Times of India | 1 week ago | 25-11-2022 | 04:08 am
Panaji: Criticising chief minister Pramod Sawant for giving a ‘clean chit’ in the food grain smuggling racket, Trinamool Congress (TMC) on Thursday demanded that the state government appoint a retired judge to probe the pilferage from government godowns.TMC functionaries said the BJP government has repeatedly failed to take action against the mastermind who was also the prime accused in a similar case back in 2012. Goa police arrested five persons for allegedly smuggling rice and wheat bags, pilfered from the godowns of the civil supplies, from Goa to Karnataka.“The government has failed to probe the prime accused, Sachin Naik Borkar, who is allegedly the business partner of a cabinet minister’s brother-in-law. He was also found to be involved in the food grain scam in 2012,” said Goa IT coordinator Tanoj Adwalpalkar. “BJP is hiding the main criminals to only save their own skin and promote their vested political interests.”Adwalpalkar said that the accused individuals in the pilferage have been running the illegal business for over a decade now.“Why did Sawant give government officials a clean chit in the case so quickly, even before the investigation could be completed,” said the TMC functionaries.
The BJP’s historic victory in Gujarat is being seen as a comprehensive win of the macro and micro strategies of the party with Prime Minister Narendra Modi at its centre.“Narendrabhai is our trump card and the entire strategy of the party revolves around him. He has got an amazing emotional bonding with the people of Gujarat that has been fetching unprecedented results for the party. In this election, too, the main strategy of the party was to seek votes projecting him. Like in the past, it got us unprecedented results,” said a BJP leader.According to the leader, the poll plank of the ‘double-engine sarkar’ was a part of this strategy.“People of Gujarat love Narendrabhai (Modi). When they know that ultimately it is Modi who will be calling the shots in Gujarat, irrespective of the CM here, they will vote for the BJP. It is also to be noted that Gujaratis are business-minded who will vote to secure their interests as well. When there are so many projects coming to Gujarat in which they will have (direct or indirect) interests, they cannot go for any other electoral choice,” the leader said.Top sources say that when the party was facing huge anti-incumbency, another strategy that seemed to have worked is the change of government just a little over one year. “Initially, such a massive change was being seen as a decision that could boomerang. However, it has worked in favour of the party if you see the end result. It refreshed people’s mindset that fresh faces are being given a chance by the party,” a party leader said.The selection of candidates and the micro-planning ahead of the election are other strategies that are considered as the key to the results the BJP got.Union Home Minister Amit Shah was firmly behind this part of the party’s poll preparation. Shah stayed in Gujarat for a significant time, toured all four regions of the state—Saurashtra-Kutch, South Gujarat, Central Gujarat and North Gujarat—before the task of ticket distribution was taken up.In a number of interviews before the elections, Shah made it clear that winnability was the only criteria in the selection of candidates. The party also gave tickets to close to 20 Congress turncoats. Even after allotment of party tickets, Shah is believed to have carried out a damage control exercise to ensure that those denied the tickets did not hurt the party’s electoral prospects.A leader who is considered to be directly involved in formulating BJP’s strategy, said, “Micro-planning that includes booth management and formation of the page committees was one of the key aspects of BJP’s strategy that helped the party register such a mammoth victory in the elections… Formation of page committees was the most underrated weapon that has got us huge success. Look at the vote share! We have got around 51-53 per cent votes. It is when there were so many marriages during those days of polling. It is because our page committees have worked effectively. From the day of polling, we have been saying that our voters have come out and voted and that it was the opposition party’s voters who have abstained. Today’s results have proved it.”Echoing a similar view, another party leader said, “The page committee members were being contacted on hourly basis on the day of polling. I have never seen such an effective strategy of booth management. It is a great achievement that the party could bring its voters to the booth although there was some sense of complacency prevailing. If you can check the booth-wise figures, you would notice that in many places Muslims—considered Congress loyalists—have not come out in big numbers.”“Carpet bombing” of campaigning by bringing a battery of national-level party leaders such as Union Ministers Smriti Irani, Piyush Goyal, Rajiv Chandrashekhar and Parshottam Rupala, in addition to the chief ministers of Uttar Pradesh, Assam and Goa to canvas for the party seemed to have complemented the rallies of PM Modi and Shah.“To bring the Union Ministers and national party leaders to the state for campaigning has worked in favour by setting the tone and emphasising the Hindutva leaning of the BJP. Assam CM Himanta Biswa Sarma and Uttar Pradesh CM Yogi Adityanath specifically proved to be popular,” said a party leader. “Hindutva has been the USP of BJP and as the dates for the polls came closer, the focus of Modi and Shah shifted to highlight that and they spoke on issues (directly or indirectly) related to Hindutva.”The people of Gujarat have seen the violence-stricken days under the Congress rule and the BJP has proved that it can provide a peaceful rule without any communal riots, the leader said, pointing out that the presence of the UP and Assam CMs added to the party’s narrative on those lines.According to party sources, the BJP strategically focused on the proximity of the Congress with people such as Medha Patkar, Kanhaiya Kumar and Swara Bhaskar to portray the party’s image as “anti-Gujarat”. A number of BJP leaders talked about these persons and their association with Rahul Gandhi’s Bharat Jodo Yatra in their poll speeches.Highlighting this, a BJP leader said, “Additionally, Congress president Mallikarjun Kharge’s statement (purportedly) comparing Modi with Ravan also added to the narrative that the Congress was an anti-Gujarat party which we wanted to highlight.”
Panaji: The police on Wednesday conducted surprise special drive in Siolim area to check whether any tenants in the area were staying illegally without verification being carried out or without any valid documents. Police checked around 200 persons and rounded up 26 for staying in Goa without proper documentation or without the necessary police verification. TNN
Panaji: The crime branch on Wednesday arrested a Nigerian, Ebuka Chiuba Obiekwe, 38, after they found him in possession of drugs worth Rs 1.1 lakh near the Nagoa football ground. Police seized blue-coloured oval tablets, 32 in all, weighing 15.4g, suspected to be ecstasy tablets. tnn
PANAJI: Ahead of the inauguration of the new Goa International Airport at Mopa low cost airline IndiGo announced that it would start 12 daily flights from the new airport from January 5. IndiGo will operate 168 weekly flights connecting all the major metros along with Pune, Jaipur and Ahmedabad. The private airline said the Mopa will be the "largest ever new station launch" in the country with direct flights to eight airports. At the same time, IndiGo said that it will continue with the existing flights from Goa International Airport at Dabolim. "We are very excited to announce our largest ever new station launch with new direct connections from the New Goa International Airport in Mopa," said IndiGo chief executive officer Pieter Elbers. IndiGo said that the new flights are designed to cater to travelers who are "constantly on the lookout for new and affordable flying options" to fly to Goa whether for business or for tourism. Prime Minister Narendra Modi will inaugurate Goa’s second international airport at Mopa on December 11 but the airport will begin operations from January 5. IndiGo said that it is introducing new flights to cater to the “increasing demand” from tourists who want to travel to north Goa. “Residents of Goa will also be able to utilize these new services to fly directly to many large cities across India and utilize IndiGo’s comprehensive network at its hubs to connect onward to its entire network spanning more than 100 destinations,” said the airline in a statement.
A year after it won 28 seats in its maiden election in Delhi, the Aam Aadmi Party decided to go national, fielding candidates from 432 out of 543 Lok Sabha seats. While it managed to win four seats in Punjab, party chief Arvind Kejriwal’s national ambitions were called misplaced, especially keeping in mind that the party was formed less than two years ago.On Thursday, with voters in Gujarat giving AAP almost 13% of the vote share, and a likely five seats, Kejriwal is set to become the head of a national party, the ninth in the country.In a video address on Thursday, Kejriwal thanked the people of Gujarat for making AAP a national party.“People of Gujarat have made AAP a national party today. This is a very big thing. There are only a handful of national parties in the country. AAP was formed a mere 10 years ago. It is a young party. Today, that party has formed a government in two states. When people hear this, they are amazed. I would like to thank the people of Gujarat. The love, respect and trust I got from you has indebted me to you for life… Gujarat is a BJP bastion. We have succeeded in finding a chink. So many of you trusted us in our maiden assembly selection there. Next time, perhaps, we will win,” he said.राष्ट्रीय पार्टी बनने पर आम आदमी पार्टी के सभी कार्यकर्ताओं और सभी देशवासियों को बधाई। pic.twitter.com/sba9Q1sz1f— Arvind Kejriwal (@ArvindKejriwal) December 8, 2022In AAP’s case, to be recognised as a national party, it needed to be recognised in four states.That condition is fulfilled if it has at least a 6% vote share and two MLAs in four states. In Gujarat, winning four seats (and leading in one) and getting a 13% vote share has taken the party past that mark.The other states where it is recognised are Delhi, Punjab and Goa.According to senior party leaders, they always knew that winning in Gujarat was a tall ask, but the party fought strongly on all fronts to make sure it secured at least a 6% vote share. It even diverted attention from the Delhi municipal polls, hoping that the work done by its Delhi government in the past eight years would help it pass the halfway mark.“In Gujarat, where BJP has been in power for decades, we always knew the fight would be extremely tight. While every election we contest is to win, we also fought to become a national party. The 6% vote share and two seats was a goal always in our sights,” said a senior party leader.A national party has the right to a reserved symbol for its candidates contesting from across the country. The party is also entitled to land or a building for its national headquarters.Candidates from national parties need only one proposer to file nominations as opposed to two for others. They also get dedicated broadcast slots on Doordarshan and All India Radio during the general elections.“It is not the benefit that AAP was particularly after. But the fact is that being recognised as a national party only 10 years after being formed is a clear indication that we are here to stay. Opposition leaders have called us one-trick ponies, they have called us a party that can only win in Delhi. We have proved them wrong. Our national ambition is not hidden from anyone. We are in electoral politics to change how things are run and we have forced other parties to fight elections based on narratives set by us — those of education, health and work,” another AAP leader said.In Thursday’s address, Kejriwal too spoke about the change they have brought about in politics.“We ran a positive campaign. We showcased our model of development as it exists in Delhi and Punjab. This is what makes us different from other parties. Till now, this country saw elections being contested on caste, violence and religion-based politics. For the first time, a party spoke about issues of people, making the country number 1, bijli-paani-sadak,” he said.Addressing AAP workers in Gujarat, Kejriwal said, “We are honest people, we have integrity and we have to maintain it… I congratulate all party workers who worked so hard. Rest for a little while, but after that, get back to work. Elections will come and go, but we are in politics to serve people. That service should not stop.“Serve your communities and your village even if you don’t get votes. If you work, votes will come. But don’t work just for votes,” he said.