the state’s population, Faleiro said that 60 years after Goa’s Liberation they have failed to find proper representation in the state assembly. He further pointed out that even 19 years after they were declared STs, the tribes are still “kept outside the Goa legislative assembly”, which he said was in clear violation of the provisions of the Constitution. While the STs have reservations in panchayats, municipalities and zilla panchayats, Faleiro said that with no representation in Goa assembly, “the process has been left incomplete”. “It’s very sad gawdas, kunbis and velips are oppressed, suppressed and exploited economically, socially and politically even after 60 years of the Liberation of Goa and 19 years after the declaration as India’s scheduled tribes, first by the colonial powers and now due to lack of political representation,” Faleiro said. He further urged the government of India to “end this hostile discrimination and provide proportional and equitable representation” to them in the Goa legislative assembly as per the mandate of the Constitution.
On Friday, TMC MP Derek O’Brien raised in Parliament the issue of difficulties faced by people having certain Portuguese-origin names in receiving their provident funds. He pointed out that many people in Goa have accents like apostrophes, hyphens, cedila, tilde, etc, in their names, which, he said, the software is unable to process. He stressed on the need for the central government to “introduce accents in software for smooth dispersal of provident funds”. “Just because the EPF software developer did not foresee this, the citizens should not be made to undergo hardships or be made to change their names unnecessarily and illegally,” O’Brien said.
PANAJI: Undeterred by the poor performance in the state assembly, Trinamool Congress (TMC) on Saturday said it will expand its presence in all 40 constituencies of Goa and will encourage its cadre to contest the coming panchayat elections in the state. Party functionaries sat down with the candidates as well as party office bearers to understand why the party failed to open its account in the state assembly elections despite a publicity blitz and rapid induction of influential individuals at the constituency level. State TMC president Kiran Kandolkar, who has been critical of the role played by Indian Political Action Committee (I-PAC), said that winning and losing is part of the electoral journey. “The candidates were asked about the results, the difficulties during the election phase, why the result was the way it is. TMC came to Goa just three to four months before the elections and despite the short time, we managed to put up candidates. Winning and losing are part and parcel of elections,” said Kandolkar. TMC leaders Ashok Tanwar, MPs Sushmita Dev, Luizinho Faleiro and Derek O’Brien were present for the meeting. TMC’s Benaulim candidate Churchill Alemao was also present.
Press Trust of IndiaNew DelhiPetrol and diesel prices were on Tuesday hiked by 80 paise a litre each while domestic cooking gas LPG rates were increased by `50 per cylinder as state oil firms ended an over four-and-a-half month election-related hiatus in rate revision.Petrol in Delhi will now cost `96.21 per litre as against `95.41 previously while diesel rates have gone up from `86.67 per litre to `87.47, according to a price notification of state-owned fuel retailers.In Mumbai, the petrol price has been hiked by `0.84 per litre to `110.82 per litre, and diesel by `0.86 to `95 per litre.The rates, which differ from state to state depending on the incidence of local taxes such as VAT, are likely to continue to rise over the next few days as state oil firms recoup losses from keeping prices on hold for a record 137 days.According to CRISIL Research, a hike of `15-20 per litre is required to fully pass through a US $30 per barrel increase in the cost of raw material (crude oil).Simultaneously, the price of non-subsidised LPG cylinders has been increased to `949.50 per 14.2-kg bottle in the national capital and Mumbai, and to `976 in Kolkata.While LPG rates were last revised on October 6, 2021, petrol and diesel prices had been on a freeze since November 4 as five states, including Uttar Pradesh and Punjab, went to the polls.LPG prices had gone up by close to `100 per cylinder between July and October 6, 2021, before criticism halted the monthly revision in rates.Non-subsidised cooking gas is the one that consumers buy after exhausting their quota of 12 cylinders at subsidised or below market price. However, the government pays no subsidy on LPG in most cities and the price of the refill that consumers, including the poor women who got free connection under the much-talked Ujjwala scheme, buy is the same as non-subsidised or market price LPG.This is the highest rate ever that subsidised LPG users will pay. The non-subsidised rate had peaked at `1,241 in January 2014, but at that time, the government provided as much as `600 per cylinder subsidy.Since May 2020, no subsidy has not been provided to consumers except some to those in far-flung areas to make up for higher inland freight.The resumption of fuel price hikes has fanned concerns of stoking inflation, which is already above the targeted 6 per cent level.The Opposition parties were quick to attack the government on the price rise, with Congress, TMC and Left parties forcing two adjournments of proceedings in the Rajya Sabha.Both LPG and auto fuel prices had been on a freeze despite the cost of raw material spiralling, first because of demand returning with economies globally, rebounding from the pandemic-induced slowdown, and then due to the Russia-Ukraine crisis.A 5 KG LPG cylinder will now cost `349, while the 10 kg composite bottle will come for `669.The 19-kg commercial cylinder now costs `2,003.50.
PANAJI: Ten days after the assembly election results, Congress is set to undertake an exercise to study the reasons for its rout in Goa. Congress president Sonia Gandhi has assigned All India Congress Committee (AICC) observer and MP Rajani Patil the task of collecting feedback from Congress MLAs, office bearers, its losing candidates, and the Pradesh Congress Committee (PCC). Patil will arrive in Goa on Tuesday. During her two-day visit, Patil will hold discussions with Congress functionaries and workers to understand what went so wrong that the party was not even able meet its 2017 score of 17 seats despite a huge angst against the BJP-led government, a party insider said. Congress won 11 seats while its alliance partner GFP, one. The party, a functionary said, was confident of winning 16 to 17 seats. “It was a jolt that none had expected. Though we had anticipated some division of votes, none thought it could deal such a blow and, more particularly, in Salcete,” the party functionary said. The seniors, he said, perhaps were overconfident that, after 10 years, the people were ready to send BJP home, and they underestimated the threat of its votes splintering. “That was our biggest mistake though still many are unwilling to accept it,” the functionary said. Besides, the candidates fielded by TMC, AAP, and NCP, RG candidates also drilled a rather substantial hole in Congress’ vote share. In Navelim, the constituency in the Salcete, which was a Congress stronghold, BJP opened its account with its candidate Ulhas Tuenkar polling 5,168 votes as the constituency saw a multi-cornered contest. In Velim, which went to AAP, the Congress candidate was pushed to the third position. “It is difficult to digest that Congress candidates in its stronghold are not just defeated but relegated to third position. It shows our precarious position in Goa,” a party insider said.
Victory despite anti-incumbencyDr. Alaknanda ShringareDespite anti-incumbency, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) was able to win 20 seats in the recently concluded assembly elections in Goa. The presence of new political parties and the candidate factor could be the reason for this victory. An examination of vote share and seat share of the party helps us analyse this factor in a better way.With the entry of new parties, the competition looked multi-polar but ended up being a bi-polar competition between the BJP and the Congress, with both parties together polling more than 50% of the votes. In 2012, both these parties together polled almost 65% of the votes, which reduced to 61% in 2017. This decline of vote share can be attributed to the entry of new political parties. In 2017, the votes were divided between two new political parties in the fray – the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) and the Goa Forward Party (GFP). The Goa Suraksha Manch also made a buzz in 2017 but could not make much impact by way of vote share. The vote share of both the Congress and the BJP had reduced by 2 percentage points while the MGP was the only party which increased its vote share by 6 percentage points.In the recent elections, with the entry of the Trinamool Congress and the Revolutionary Goans Party, the votes further got divided, reducing the total vote share of both the Congress and the BJP to around 56%. The Congress vote share has reduced from 29% in 2017 to 23% in 2022. Due to the pre-poll alliance with the GFP, the Congress did not contest all 40 seats and its vote share is counted on the basis of 37 seats. The BJP, which contested all 40 seats, was able to add to its earlier vote share by only one percentage point by winning 33% votes, compared to 32% in the last election. The MGP’s vote share reduced by 3 percentage points as compared to the last assembly elections. The opposition votes got divided with the entry of new players, who together polled around 16% votes. A divided opposition helped the BJP to increase its seat share.Analysing only the vote share of the party is misleading, and one also needs to look into the seat share of the party, which ultimately decides who forms the government. The vote share of the parties does not correspond with their seat share. In the 2017 assembly elections, with 29% votes, the Congress won 17 seats while the BJP, with 32% votes, was able to win 13 seats. The BJP registered an increase in seat share in 2022 by winning 20 seats with just 1% increase in its vote base. A split in opposition votes could be one of the factors for the BJP’s seat gain despite the presence of the anti-incumbency factor.The election results also confirm the stronghold of significant players and families over some constituencies. The CSDS-Lokniti studies conducted in the past confirm that in Goa, a majority of the voters vote for candidate in the assembly elections and for the party in the Lok Sabha elections. Among 40 constituencies, in 12 constituencies candidates have their stronghold of which 7 are in BJP and added to the seat share of the party. In some places, the control of the candidate extends over two or three constituencies. The hold of the candidate is so strong that the party cannot discipline them but has to share power with them, which is one of the emerging characteristics of Goan politics. Perhaps it has to do with the efficacy of their constituency management and the small size of Goa’s constituencies. They get elected despite changing their party loyalty.Defections have become a common feature of Goan politics. The candidate who registered a win even though he/she changed party loyalty confirms once again the stronghold of candidates over their constituencies. Party ideology and loyalty has taken a back seat. Rarely politicians are punished for such activities by the voters. Between 2017 and 2022, most Congress MLAs switched loyalty and joined the BJP, and many of them were given ticket by the BJP as they were considered winnable candidates. Out of 15 candidates who defected from the Congress, nine of them added to the seat share of the BJP and perhaps have added to the vote share of the BJP too, with some candidates winning with huge margins. The challenge before the BJP now is how to balance the power equations among its heavyweight candidates.Rise in women voter turnoutDr. Alaknanda ShringareOver a period, Goa has witnessed not only an increase in the number of women voters but also a corresponding increase in women voter turnout compared to men since the 2012 assembly elections. Turnout of women has increased by 10 percentage points in the last few elections. This increase can be seen in almost all constituencies. Women do have a greater impact on election results and women as voters are significant to political parties. This explains the competition among political parties to announce schemes and reservation for women in jobs. There is also an increase in the number of women contesting elections from 19 in 2017 to 26 in 2022. It is also the first time in the last five elections that three women were elected, with Deviya Rane securing the highest vote share among all 40 elected candidates.An increase in the number of women voters and their voting percentage makes it crucial to understand how women voted in 2022. An analysis of gender-wise voting preference in Goa based on the CSDS-Lokniti post-poll survey data for rural and urban areas reveals that the bulk of the BJP’s support came from urban areas, especially women (41%). There is an increase (35%) in the urban population, making urban areas as an important ground for winning elections. The Congress support base can also be visible more among the urban women (32%) and men (34%) compared to rural areas but this did not result in increasing their seat share. On the contrary, the TMC-MGP alliance, the AAP and the RG mustered increased support base among rural women as compared to urban ones. This indicates that the promises of various schemes and reservations in jobs for women made by the TMC and the AAP did not create an impact on urban women.One can also find variations among how women of different communities voted. It is evident from the Census 2011 data that Goa consists of 66% Hindus, 25% Christians and 8% Muslims. The survey results suggest that a large number of the BJP’s support base came from Hindus. There is an increase of 10 percentage points among Hindu women voting for the BJP (43%) compared to 2017 elections (33%), which is also true for men with a slightly high percentage (13%). Most Muslim and Christian men and women voted for the Congress with the number being high for Muslim women (56%). However, the Congress lost support among Christians in the present elections (35%) compared to previous assembly elections (41%) as they were attracted to new political parties in the fray. A sizable number of Christian men and women (15%) voted for the TMC-MGP alliance. The AAP and the RG also received good support among men and women from the Christian communities.The BJP has been able to create a strong support base among all caste groups with the percentage being very high for ST women (59%), followed by the Hindu upper caste women (52%) and Marathi women (41%). However, support for the BJP is less among women of the Bhandari Samaj and other OBCs as compared to men.(Dr. Alaknanda Shringare is an assistant professor at the Department of Political Science in Goa University)
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.