DOUBLE-CROSS: Luizinho Faleiro double-crossed the Congress party for refusing to project him as the chief ministerial face of the Congress for the upcoming 2022 LA elections in Goa. The Congress High Command has also rejected his demand to sack Girish Chodankar as GPCC president.
By RAJAN NARAYAN
AND a few stray thoughts for yet another Saturday. For a Saturday following the week when Indian Political Action Committee (I-PAC) headed by Prashant Kishor arrived in Goa. For a Saturday following the week when the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has handed over the five seats in Tiswadi to Babush Monserrate. For a Saturday following the week when AAP’s Arvind Kejriwal promised to reserved 80% of jobs in the private sector for Goans – with a big if, if AAP is voted into power. For a Saturday following the week when the Goenkarache Awaaz, which was in the forefront of the battle against the double-tracking of South West Railway seems to have given up the battle. For a Saturday following the week when the Congress seems to have rejected the request for an alliance with the Goa Forward Party.
PRASHANT TEAM IN GOA!
AND a few stray thoughts on the Indian Political Action Committee (I-PAC) headed by Prashant Kishor assisting the Trinamol Congress to contest seats in Goa. With the arrival in the state of Rajya Sabha Trinamol Congress Derek O’Brien (of Bournvita quest fame) and Lok Sabha MP Prasun Banerjee (former Indian Football captain), it is confirmed that the TMC will be contesting a minimum of ten seats in Goa. The head of I-PAC Prashant Kishor is expected to come to Goa with Mamta Banerjee the West Bengal Chief Minister after the researched team shortlists candidates who will get the PMC ticket. A hundred strong I-PAC team has been in Goa since Sunday September 19, to do intense research on what Goans expect from candidates and parties and which candidate or party is committed to delivery on the mission statement that would be drawn up by I-PAC. Prashant Kishor is expected to handle the campaign of the candidates chosen by TMC. The objective of the TMC is not to form the government in the state but to ensure that it gets the minimum number of seats and vote share needed to get recognition as a National Political Party by the Election Commission. Mamta is apparently preparing to challenge Narendra Modi in the 2024 parliamentary seats and can put up candidates in other states only if TMC is recognised as a National Party.
For the benefit of Goans who may not be aware that Prashant Kishor has terminated his association with the BJP, it may be appropriate to clarify the situation. Prashant Kishore, who had helped Narendra Modi and the BJP win the 2014 elections, has made it clear that he no longer supports the BJP.
On the contrary in a television interview which is has gone viral on social media he has accused the BJP of Talibanising politics in India. Kishor is clear in his mind that no political party has the right to tell people what to eat, wear and think. Kishor has even hinted that the BJP is going the way of the Nazi Germany.
Not only has Kishor broken his links with the BJP, he helped Chief Minister of West Bengal Mamata Banerjee to inflict a crushing defeat on the BJP in the recent elections in the state at the height of the second wave of covid-19 which saw almost everybody who was anybody in the BJP campaigning in West Bengal for a BJP victory. It was not to be thanks to Prashant Kishor’s I-PAC. Never mind that it had brought the BJP to power earlier.
Prashant Kishor also helped MK Stalin of the DMK to capture power from the AIDMK which was earlier headed by the late Chief Minister Jayalalitha. Similarly, Prashant Kishor had helped YS Jagan Mohan Reddy to win the elections in Andhra Pradesh. In fact, the head office of the I-PAC is in Hyderabad, though Prashant Kishor himself functions from New Delhi.
The team will be looking closely at every one of the 40 constituencies to determine the “win-ability” quotient of TMC candidates and possible alliances. It is only after the exhaustive and intensive study by the team of over a 100 highly experienced research team that I-PAC will arrive at conclusions about which party or group of parties will best meet the needs of the people of the State.
I understand that he had secured an assurance from West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata-didi that she would improve quality of governance, including taking action against the goondagiri in her own party. So in Goa too we will have to wait for a month or even more before Prashant Kishor decides which party or alliance he is going to help win in Goa. Needless to say so and we have seen it that he is a complete marketing genius and professional, who first introduced digital social media marketing in the country.
LUIZINHO PLAYS VICTIM
AND a few stray thought on Luizinho Faleiro Chairman of the Selection Committee of the candidate for the Congress party playing the victim card. In a statement made on his behalf by former Calangute MLA, Angelo Fernandes, Luizinho Falerio claim that he had been stopped by High Command observer Digvijay Singh from staking the claim with the Congress in the 2017 general election. The Congress which had got 17 seats emerged as the single largest party. Luizinho who sabotaged the prospects of Digambar Kamat forming a Congress government in alliance with the Goa Forward is now claiming to be the victim. The harsh reality is that Vijai Sardesai of the Goa Forward party which got three seats was only willing to support Digambar Kamat for the Chief Ministers post. Luizinho Faleiro who was close to Sonia Gandhi is alleged to have told the party President that Digambar may be arrested in the Rs 35,000 crore iron ore scam if he was permitted to form the government with Goa Forward. It is because of Luizinhos insistence on keeping Digambar out that the Goa Forward was forced to accept the offer of the BJP on conditions that Manohar Parrikar will return to Goa as the Chief Minister. Luizinho Falerio now claims that he has been side lined, humiliated and betrayed by the congress. In reality it is the other way round and Luizinho has been demanding the sacking of Girish Chodankar as the President of Congress party. On the refusal of the Congress High Command to sack Girish he is been attacked by senior Catholic congress MLA like Luizinho Faleiro and Fransico Saldinha. There have been claims by some sections of the digital media that Luizinho had made offered a Rajya Sabha seat by the Trinamol Congress. Which would be ideal as it will prevent him from medalling in Goan politics.
BABUSH TISWADI BOSS!
AND a few stray thoughts on the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) handing over five seats in Tiswadi to Atanasio Babush Monserrate. Clearly this is to counter the move by the NCP to woo the BJP’s ten Congress defectors and the BJP has decided that it cannot afford to lose them after all! The problem of the BJP is that it does not have enough winnable candidates.
Senior leaders of the BJP such as Laxmikant Parsekar and Rajendra Arlekar have been side-lined. Former Chief Minister Laxmikant Parsekar (who was CM when the late Manohar Parrikar went to Delhi) has been ruled out for a party ticket in favour of Dayanand Sopte. The other senior leader who was very close to the late Manohar Parrikar, Rajendra Arlekar, has been sent away to Himachal Pradesh to be governor.
The BJP is more than ever keenly aware that only Babush can guarantee that the party will win all the five seats in Tiswadi. Babush has done it in the past when besides getting his wife Jennifer Monserrate elected from Taleigao, he also had his candidate Tony Fernandes elected from Santa Cruz as also Francisco Silveira. The Cumberjua MLA was also a part of the Babush gang till Pandurang Madkaikar was sick with a serious health problem.
The brother of Pandurang Madaikar, Uday Madkaikar, who was Babush’s choice as Mayor of Panaji, has threatened to contest against Babush in Panaji. As in the case of Babush, the BJP High Command Observer Devendra Fadnavis visited the house of Michael Lobo to persuade him to remain with the BJP. There were rumours that Michael Lobo may be shifting to the Congress. Michael, during the meeting with Fadnavis, also demanded a ticket for his wife Sancha Delilah Lobo, for the Siolim Seat.
PRATAP DINNER FOR BJP
What has shocked the Congress party is that the BJP Observer even had a meeting with the veteran Congress loyalist and five time Chief Minister Pratapsingh Raoji Rane. So it would appear that the next chief minister of Goa, if the BJP returns to power, could well be Pratap Singh Raoji Rane though he may be in his 80s. There is no age limits for politicians, they never grow old and indeed in power anew they tend to be younger than ever before.
AAP PROMISES 80% QUOTA
AND a few stray thoughts for the week when Arvind Kejriwal promised to reserve 80% of the jobs in the private sector for Goans, but that is only if AAP is elected to power. Claiming that unemployment was the biggest problem in Goa, Kejriwal promised at least one government job for every Goan family. In addition Kejriwal has promised to enforce an 80% quota for Goans in the private sector. Similar promises have been made in the past but have never been implemented. This is partly because such promises are not legally enforceable.
According to the Constitution of India there is freedom of movement and anyone is free to seek a job anywhere in the country or abroad. Moreover, unlike as in the public sector which only employs people if they have the necessary skills, it is not so elsewhere. For instance, in the pharmaceutical industry, a significant number of jobs are occupied by the outsiders, for Goans are not willing to work night shifts. The majority of students who pass out of pharmacy colleges are girls.
Kejriwal openly exposed the ruling party government. Kejriwal publicly confirmed that Goans had to pay for the jobs in the government. That without the blessings of the minister or MLA and paying the amounts they demanded for jobs, no Goan could hope to get a government job.
GMC RECRUIT UNPAID
Shockingly in fact, it has been revealed by a section of the press, that the majority of the 430 multi-tasking employees hired by Health Minister Vishwajit Rane at the peak of the covid-19 on contract for six months, have yet to receive their salaries. Kejriwal has also promised a dole of Rs3,000 to every unemployed Goan and it goes up to Rs5,000 to families of Goans employed in mining and tourism but who have been rendered unemployed. Never mind that even in the tourism sector the majority of employees are migrants.
GOENCHO AVAAZ BATTLE
AND a few stray thoughts on the Goencho Avaaz, in the forefront of the battle against the double-tracking of the South Western Railway track, which seems to have given up the battle. Goencho Avaaz is headed by Captain Viriato Fernandes and had launched a massive agitation against the SWR double-tracking to enable industrialist Gautam Adani to transport larger quantities of coal to Karnataka for the Jindal factories and the Adani power plant in Karnataka. Goencho Avaaz has also opposed the expansion of the national highways in Goa for the same purpose of transporting coal by road. The third target of Goencho Avaaz was the 400 megawatt transmitter being set up by Power Minister Nilesh Cabral in a middle of the Mollem Wildlife Sanctuary.
Members of the Goencho Avaaz had even tried to block workers who were involved in the double-tracking of the SWR, in south Goa. The double-tracking threatens to destroy several ancestral properties including that of former chief minister Dr Proto Barbosa, which lie adjacent to the railway track. The new alignment will cut through Barbosa’s house.
But the Goencho Avaaz seems to have given up the battle now. The South Western Railway is so confident that it would be able to complete the double-tracking that it has cancelled a number of trains between Margao and Karnataka, to enable the shifting of signals for the number of twin railway lines. The trains which are been cancelled are the Yashwantpur Vasco Express, Vantpor Express Special, Vasco- Kulem Passenger Service and the special train between Vasco and Kulem. In a press release the SWR has disclosed that Margao-Chandor-Curchorem-Sanvordem double- tracking is already complete.
Historically, the twin towns of Curchorem and Sanvordem have been the main storage space for iron ore, that is when mining was still on and ore transported from Curchorem-Sanvordem to Vasco and to the Mormugoa Port Trust harbour.
Similarly, the Goencho Avaaz has abandoned the agitation against the expansion of the National Highways. The only good news is that the High Court of Mumbai has rejected the demand of the Union Minister for National Highways Nitin Gadkari to build an expressway, on the lines of the eight-lanes expressway between Mumbai and Pune, between Goa and Mumbai.
Incidentally, both Nitin Gadkari and Gautam Adani were in Goa during the weekend and the Adani group even got some awards from the Public Relation Council of India.
NO TO GFP
AND a last stray thought on why the Congress seems to have rejected the request of an alliance with the Goa Forward Party. Speaking to media people, Vijai Sardesai’s complaint is that the Congress does not want vijay (victory). The GFP had proposed an alliance with the Congress in an action replay of what had been proposed in the 2017 election.
It may be recalled that the Goa Forward won three seats in the 2017 election. The pre-election understanding was that they would support Digambar Kamat for the chief minister’s post.