Ailing Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar’s leadership will have to be changed “today or tomorrow”, Union Minister of State for AYUSH Shripad Naik said on Friday, according to an IANSreport.
Naik also said that in view of Parrikar’s ill-health, dropping him as the Chief Minister was a “requirement” and a “compulsion” for the BJP leadership. Sooner or later, Parrikar has to go, he said.
“Change will have to be done today or tomorrow. It is a requirement. You know the Chief Minister’s health is not good. But he is still working in this condition,” Naik told mediapersons in Panaji.
Naik is one of the first Goa BJP leaders to demand a change of leadership in Goa even as the state BJP as well as members of the BJP-led coalition have come under immense flak over the Chief Minister’s prolonged absence due to his illness.
Parrikar is suffering from advanced pancreatic cancer and has been in and out of hospitals in Goa, Mumbai, New York and Delhi for nearly nine months.
He returned from New Delhi’s All India Institute of Medical Sciences on October 14 and has not moved out of his private residence, for any official event since.
The opposition has been demanding the resignation of the Chief Minister, claiming that the administration has come to a standstill due to Parrikar’s absence.
To a question, as to whether it was fair to let an unwell Parrikar to handle administrative matters despite his illness, Naik said: “There are many reasons, which cannot be fully talked about. Thing will happen in time.”
Naik also said that he would take the lead to patch up differences among top BJP leaders, including former Chief Minister Laxmikant Parsekar and Goa Speaker Rajendra Arlekar, who have openly rebelled against the decision taken by state BJP President Vinay Tendulkar and Parrikar to induct two Congress MLAs into the BJP.
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.”
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.
Goa BJP president Vinay Tendulkar on Tuesday accused his party colleague Laxmikant Parsekar and former Goa CM of using “bad” words and abusive language against party chief Amit Shah, CM Manohar Parrikar and himself.
In a related development, Tendulkar is understood to have told his party workers who complained to him about Parsekar’s actions that Parsekar is frustrated and angry that he was not called for the meeting with Amit Shah and not informed in advance about the induction of former Congress MLA Dayanand Sopte into the BJP fold.
According to unconfirmed and unverified reports in the BJP, Tendulkar is understood to have told BJP workers and his close associates:
Parsekar is a frustrated, semi literate idiot who must not be taken seriously. He thinks he is a big leader, but in reality he is nothing.
IndiaScoops.com was unable to independently confirm the above statement as Tendulkar refused to speak on his ‘tiff’ with Parsekar saying that it was an internal and private ‘party matter’, which cannot be discussed with the media.
Tendulkar also sought an apology from Parsekar for what he called using bad words against him, Shah and Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar during a telephonic talk.
Parsekar, a former chief minister, had criticised the local party unit for not taking him into confidence before inducting Congress MLA Dayanand Sopte into the BJP.
Sopte and another Congress legislator Subhash Shirodkar, who won from Shiroda constituency, had joined the BJP last week.
Sopte had defeated Parsekar in Mandrem constituency during the 2017 Assembly elections.
“Parsekar has left nothing to be discussed about. He has given bad words to our national president Amit Shah, Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar and me during a phone conversation with me,” said Tendulkar, who is also a Rajya Sabha member from Goa.
“I will speak to Parsekar only when he apologises to me and those against whom he has given bad words,” he said.
Tendulkar said he had not informed Shah about the incident.
“But our national president will get the report about the incident,” he added.
Tendulkar said he has put the entire incident behind him and is working for strengthening the organisation ahead of by-polls in Mandrem and Shiroda constituencies.
TEAM INDIA SCOOPS | 24 OCT 2018: Two days after IndiaScoops.com first reported (Read Here) that about Rs 12 crore of public money approximately seems to have been spent till date on the treatment and related expenses concerning Goa CM and former defence minister Manohar Parrikar’s illness, the Goa CM’s office or the Defence Ministry is yet to make any official statement or comment on the matter.
In a state where the common man has to run from pillar to post to get a dialysis done and where a doctor lost his mind and attacked a government medical department head at the Goa Medical College and Hospital for keeping pending and not clearing medical bills worth a few lakh, IndiaScoops.com made several attempts to contact the Goa CM’s office to elicit an official response, but no inputs were forthcoming.
The only statement given off the record was to say that the matter is confidential and top secret and no one is authorized to comment or speak on the subject. The Goa CM’s office however denied that the figure was in the range of Rs 12 crore, but refused to say how much was actually spent.
After consulting several experts and reliable medical sources in Goa, Mumbai, Delhi and the USA, on a conservative estimate, it seems that about Rs 12-13 crore approximately has been spent in all, over the last eight months, on Goa CM Manohar Parrikar’s treatment including related expenses like air-travel and hotel accommodation for the Cabinet Ministers’ who went to meet Parrikar on his instructions at the AIIMS in Delhi recently.
A Goa Medical College and Hospital (GMC) former Medical Director who spoke to IndiaScoops.com said that the total cost of Parrikar’s treatment for his ailments and medical condition till date could have easily crossed Rs 11 crore. Other expenses like air-ambulance, air fares, hotel etc would take the total to over Rs 12 crore at the very minimum. Other medical experts in Goa and abroad pegged the total expenses between Rs 12 crore to Rs 15 crore.
The average cost of cancer treatment and therapy including expert consulting fees, accommodation and medicines at the Memorial Sloan Kettering Institute in the US where Parrikar was admitted is about Rs 3.5 to Rs 3.8 crore per month. This does not include airfare or air ambulance charges and other expenses. Parrikar was also admitted to the Lilavati Hospital in Mumbai as well as the AIIMS in Delhi for different periods of time.
Goan social activist and senior advocate Aires Rodrigues who spoke to IndiaScoops.com, estimated that the cost of Parrikar’s treatment could be in the range of Rs 12 to 15 crore including other miscellaneous expenses.
The Goa Congress – the main opposition party in the State did not pinpoint a figure, saying that the party has filed an RTI and is waiting for a reply. “We will not like to name any figure at this stage, till we get a reply to our RTI application,” Goa Pradesh Congress chief Girish Chodankar told IndiaScoops.com.
The CM’s office in Goa did not entertain calls from IndiaScoops.com and refused to comment or divulge any information regarding Parrikar’s treatment or illness.
When asked by this reporter if the amount spent till date was in the range of Rs 12 crore, the official flatly denied it, but refused to reveal what amount was spent on Parrikar’s treatment. I am not authorized to speak on this matter, the official told the IndiaScoops.com journalist, redirecting us to Goa BJP State President Vinay Tendulkar.
Another official refused an email interview with Parrikar or his press advisor on the subject of his illness and treatment, saying that only Tendulkar may speak on the subject.
Vinay Tendulkar was unavailable for comment on this subject and calls from IndiaScoops.com went unanswered.
Adv Rodrigues who condemned the financial burden on the state exchequer in no uncertain terms told IndiaScoops.com:
When Parrikar was first admitted to the US hospital he was asked to pay a deposit of Rs 3 crore upfront. Subsequently, more payments were made. The cost of his treatment runs into crores, which is being borne by the State. Parrikar and his family is wealthy enough to bear the cost of his own treatment. It is only because he wants a statue, that he is holding on to the post of CM.
The Chief Minister’s Office, in September this year had stated that Parrikar was suffering from a pancreatic ailment and was rushed to the US for the third time because he was experiencing indigestion. There have been differing and sometimes conflicting statements from the CM’s office over the last 6 months.
No official health bulletin has been released by the CM’s office, which in itself is questionable. The people of the state have a right to know the latest updates about the CM, particularly when there have been conflicting reports in the local media.
Even senior Cabinet ministers have over the last six months expressed reservations and raised questions over the status of the CM’s health. Calangute BJP MLA Micheal Lobo was the most vocal and straightforward (Read Here) when he said that the CM must hand over his job to someone else as governance in the State is getting affected.
Lobo was worried about the inability of the government to fill up the 3000 vacant government jobs, most of them in the police and State administrative machinery.
Alliance partner Vijai Sardesai of the Goa Forward Party too expressed his displeasure at the failure of the BJP to appoint a replacement to Parrikar, when he stated in an interview to news agency PTI that Manohar Parrikar’s illness affecting his state’s working. (Read Here).
Sardesai’s hard-hitting statement was frowned upon behind closed doors by some leaders in the BJP and the party issued a clarification seeking to do some damage control.
According to a report in The New Indian Expressdated 7th September 2018, the Goa Congress took exception to Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar going to the US for indigestion treatment and sought Governor Mridula Sinha‘s intervention in the matter.
GPCC chief Girish Chodankar who had met the Governor then, was quoted by the New Indian Express saying “since the medical expenses of the three were being met at the expense of the state exchequer the people of Goa should be made aware of the exact nature of ailments.”
“It cannot be believed that the state is being burdened with hefty bills for mere treatment of ‘indigestion’. Also, this does not bode well for the medical care facility and the medical fraternity available in Goa.”
“Does the government desire to claim that its reputed Goa Medical College is unfit to treat a case of ‘indigestion’?” Chodankar had stated in his petition to Sinha.
Curtorim Congress MLA Aleixo Reginaldo Lourenco said that a huge amount has been spent by the State of Goa on the treatment of the ailing CM.
“Whatever be the amount spent, the people of Goa have a right to know. The CM’s office must make public all the details regarding the CM’s illness, the cost of the treatment and other matters. Why all the secrecy around the status of the CM’s health? Governance in Goa has come to a standstill. The entire government is in limbo. Even the allies like the GFP and the MGP have started getting restless. There is no clarity from the government or the BJP party. This is not a dictatorship. We live in a democracy. Even BJP Cabinet Ministers are being kept in the dark on the real status of Parrikar’s health. On one hand a statement is made that the CM is recovering and on the other hand, Ministers and bureaucrats are denied appointments with the CM even on very crucial issues concerning the state,” Lourenco told IndiaScoops.com.
Parrikar was admitted to the Lilavati Hospital in Mumbai on February 15 and discharged on February 22. On the same day he returned to Goa and presented the Budget in the Assembly, but the session was truncated to only four days owing to his illness.
According to a FirstPost report: “He (Parrikar) is diagnosed with an advanced stage of cancer of the pancreas… He has already been administered one round of chemotherapy when he was admitted to Lilavati Hospital,” sources at the Goa had told a FirstPost reporter.
During the first week of March, Parrikar wrote to the state Goveror Mridula Sinha informing her that he would be going abroad for further treatment. He was flown to Mumbai and admitted to the Lilavati Hospital for a check-up and from there, he was taken to the US for treatment in March.
Editor’s Note:This is a developing story, which will be updated as more inputs come in. The CM’s office and BJP leaders have so far not responded to our request for comments, except for what has been mentioned above. The article will be updated in case anyone responds to IndiaScoops.com.
August 3, 2018:IndiaScoops.com has learnt that except for a show cause notice by the GIDC, no action has been taken against BJP Gen Secretary Vasudev Parab for illegally renting out his premises to a huge international cartel of drug manufacturers, from whom 100 kgs of ketamine also known as the date-rape drug was seized by the DRI in June this year.
If it were any other citizen, either Goan or outsider, he would have been behind bars immediately under the very stringent provisions of the NDPS Act, which clearly stipulates that even landlords who rent out their premises to organised drug syndicates or cartels are liable for prosecution.
The fact that the BJP State government and the DRI ruled by BJP bigwigs in Delhi have ‘protected and shielded’ Parab from prosecution is crystal clear, says a senior Goa-based advocate and social activist.
And in this case the premises were rented out illegally – there was no written agreement, in spite of the fact that the owner was pocketing over Rs 75,000 per month as rent for the premises, which could not be sublet in the first place.
That the DRI and the BJP-led Goa Government has let off their “own man” Vasudev Parab and even given him a clean chit, clearly exhibits favoritism and an indirect ‘protection’ accorded to the drug mafia. Rajya Sabha MP and BJP Goa State President Vinay Tendulkar went out of his way to defend Parab and called a press conference to state that Parab was innocent.
According to an IANSreport, after the DRI revealed a ketamine manufacturing factory operating in North Goa, Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar on Friday told the state legislative assembly that drugs were “only being stored” in the facility .
So Mr Parrikar is storing 100 Kgs of the deadly and illegal ketamine not a crime? Doesn’t the NDPS Act stipulates that the owners of the premises are also liable for prosecution under various provisions?
Four days ago, Curtorim Congress MLA Aleixo Reginaldo Lourenco told the State Legislative Assembly that narcotics are being produced within the state, while no action is taken against them by the police (Read Here).
“The level of policing in Goa has stooped so low that people in the State have started growing drugs in the fields.” Lourenco alleged.
He said, “Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar was strict during his earlier tenure but now he was gone little weak,” said Lourenco. Parrikar was present in the House when he spoke.
“Why no action is taken on the drugs. Are we not serious of this issue? Why not wage a war on drugs? Is there any connivance between politicians, police and drug mafia? Why are we not able to do it seriously? Something is wrong somewhere,” he added.
Lourenco referred to the recent raid by Directorate of Revenue Intelligence (DRI) on a factory owned by a top BJP party functionary Vasudev Parab where Ketamine was being manufactured.
While the Congress legislator named the party, Speaker Pramod Sawant expunged his words claiming that “you cannot name a person who is not present in the House to defend himself.”
The crackdown, one of the biggest this year, ended with the arrests of 10 men, including two UK nationals and one from Vietnam, and seizure of 308 kg of Ketamine, 250 kg of raw material needed to make the drug and other drugs valued at ₹35-38 crore.
Parrikar, who was accused by Opposition members during Question Hour today for not doing enough to rein in the drug menace, also said that the state government has not been officially intimated by the Directorate of Revenue Intelligence (DRI) agency about the details of the Goa raid.
“When the matter involves multiple-states, the state agency is not the agency to investigate, it is being carried out by DRI who are the authorized agency in such matters
” ..whether it is being manufactured here we don’t know. According to my information it was only being stored here,” Parrikar said in response to a question from Congress MLA Luizinho Faleiro .
So the Goa CM in his own admission does not know if the ketamine was manufactured in Goa or only stored there. Parrikar should read the ‘Remand Applications’ of the DRI while seeking further custody of the accused.
The ‘remand applications’ submitted by the DRI to the concerned courts, clearly state that the persons arrested in Goa were manufacturing or processing and purifying the ketamine on the rented premises in Goa.
Not just the remand applications, even press reports, if Parrikar has even bothered to read them, clearly stated that ketamine was manufactured at Vasudev Parab’s shed.
According to a Times of India report dated June 14, 2018:
Those arrested in Goa were UK nationals Jonathan Thorn and Barry Bracken; Nguyen Cuong, a qualified chemist from Vietnam; and Sarpreet Singh, who ran a unit where ketamine was allegedly being prepared. Thorn and Bracken are believed to have set up a small unit in the UK where ketamine was being prepared from slurry (one stage before pure ketamine is derived), and Thorn ran a supply racket in South Africa, an official said.
Bracken ran a processing unit in his house in Goa, while Thorn supervised Singh’s factory, said officials. The plot on which the factory in Goa was set up belongs to BJP leader Vijay Parab.
Nearly, 100 kg of ketamine and raw material used to manufacture the drug was found at Goa BJP office bearer Vasudev Parab’s industrial unit during DRI raid, which was used by NRI Jimi Sandhu to manufacture ketamine, claims an IANS report.
To another question by Congress MlA Pratapsing Rane, about the action the state government was contemplating over the issue, Parrikar said: “I have written to DRI. It is an international racket. The state government cannot do anything… I have already told very clearly it is a central government agency’s inquiry, I cannot interfere in it…” .
So the State government cannot do anything, not even take action against the illegal lease? Stop bluffing the people of Goa, Mr Parrikar!
Pleading that the debate on banned drugs should not be generalized, the CM said that when the police asked schools in Goa for specific inputs about the drug menace, the response was not enthusiastic.
Earlier, Faleiro blamed the Home Ministry for letting drugs proliferate in the coastal state, known for tourism.
“…it is a reality we are not only manufacturing drugs for Goa, we are manufacturing drugs for the international market. It is happening under our nose, in front of police stations, in our industrial estates, in the tourist locales like Calangute and other places,” the Congress MLA said.