UNLUCKY: The new casino Big Daddy will be unlucky for Manohar Parrikar in the bye election as it will remind voters that he sold the Mandovi to the casino lobby
By Rajan Narayan
And a few stray thoughts for yet another Saturday. For a Saturday following the week when Big Daddy, which is the real name of the ‘Unlucky Seven, got grounded like a giant whale on Miramar beach. For a Saturday following the week when Rajan Parrikar, a great admirer of Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar, asked him to resign for destroying Goa. For a Saturday following the week when the MLA from Curchorem, Nilesh Cabral, filed a breach of privilege motion against the hyper-activist Kashinath Shetye. For a Saturday following the week when the Congress for the first time in several years as an opposition presented an united front against the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) but for all the wrong reasons. For a Saturday following the week when it appeared that Congress has decided to seriously challenge the BJP government in the bye-elections.
And a few stray thoughts on how Big Daddy, which is the name of the sixth casino that was sought to be smuggled into the Mandovi River, was grounded like a beached whale on Miramar beach. It was an action replay of the River Princess story. It may be recalled that the late Anil Salgaoncar abandoned a ship near the Candolim beach close to the Taj Hotel which took more than 15 years to be removed and caused incredible damage to the sand dunes and the beach itself. Going by the experience of the River Princess, the Unlucky Seven will be still around on Miramar beach when the bye-elections to the Legislative Assembly are held proving to voters of Panjim how Parrikar has sold the Mandovi to the casinos.
The Captain of Ports had objected to the shifting of Lucky Seven from the MPT harbour to the Mandovi River. Never in the history of Goan navigation, has any attempt been made to cross the Aguada Bay during the monsoons. This is because just before the monsoons, around the first of July, a huge sandbar forms near the Aguada making it impossible to navigate. Even the Portuguese army, which was defeated by the generals of Adil Shah, could not escape to Cochin and was trapped in the Mandovi. The Portuguese army took shelter in their ships berthed in the Mandovi river and were saved from starvation because of the generosity of the people of Taleigao, who gave them rice, vegetable and meat, so they could survive until September when the sandbar moved.
Parrikar cannot claim that permission was given to the Unlucky Seven to come into the Mandovi on the order of the High Court. The State Advocate General did not point out to the judges that it was extremely dangerous if not impossible to navigate from the MPT to the Miramar River across the sandbar at Aguada during the monsoons. The government did not inform the Court that the Gopal Goyal Kanda owned ship did not have an engine or a diesel generator. The Government of Goa did not tell the Court that the ship, which was intended to be used as a casino, was not registered either with the Director General of Shipping or the Inland waterways Department which is under the Captain of Ports. Indeed the Captain of Ports had repeatedly warned the government against giving permission to the Lucky Seven to even attempt to sail into the Mandovi. The barge owners who depend on the Mandovi for the export of ore had also objected. Despite this, out of his greed for revenue, Parrikar gave Kanda (who has been charged with rape, unnatural sex, abetment of suicide, forgery and criminal conspiracy in Delhi) permission to bring his rotten ship into the Mandovi.
The worst fears of all experienced navigators and the Captain of Ports came true. The Unlucky Seven got grounded opposite the Raj Bhavan in the Aguada bay as one of the steel wires connecting it to the tugs that were pushing it forward snapped, causing injuries to six of the 20 sailors on board the ship. The Captain of the Lucky Seven should have turned back to the MPT. Under pressure under the owners he continued his voyage to the Mandovi and the ship again got grounded and was forced to drop its anchor a few hundred meters away from Miramar beach. The waves were so strong that they washed away the anchor. The anchorless ship drifted right onto the Miramar beach. With every passing day, like the River Princess, it will get buried deeper and deeper in the sand. There is also the even greater risk of spillage of diesel that the ship must be carrying, which would result in the pollution of the water near the Miramar beach and may be even more damage to the beach itself. When Manohar Parrikar goes looking for votes in the bye-election which will be held within the next two months he will have to explain the big ugly Big Daddy sitting on the Miramar beach.
THE OTHER RAJAN
And a few stray thoughts on Rajan Parrikar abusing Manohar Parrikar like Rajan Narayan. All these years when Rajan Narayan exposed the acts of omission and commission of Manohar Parrikar, he came under savage attack from close friends of Manohar Parrikar like the photographer Rajan Parrikar. Indeed Rajan Parrikar was one of the greatest fans and admirers of Manohar Parrikar. Many people thought that I was pretending to be Rajan Parrikar. But even Manohar Parrikar’s closest admirers and friends are now disgusted with him.
In a long Facebook post, Rajan Parrikar who admits he has been a fan, friend and admirer of Manohar Parrikar, has shockingly ask Manohar Parrikar to resign and spend his time with his children and his grand children instead of destroying Goa. Rajan Parrikar does not mind if in the process Manohar Parrikar destroys his children and grand children. Rajan Parrikar points out that the return to power in 2012 provided Parrikar a great opportunity to remedy his mistakes and use his undoubted intelligence and hard work to make Goa paradise. On the contrary Manohar Parrikar has destroyed Goa.
Rajan Parrikar points out in his Facebook post that Manohar Parrikar’s “Creditability is today in the toilet, your reputation stained, your legacy one of corruption and incompetence. The only people who believe what comes out of your mouth are your family, your chamchas, and a washed up drama queen who is internationally famous in Ghatkoper West. You have lost the support of even your own bamon community, although most of its members will only admit it privately. You wrecked Goa. To be sure you didn’t do it alone. For decades the people we elected have let us down. In March 2012 you were given a mandate to correct course. It was the last gasp for Goa. But you continued to roll in the same gutter.…
He ends with, “So take my well meaning advice. Throw in the towel and retire. You will be the better for it”. (For the full text of Rajan Parrikar’s post go to the Facebook page of Goan Observer.)
CABRAL ON THE WARPATH
And a few stray thoughts on the BJP MLA from Curchorem, Nilesh Cabral, filing a privilege motion against the hyper activist Kashinath Shetye, a government servant, after the legislator’s starred question, which is yet to be replied to, was posted by Shetye on Facebook last week.
In the question, Cabral asked was, “whether the government is aware that one Kashinath Shetye working as a Junior Engineer in the Electricity Department is indulging in grave violation and serious abuse of conduct rules by filing cases in the High Court, National Green Tribunal and various courts and forums and working as a full-time activist, thereby not behaving like a government servant”.
Cabral said a government servant cannot work as a “full-time activist” and that a privilege motion would also be filed against Facebook in the Assembly, because privileged information had been uploaded on the popular social media site.
For those who are nor familiar with the working of the Legislative Assembly and Parliament, as in the case of the judiciary, you cannot say anything nasty against members of the legislative assembly or members of parliament. On the other hand MLAs and MPs enjoy total immunity for any abuse they may shower on any individual. The legislature is literally a law unto itself. You cannot even approach a Court for redress easily as the Speaker of the Assembly or Parliament is supreme and their decisions can only be challenged in Courts on constitutional grounds.
Recently the Speaker of the Karnataka assembly approved the recommendation of the Privileges Committee which had recommended a year’s imprisonment and a fine of `10,000 each for two journalists. One of the original complaints was filed by the Speaker himself when he was an MLA as he was accused of corruption. A shocking case of a complainant becoming the final authority on his own case.
I myself have been hauled up by the breach of privileges committee of the Goa assembly for criticising the behaviour of the honourable members of the assembly.
FACEBOOK IN THE DOCK
In this case it is not only Kashinath Shetye who is in the dock, but also Facebook. The assembly may and will probably take action against Shetye on the grounds that he stole the question set from the Legislative Assembly and posted it on Facebook.
The larger issue is if Facebook is guilty of violating the sanctity of India’s legislature. This offence amounts to an offence like publishing secret documents like defence secrets, or any other matter that may violate the official secrecy act of the United States where Facebook is based.
US President Trump, his son and his son-in-law are under investigation by the FBI and the CIA (the equivalent of the highest law enforcement authorities in India). This alleged crime by close relatives of the president and the president himself is that they took the help of Russia to discredit Hillary Clinton to ensure the victory of Donald Trump. Reports and links to news updates and opinions are rife on Facebook, much to the dismay of Trump’s supporters.
If the Legislative Assembly of Goa finds Facebook guilty of breach of privilege it would set an interesting precedent and perhaps force Mark Zuckerberg to allow reasonable restrictions on Facebook against such posts as the recent one by Cecil Pinto warning that the superstar of Tamil cinema will be shitting in his pants because of the acts of vandalism of Francis Pereira. Cecil who is hyperactive on Facebook insists it is a joke. When I forward his joke to the Rajnikanth fans association they will not think it is funny.
UNITED IN GREED
And a few stray thoughts on the Congress putting up a united front for the first time since — not the 2017 election — but the 2012 election in which the BJP won a legitimate majority of 21 seats. During the entire tenure of the BJP government between 2012 and 2017, the only member of the Congress party who made any noise against the misdeeds of the Parrikar and Parsekar governments was Reginald Lawrence. Even the LOO (Leader of the Opposition) Pratap Singh Rane never said anything against the BJP government. The only other opposition faced by the BJP government was from Vijai Sardesai of the Goa Forward (GF) party and Rohan Khaunte who had won as an Independent.
Even though they now have 17 seats in the Assembly the Congress has been silent until this session possibly because they were angry with Luizinho Faleiro, the GPCC chief for colluding with Parrikar to hijack the mandate of the people. Logically the Congress with 17 seats should have been able to form the government with the help of the three MLAs of GF and the Independent MLA Rohan Khaunte besides the NCP MLA Churchill Alemao. But the Congress, or at least Luizinho Faleiro, did not know how to, or did not want to, do the political dance. As Parrikar and Nitin Gadkari put it, naach na jane, angan teda.
The sacking of Luizinho Faleiro and the appointment of Shantaram Naik as the GPCC President seems to have made a difference to the functioning of the Congress Legislative Party. For the first time, on the first day of the monsoon session, all the Congress MLAs got together and did not allow the assembly to function.
The Congress MLAs were not upset over the grounding of Lucky Seven on Miramar beach, and they were not protesting against the incredible claim of Manohar Parrikar that the problem of desecration crosses and burial grounds had been solved by the arrest of Francis Pereira — instead they were angry over the Parrikar’s order baring government officials from visiting MLAs at their residence!
It has been the practice in Goa for MLAs to hold darbars at their residences, which become bigger and bigger with the money they make when they get elected. At the darbar the MLAs act like maharajas and grant the wishes of the voters. They very often boss around officials like the junior engineer of the assistant engineer of the electricity department or the PWD if their supporters have complaints about power failure or any breakdown in water supply. There is the case of Mickey Pacheco calling a junior engineer of the power department and slapping him in front of a lady who complained that the official had not attended to her complaint.
Parrikar has issued a circular stating that no officer should go to the residence of any MLA. It is not clear whether they are also barred from going to the residence of the ministers including the chief minister. The ban affects the MLAs as they lose power over the officials. They cannot bully officials into doing illegal acts or special favours as they have been doing all this while. At the risk of inviting a breach of privilege against Goan Observer I think Parrikar is right in barring MLAs from calling government officials to their residences. The government official is the servant of the people not the servant of the MLA. But this was the provocation which united all the Congress MLAs.
The BJP MLAs who are equally affected may even joined the Congress MLAs in the protest. Even Pratap Singh Rane was pleading with Parrikar to be less rigid and joined the walkout by the MLAs. This was the first time all Congress MLAs unitedly opposed the government.
UNITED AGAINST THE BJP
And a last stray thoughts for yet another Saturday. The Congress has become a new fighting organisation with the sacking of Luizinho Faleiro. It not only persuaded Babush Monserrate to contest against Parrikar in the bye-elections to the Panjim seat, but it is also putting up a serious candidate against Vishwajit Rane who resigned his Congress seat to get a kodel in the cabinet of Manohar Parrikar. In a surprise move the Congress has decided to field Ravi Naik, the former chief minister, against Vishwajit in Valpoi. If the Congress wins both the seats it will be goodbye to the Parrikar government.