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No one’s speaking, but there’s unease over Speaker Sawant performing Parrikar’s role on Aug 15

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RUPESH SAMANT/ Team The Goa Spotlight

Short summary

  1. Sawant to unfurl National Flat on August 15
  2. Soft murmurs in the cabinet over Sawant’s growing influence

Panjim: The growing influence of Speaker and BJP MLA Pramod Sawant within the government has created a soft rumbling within the ruling coalition. Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar’s act of empowering Sawant to unfurl National Flag on Independence Day has further fuelled the discontent, though it is yet to spill out in public.

Goa will create a history of sorts when Sawant will unfurl National Flag in Panjim on August 15. According to one of a senior cabinet ministers from BJP, this would be the first time in the history that the head of the Legislature would be the performing the role earmarked for the Head of Government ( Executive) for the Independence Day function.

“The position of Speaker is neutral. He can’t speak on behalf of the government. And during Independence Day, the government is supposed to spell out its policies, programmes and also future course of action,” the minister said, on the condition of anonymity.

The discontent brewing within the cabinet is clearly visible in the comment offered by this minister who also expressed his apprehensions over CM’s act of not having any caretaker CM or appointing Cabinet Advisory Committee (CAC) during his absence.

The precedents set within the country points out that in absence of the Chief Minister, the senior most or a senior minister is made as a caretaker. The seniority is usually decided on the order in which they were administered Oath by Governor during their Swearing in, or their sitting in the Assembly.

 

According to the seniority order in this government PWD minister and member of the coalition MGP, Sudin Dhavlikar is second and TCP mimister and Goa Forward Party president, Vijai Sardesai, another key ally is third in order of precedence in the government. Mr Dhavlikar is currently recuperating from a health as are ministers Francis D Souza and Pandurang Madkaikar who have been stripped off their portfolios

The Goa Spotlight checked with Raj Bhavan and the Legislature wing, both the pecking orders of seniority remain the same. Francis D Souza is number four followed by MGP’s Manohar Ajgaonkar, Independent MLA Rohan Khaunte, BJP’s Pandurang Madkaikar, Independent MLA Govind Gaude, Goa Forward’s Vinod Palyekar and Jayesh Salgaoncar and then BJP’s Mauvin Godinho and Vishwajit Rane, who were took oath in the second lot of swearing in of ministers.

This is the same order which is followed in the Assembly while arranging for the seating of these legislators. So since Sudin Dhavalikar is recuperating from a heart related ailment, Sardesai could have become caretaker CM. Interestingly, Mauvin Godinho’s supporters are making a case for him, since he is the senior most BJP minister if you exclude those who are on the unwell list, i.e D Souza and Madkaikar

 

Pramod Sawant’s increasing influence in government

But the influence of Sawant, who is tipped off to be inducted in the State cabinet after the arrival of Parrikar later this month, is increasing. Sources stated that the Chief Minister, during his three month visit to the USA for treatment was in constant touch with Sawant.

The Speaker has been considered as a close aid of Parrikar whom he trusts, more than any other legislator in the party legislature wing. That was also the reason why Sawant was elected as Speaker when the BJP formed the government in 2017 despite a fragmented verdict.

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Leads & Specials

Everyone in the Goa BJP will go home except Rajya Sabha member Vinay Tendulkar- Parsekar

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Not a single BJP karyakarta will support Sopte in Mandrem; the BJP is losing support of the bhandaris and Marathas too, says former CM Lakshmikant Parsekar

Team Spotlight

Mandrem: In a tone tinged with emotion and hurt former Goa Chief Minister, and a senior member of the BJP’s core committee said that if the party continues in this manner, then “everyone (all MLAs) will have to go home”. He sarcastically said that the only one who will be present in a legislative space would be BJP state president Vinay Tendulkar, who has been elected to the Rajya Sabha for 6 years.

Commenting on the larger issues plaguing the party, the former Chief Minister remarked that important sections of the population like the OBCs including the bhandaris and marathas are moving away from the BJP. The support base is shrinking. There is no doubt. If things go on in this manner, then everyone will go home, except Vinay Tendulkar” ( elected to the Rajya Sabha)

It is clear that it’s a no holds barred battle between a section of the veteran leadership in the BJP and party president Vinay Tendulkar. Speaking toThe Goa Spotlight,  Mr Parsekar said “Earlier Vinay used to say that he would consult ‘bhai’ before taking any decision. Now ‘bhai’ is not accessible and hence Vinay thinks he can take any decision that he wants”

Meanwhile the by-elections to the Mandrem constituency is due, after Congress MLA Dayanand Sopte resigned to join the BJP and will be the BJP candidate in Mandrem and Parsekar is clear that the local BJP unit will not be supporting him “Sopte said 80% of the BJP’s karyakartas are with him. He is lying. Zero percent are with him. There is not a single BJP worker who is with Sopte”. Elaborating further, he said that the party may have taken a decision to reduce the strength of the Congress and hence get Sopte to resign but they should have consulted local workers and leaders ( like him) before deciding to field him from Mandrem. “Sopte may have been lured to join the BJP but the party should have understood the ground reality of fielding him from Mandrem”, Parsekar quipped

Parsekar’s remarks assume political significance for three reasons a) It confirms that Sopte will not be able to hit the political ground in Mandrem, running and will face opposition not just from the Congress but the local BJP organization. b) Lakshmikant Parsekar is holding his own political cards to his chest and the possibility of him contesting as an independent after resigning from the party, with the support of local BJP workers, cannot be ruled out and c) Parsekar’s vociferous reaction may spark off a chain reaction among senior BJP leaders who will take on the Parrikar and Tendulkar led party leadership, with Francis D Souza already stating that he may be raided for speaking against the party.

Clearly in an attempt to shore up the party’s numbers in the Assembly, both Vinay Tendulkar and Parrikar,  either by design or bad politics, may have caused far reaching damage to the party, the results of which will be clear, in the next round of elections.

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Leads & Specials

‘Toilet’ is not a ‘prem katha’ in Goa

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Goa is one of India’s worst states in achieving the Open Defecation Free promise

TEAM SPOTLIGHT

GOA: As the deadline of December 19, 2018 is fast approaching, Goa has to achieve a milestone to rank on the national chart of being free from Open Defecation (ODF). The coastal State, having the lowest population of only 15 lakhs, tops the embarrassing chart of having the lowest ODF coverage in India. With total coverage of only 5.87 percent, the State is the only one in the country where the success rate is less than 10 percent.

 

What is humiliating is that States like Bihar, Odisha and Tripura are above Goa, where not a single village has been declared as total verified ODF. After being on top of the national chart on various fronts like tourism, Smart City Mission, literacy, etc, the State is far from achieving   ODF.

As per 2011 census, the State has nearly 20 percent households without toilet facility. There are also many community toilet facilities that are lacking in the State, which is known as international tourism destination on world map.

As a rough estimate, the government is of the view that it requires at least 65,000 bio-digester toilets, for which Goa Waste Management Corporation (GWMC) has already invited tender.

Kind of toilets to be provided

The toilets, costing Rs 40,000-Rs 45,000 per set, are fitted with bio-digester. Bio-digester toilet technology, perfected by the DRDO (Defence Research and Development Organisation), is an eco-friendly and maintenance-free system to manage human waste, which is being put to use under the Swachh Bharat Mission movement.

Scheme drafted by State Government 

Department of Urban Development has drafted a scheme for supply and installation of Bio-Digester Toilet in the State.  “If Goa is to achieve the goal of ODF by the year 2018, then it is essential that the construction of toilets is taken up on a mission mode by providing necessary financial assistance to the poor who are without an Individual Household Latrine (IHHL),” Secretary Urban Development R Menaka said.

Under the scheme, any household not having an individual sanitary toilet will be eligible on submission of documents like Aadhar card and an undertaking that he or she will pay the beneficiary share for the supply and installation of the Bio-Digester toilet in his household.

“No occupant of the household shall resort to open defecation and shall use toilet only for the purpose it is designed for.  The occupant will have to pay the entire cost of supply and installation of Bio-digester toilet to government in case of the toilet being not utilized or any occupants of the household resorting to open defecation,” Menaka said.

Urban development has made it mandatory for Certificate from Municipal Council/ /Corporation/Panchayat stating that the household does not have individual household latrine.

The department of urban development and panchayat will finalize the list of eligible applicants under the scheme and communicate the same to the Implementing Agency- GWMC.

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Parrikar returns home, on a stretcher & in an ambulance

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  1. Parrikar travelled in an ambulance to his home at Dona Paula.
  2. GMC has set up medical facility at his personal residence
  3. Party men and coalition partners were clueless over  his early arrival.

Team Spotlight

GOA: The usual bonhomie that surrounds arrival of Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar when arrives back in the State was missing on Sunday, when the BJP leader was moved from AIIMS to Goa on a stretcher and travelled through ambulances.

Parrikar was flown to Goa in a special flight on Sunday afternoon. Two Ambulances equipped with the doctors was part of his carcade that went to receive him at INS Hansa base. The former union defence minister travelled on a stretcher to his home.

India’s news agency Press Trust of India in its report from New Delhi had said that Parrikar’s health had deteriorated at AIIMS last night after which he was shifted to Intensive Care Unit.

He was discharged from the hospital and then flown to Goa.

State Health Minister Vishwajit Rane said that Goa Medical College and Hospital has set up facility at Parrikar’s residence at Dona Paula, where his medical needs would be looked after.

The arrival of Parrikar was sudden and unexpected. Rane was seen supervising the arrangements by calling special meeting of the GMC officials last night.

 

But what is shocking for his party members and coalition partners is unexpected arrival from AIIMS where he had met BJP Core Committee and coalition partners on Friday.

“Parrikar has been always commanding, whatever he decides for himself, he has been deciding. He never listens to his family or his close ones,” BJP Legislator and State Power Minister Cabral told reporters at the airport where he had come to receive Parrikar.

Unlike last two times when he had arrived from the USA wherein he had walked out of the Airport, this time, the ambulance was taken near the special flight to pick him up.

“We hope that he recovers fast and miracle happens. I think it must be his personal decision that he wants to come back to Goa. When I met him last time, he spoke well. It must be his decision to come to Goa,” Cabral said.

 Union AYUSH minister Shripad Naik who had met Parrikar along with Cabral at AIIMS on Friday said that he could not believe the news reports that Parrikar was coming back.

“I had met him day before yesterday. I got the news that he is coming back but I can’t believe that he is returning. His health is improving and he was expected stay at AIIMS for few more days,” Naik said talking to reporters in Panaji on Sunday morning at the sidelines of a function.

“It is okay if he takes treatment in Goa but he needs to take rest,” Naik said.

State Civil Supplies Minister and Independent MLA Govind Gawade said that Parrikar should have stayed back at AIIMS for some time and fully recovered before coming back to Goa.

“But we welcome him back. Goa was missing its leader,” he said.

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