Aam Aadmi Party demands President’s rule in Goa

PANAJI: The Aam Aadmi Party in Goa on Wednesday demanded the dissolution of the state assembly and imposition of President’s Rule in the state.

Addressing a press conference in the city, AAP Goa Convenor Elvis Gomes said, ”Governance does not stop. Therefore best thing is to go for President’s Rule. The government has done away with 25 per cent expenditure. This shows that they are not in a position to garner revenue. So there is the possibility of going into a debt trap. That is why we are demanding President’s Rule so that some respect will be there for administration.”

“People will be able to know who can dispense with some justice.” He alleged that state government was merely for the sake of existence and bureaucracy was not taking responsibility.

“We are demanding President’s Rule as the state has to come under some semblance of governance,” he said.

He said if the assembly was dissolved and a caretaker chief minister was appointed then it would be another worry.

“That is why we are demanding complete dissolution of the assembly and President’s Rule,” he said.

Big Blow For Modi-led BJP Govt, As Supreme Court Says Submit Details of Rafale Pricing, Ambani Selection Procedure

New Delhi: The highest court in the country, the Supreme Court came down heavily on the Narendra Modi-led BJP government when it asked the latter to submit complete details of the Rafale Jet fighter deal, including pricing, procedure for selection of Anil Ambani’s firm Reliance Defence and the reasons why other Indian companies, particularly the PSU HAL were not given the same kind of ‘special treatment’ that was accorded to Anil Ambani.

According to an NDTV report, hearing petitions questioning the Rafale jet deal, the Supreme Court today asked the government to submit details of pricing and the selection of Anil Ambani’s defence firm as India offset partner.

The government refused to do so claiming that the information is classified, after which the court asked for a written submission in the form of an affidavit, within 10 days that these details cannot be shared.The SC will pass further orders based on the affidavit submitted by the government and can even compel the government to make it’s paper-work public – at least in a sealed cover before the court.

In the last hearing, the court had asked for details of the decision-making process that led to the deal but had emphasized that it would not get into “pricing or suitability” of the jets.

But today, the court said, “We would like the details of pricing and cost to be submitted to the Supreme Court in a sealed cover. This may be submitted in the next 10 days.”

The government argued that pricing was not revealed in Parliament and the earlier government had also not disclosed details of a previous deal. Say it in an affidavit, Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi told the government’s lawyer.

The court is hearing petitions, including those filed by former ministers Yashwant Sinha and Arun Shourie and senior lawyer Prashant Bhushan questioning the jet deal between India and France and the choice of Anil Ambani’s inexperienced Reliance Defence as India partner for Rafale maker Dassault.

Mr Shourie called the court’s order a “very, very substantial step forward” in the controversy. “Confidentiality does not relate to price, only technical specifications. It will be subject to challenge. It will be difficult to say pricing is confidential,” Mr Shourie told NDTV.

Beginning the hearing, the judges noted that the “suitability of the jet and its utility” has not been questioned. “What had been questioned is the bonafide of the decision-making and price,” they said.

Petitions before the court call for an investigation into the Rs. 59,000 crore deal for 36 fighters from Dassault, announced in 2016 after Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s talks in Paris with then French president Francois Hollande.

Congress president Rahul Gandhi has led the opposition charge against the Rafale deal, repeatedly accusing the government of negotiating a not-so-favourable contract just to benefit Anil Ambani. Both the government and the industrialist have denied the charge.

The political row escalated sharply after Francois Hollande said in an interview last month that France had no role in the selection of Anil Ambani’s company as India partner.

The previous Congress-led UPA government had negotiated with Dassault for 126 Rafale jets under which 18 jets were to be supplied in a fly-away condition and 108 were to be manufactured in India along with state-run Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL). However, the UPA could not seal the deal.

In the deal negotiated by the new government, Anil Ambani’s firm became Dassault’s offset partner with no experience in the field. As part of the offset clause, Dassault has to ensure that business worth at least half the money – Rs. 30,000 – is generated in India.

The Rafale fighter is a twin-engine Medium Multi Role Combat Aircraft (MMRCA) that Indian Air Force Chief BS Dhanoa says can be a “game-changer” and booster for India’s defence.

Source: NDTV

Yes, Manohar Parrikar has cancer but he is improving, says Goa BJP State President Vinay Tendulkar

Admitting that Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar is suffering from pancreatic cancer, Goa State BJP chief Vinay Tendulkar reiterated that the CM is recovering and there is no need for him to step down.

“The Health Minister has announced that Parrikar has cancer and I am not denying that but the fact is he is improving,” Tendulkar said.

A few days ago he had stated that CM would start work in November, but now said that CM will begin work from Tuesday. “Tomorrow (Tuesday), I am told, he is chairing IPB meet and cabinet the day after, so that means he is improving,” Tendulkar stated.

When suggested that shouldn’t CM be given rest to recover from the serious ailment, Tendulkar said, “It is for him and family to decide. But he is improving and I don’t think he should step aside.”

On why the party was hiding facts of the illness, he replied, “We never lied. We always said it was a pancreatic ailment and we did not want to get into specifics and I am not well versed with medical terms.”

Source: Herald

Goa Congress says Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar no more?

PANAJI: According to an IANS report, Congress on Monday said that ailing Goa Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar, who has not been seen in public since October 14, may be no more, drawing a sharp rebuttal from the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).

“Yes, we are taking that call. It is an extreme call that the honourable Chief Minister may not be there at all,” Congress spokesperson Jitendra Deshprabhu told the media here.

Parrikar has not had a single public appearance since his return from Delhi’s All India Institute of Medical Sciences on October 14 and is currently bedridden at his private residence, which party sources said has been converted into a sophisticated medical facility, with doctors and para-medical staff on 24-hour duty.

The Congress alleged that a coterie of officials around the Chief Minister was “illegally” taking decisions in his “absence”.

The BJP called the statement a result of Congress “frustration” and accused the party of lowering the political discourse.

On October 27, soon after Health Minister Vishwajit Rane for the first time officially revealed that Parrikar was suffering from pancreatic cancer, the Chief Minister’s Office said that Parrikar was expected to hold a cabinet meeting on Wednesday at his private residence.

Deshprabhu told reporters that the BJP and the BJP-led coalition should prove to the people of Goa that Parrikar was alive.

The Congress leader also accused the media of trying to play down the severity of Parrikar’s ailment.

Goa BJP General Secretary Sadanand Shet Tanavade said that “Deshprabhu must be frustrated if he is making statements like this”.

Source: IANS

Mandrem By-polls: Parsekar’s Supporters Want Him To Contest By-polls on Congress Ticket, Defeat Sopte and Teach Tendulkar a Lesson

PANAJI: Several supporters of former Goa CM and BJP leader Laxmikant Parsekar want their leader to contest the Mandrem by-polls on a Congress ticket only to teach the local State BJP a ‘good lesson’.

IndiaScoops.com spoke to nearly 30-40 of Parsekar’s supporters who were very vocal on the subject. “We must teach the local BJP leadership a lesson. They have treated us like dirt, in spite of the fact we have worked for the party for the last several years, with many of them being associated with the party for more than 10 years. If Sopte can leave Congress, Parsekar can join Congress, only to defeat Sopte,” they said.

Also Read: Former Goa CM and BJP leader Laxmikant Parsekar may quit BJP, join Congress?

Parsekar’s personal supporters numbering about 800-1000 said they would do as their leader does. “If Parsekar joins the Congress, we will also join along with him. He has been our leader and he is a hard-working and dedicated person. We will stand by him and do as he says, even if it means working for the Congress during the by-polls,” they told IndiaScoops.com.

Political watchers said the Goa Suraksha Manch (GSM) leader and former Goa RSS head Subhash Velingkar is also wooing Parsekar and has offered him a GSM ticket. However, the Congress seems to stand a better chance in Mandrem and Parsekar wants to win at any cost against Sopte. (Read Here)

However, local Mandrem Congress leaders were not sure about inducting Parsekar. “Once he wins on a Congress ticket, he may re-join the BJP later on just like Sopte. This musical chairs must stop. We need a local, but loyal Congress leader who will stand by the party and the people of Mandrem, who vote for him, through thick and thin,” they opined.

As hectic parleys in Mandrem picked up steam, the NavHind Times reported that Goa Pradesh Congress Committee (GPCC) president Girish Chodankar met former chief minister and senior Bharatiya Janata Party leader Laxmikant Parsekar on Saturday triggering speculations and setting tongues wagging.

Parsekar on Sunday said that he, as a political figure maintains good relationship with the local leaders of all the political parties, and therefore, has no reservations about interacting with them.

Parsekar, when asked about his meeting with Chodankar, earlier this week, told ‘The Navhind Times’ that members of other political parties are his political rivals, and he has never treated them as his political enemies. “I am opposed to them, but till a certain point,” he said, observing that he has never thought of political vendetta against his political rivals.

Sources, however, informed that the Parsekar-Chodankar meeting had the GPCC president discussing the Mandrem by-election with the senior BJP leader, in the light of the recent induction of former Congress MLA Dayanand Sopte into BJP.

The sources also stated that Chodankar told Parsekar about the willingness of Congress to give candidature to Parsekar, if he intends to contest the forthcoming bypoll from Mandrem constituency.

Sopte has already told his supporters that he has joined the BJP after receiving an assurance that he would be the BJP candidate for the Mandrem by-election.

It is learnt that Chodankar also told Parsekar that if he (Parsekar) has no interest in contesting the Mandrem bypoll on Congress ticket, then he could support the Congress candidate in the Mandrem constituency.

“Today the political scenario in Goa is volatile and in such a situation, it is natural that many people are calling me up or interacting with me,” Parsekar said, mentioning that although he is open for interaction, no one should presume things based on these interactions.

Speaking further, Parsekar said that BJP national president Amit Shah is being fed with lies by the Goa unit of the party, and therefore, Shah should now give a patient hearing to the other side that is the existing truth.

“The national joint general secretary (organisation) of BJP B L Santhosh, Goa desk in-charge of the party Avinash Rai Khanna and state general secretary (organisation) of BJP Vijay Puranik should be consulted by Shah to understand the party-related ground realities in Goa,” he added, pointing out, “If the information from Santhosh, Khanna and Puranik is found to be “inadequate”, then I am there and always available.” “Politics of power is not everything and all that we (senior BJP leaders in Goa) had done in the past is now being sadly undone,” Parsekar stated, maintaining that concurring to any kind of compromises just to stay in power is not the culture of BJP.

“It should also be understood that in a democratic setup, one who is in power today is someday bound to be in the opposition,” he noted. On a parting note, Parsekar admitted that his party formed the government in Goa in haste, after the 2017 state assembly election.

“That mistake forced the party to make more mistakes and it went on,” he added. Chodankar, meanwhile, has neither denied nor confirmed about meeting Parsekar.

“Well, I am meeting people and will continue to do so to ensure that Dayanand Sopte and Subhash Shirodkar are defeated,” Chodankar said.

When questioned again, he said, “People of Goa want that both the ex-Congress MLAs should be defeated. I am ready to go the extra mile and meet people who have similar views and join hands with them to root out Sopte and Shirodkar from Mandrem and Shiroda, respectively.”

All India Congress Committee secretary in-charge of Goa A Chellakumar said that he was unaware of any meeting between the local Congress leadership and Parsekar.

He said that Congress would field its own candidate in the by-elections.

“We have aspirants and it will be only Congressmen who would contest on Congress ticket in both the constituencies,” he said. Congress Legislature

Party leader Chandrakant Kavlekar could not be contacted even after repeated attempts.

Sources in the Congress party said that during a recent meeting of the party workers from Mandrem held in Panaji in the presence of Chellakumar and Chodankar, the workers had in one voice demanded that the party give ticket to a Congressman from Mandrem.

The party workers had suggested to the party to avoid giving ticket to ‘imported’ individuals.

With inputs from NavHind Times

How Dayanand Sopte and Subhash Shirodkar benefited after defection?

Two weeks after Congress legislators Dayanand Sopte and Subhash Shirodkar defected to the BJP, there are allegations on how the two benefited from their crossover, claims an India Today report.

Interacting with his supporters at Mandrem in north Goa on October 21, Sopte boasted that he had demanded a cabinet berth in lieu of the defection. He also claimed he’d be inducted as minister before November 15. Patting a Ganesha locket, the MLA swore he hadn’t taken any money from the BJP and only wanted “constituency issues to be resolved”.

Shirodkar, who represents Shiroda in south Goa, got himself into more trouble. Media reports claimed the state industries department had agreed to pay Vedanta Real Estate Developers, a firm the MLA and his brothers run, Rs 3,500 per square metre for 1,83,524 sq. m. of orchard land in Shiroda acquired in 2012 for an industrial township. This, reports stated, was way higher than the Rs 350 per sq. m. another land owner who had volunteered to give his land for the project had asked for as compensation. Vedanta was expected to rake in Rs 70 crore, of which Rs 6.5 crore had already been paid.

Shirodkar claimed the state government started paying in instalments only six years after acquiring the land, that too after he met Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar last year. “I could have earned big interest had I received the money in time,” the MLA said, claiming the compensation was “based on the latest land deal in the area”. The Congress has said it will challenge the land deal in court.

Amid all this, the defections caused trouble within the BJP.

Furious with Sopte’s induction, former chief minister Laxmikant Parsekar questioned Parrikar’s strategy to form a government despite not having a majority in the assembly. Parsekar, who lost the poll to Sopte, declared he wouldn’t support his candidature as a BJP nominee in the upcoming bypoll in Mandrem.

Meanwhile, the Goa Suraksha Manch (GSM), mentored by former RSS functionary Subhash Velingkar, sees the dissent within the BJP as an opportunity to enter the assembly. Believed to have earned respect as a teacher in Mandrem, Velingkar is likely to be fielded by the party in the bypoll. Political analysts believe the Maharashtrawadi Gomantak Party (MGP), though a coalition partner of the BJP, is upset with its refusal to make Sudin Dhavalikar the chief minister during Parrikar’s illness, and is also likely to support the GSM in a tacit understanding.

Meanwhile, the BJP is considering health minister Vishwajit Rane, assembly speaker Pramod Sawant and state president Vinay Tendulkar as possible successors to Parrikar. Sawant called on RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat on October 22 to make a pitch for himself. And Rane is keen on poaching more MLAs from his former party, the Congress, who can vouch for him.

Source: India Today

More Trouble for Goa BJP as RSS Rebel Subhash Velingkar Wipes out Shakas, Vows to Bring BJP Party Down

Devika Sequeira | The Wire: Stuck with finding a replacement for Manohar Parrikar, the Bharatiya Janata Party has resorted to the cynical ploy of putting the Goa government in a total state of freeze. But there’s more trouble looming round the corner for the saffron party. It comes in the shape of the outspoken former Goa RSS chief Subhash Velingkar, who recently articulated the widely held perception that the seriously ill chief minister was being prevented from signing off, so the “power hungry” BJP can continue to cling to power.

Parrikar’s health was “deteriorating very fast”, but a small cabal of insiders had assumed control of his affairs to the extent that no one was allowed to visit the chief minister to prevent the public from knowing “his true condition”, Velingkar told The Wire. He said he’d been told Parrikar’s brother too had not been allowed to visit him recently. The former RSS man named a high profile government lawyer, a doctor and a minor party functionary running the inner clique for putting out information on the Goa CM’s health “that no one believes”.

Earlier in the week, responding to media questions on the chief minister’s medical condition, health minister Vishwajit Rane’s remarks raised eyebrows, when he said people often defied medical science to get better and he believed “a miracle can happen” in Parrikar’s case. Rane is among those lobbying to become chief minister.

Sacked from the RSS in September 2016 for his unsparing criticism of Parrikar’s education policy, Velingkar’s rebellion caused the first ever split in the Sangh when he formed a parallel RSS Goa Prant – renamed Bharat Mata Ki Jai since. The dismissal from the right-wing mother lode he had nurtured in Goa is an ignominy he hasn’t forgotten. “They sent three letters sacking me. It was done in connivance with the BJP’s central leaders,” he says. The bitter parting of ways continues to resonate politically in Goa. In last year’s election, Velingkar and his RSS supporters campaigned extensively against the BJP in constituencies where the Sangh has a footprint. Several RSS-rooted BJP MLAs were defeated in the 2017 election, including the former chief minister Laxmikant Parsekar.

Ninety-five percent of the Goa RSS cadre is now a part of his rebel organisation. The Sangh’s shakas here have been practically wiped out by the exodus to the shakti kendras of his group, Velingkar claims. “There are no RSS shakas in Goa. We have 5,000 workers and 107 shakti kendras.” His target, he says, is “to bring down this government and finish the BJP”.

Whether he can indeed make a difference is another matter. But it is hardly good news for a party already in deep turmoil over the leadership crisis and the entry of two former Congress MLAs Subhash Shirodkar and Dayanand Sopte who defected to the BJP on October 16 to bring down the Congress tally in the House from 16 to 14. The BJP’s ruthless cheque-book politics is the last thing Goa needed with its government in a state of paralysis for over eight months ever since Parrikar was diagnosed with cancer.

A day after Shirodkar’s defection, local newspapers were awash with reports of how he’d been rewarded with a land acquisition deal worth Rs 70 crore. The property the government is buying for no reason is being acquired at ten times the market value, the reports said. The case has now been taken to the Goa Lokayukta.

Governor Mridula Sinha’s silence over the charade of a government in Goa has also been criticised. “The governor’s intervention is long overdue,” Prabhakar Timble, a former state election commissioner pointed out. “For the governor to accept that the seat of chief minister is still not vacant is to turn a blind eye to the primary constitutional duty [of her post]”.

A press release put out Saturday said Parrikar would chair a cabinet meet at his residence on Wednesday. The last cabinet meeting was held earlier this year in February. The BJP leader was brought back to Goa from the All India Institute of Medical Science, Delhi on October 14.

Devika Sequeira is a freelance journalist based in Goa.

Source: The Wire

Goa CM Manohar Parrikar To Chair Two Meetings At His Residence Next Week

PANAJI: Goa Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar will chair two official meetings at his private residence in Panaji next week, an official in the chief minister’s office said today.

Since he was discharged from the All India Institute of Medical Sciences in Delhi and returned to the state on October 14, Mr Parrikar has been recuperating at his residence.

The agenda of the cabinet meeting, to be held at 5 pm on October 31, is yet to be decided, the official said.

He will also chair a meeting of the Investment Promotion Board (IPB) at his residence on October 30 during which certain investment proposals would be discussed, the official added.

The Goa chief minister is suffering from advanced pancreatic cancer and has been in and out of hospitals in Goa, Mumbai, New York and Delhi.

Source: PTI

Goa Congress To Move Court Against Party Defectors Subhash Shirodkar and Dayanand Sopte

Panaji: The Congress Party is exploring the possibility of moving Court against two of his MLAs, praying that the party defectors be barred from contesting elections for atleast six years.

Two Congress MLAs- Subhash Shirodkar from Shiroda and Dayanand Sopte from Mandrem had resigned from the party and as MLAs to join the BJP on October 16.

Congress spokesperson Jitendra Deshprabhu said that the party is exploring legal course by way of moving Court against the two former MLAs.

“The legal team is working on it. We will plead before the Court for a ban of at least six years from contesting the election. The party defectors need to be punished,” he said.

Meanwhile, the party has also threatened to move Court if government fails to release a health bulletin of the ailing Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar.

Deshprabhu demanded that a video message of Parrikar that he is fit and is proper condition to walk and talk be released to the public.

In Goa, fault lines widen in BJP as leaders squabble among themselves

The political situation in Goa continues to be in a flux. After Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) lured away two Congress MLAs — Dayanand Sopte and Subhash Shirodkar — observers believed state politics would return to normalcy.

However, the arrival of the two ‘rebel’ Congressmen has brought the infighting in the BJP to the fore.

Former Chief Minister Laxmikant Parsekar has given vent to his ire at the two Congressmen being inducted into the saffron party without informing him.

Parsekar had lost to Sopte in the 2017 assembly election from the Mandrem constituency.

Parsekar recently criticized the BJP leadership for this move. He also criticised Goa BJP chief Vinay Tendulkar for inducting the two Congressmen.

The infighting between Tendulkar and Parsekar has affected the party cadres and discipline. Considering that the BJP is a cadre-based party with a stress on discipline, the war of words between the two leaders has sent the wrong signal to the party rank and file.

The absence of Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar from public life is not only also affecting the administration but also the political situation in the state.

Party workers feel that situation would have been totally different if Parrikar was active. The Goa BJP cadres are also confused about the leadership.

On other hand regional parties like Maharashtrawadi Gomantak Party (MGP) and Goa Forward Party (GFP) which are coalition partners in the government are pressuring BJP leadership to assure stability of the government in the absence of CM Parrikar.

Political observers say that if the current situation persists BJP will certainly lose its credibility and face a hard time during the 2019 general elections.

In the 40-seat Goa assembly, BJP and Congress have 14 seats each; MGP, GFP and Independents have three seats each; while Nationalist Congress Party has a seat, two are vacant.