PRAMOD, DHOND SINK BJP LOTUS!

MONOPOLY: All the jobs of attendants and multi-utility workers in the GMC are young people from Sanquelim, Chief Minister Pramod Sawant’s constituency, and Health Minister Vishwajit’s constituency Sattari

BY RAJAN NARAYAN

AND a few stray thoughts for yet another Saturday. For a Saturday following the week when there is clear evidence that the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) symbol, the lotus flower, is sinking in the stinking corruption scams. For a Saturday following the week when all the job scams are tumbling out of the bag. For a Saturday following the week when the Goa Trinamool Congress (TMC) introduced a Yuva Credit Card which would entitle all youth in the age group of 18 to 45 years to borrow Rs20 lakh without any collateral. For a Saturday following the week when Michael Lobo, who has finally been disowned by the BJP, appears to have started his own party under the banner of Together for Bardez. For a Saturday following the week when the Pramod Sawant BJP government finally admitted that the Covid-19 third wave has officially hit Goa.

LOTUS IS SKINKING
AND a few stray thoughts on the fact that there is clear evidence that the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)’s symbol of the lotus is sinking in the stinking sewage of its own scams. As long as Goa former chief minister, Manohar Parrikr, was alive, the BJP enjoyed both a high status and respect in the State amongst all its communities. It was in fact the Catholics of Panaji who kept getting Manohar Parrikar elected again and again from the Panaji constituency. Manohar Parrikar’s political “surgical strike” was to grant tickets to Catholics in South Goa to contest on the BJP ticket.
However, since the sad demise of Manohar Parrikar due to pancreatic cancer, the BJP in the State has witnessed a slow painful collapse. Far from getting a majority and forming the government it is likely to get even less than the 13 seats it got in 2017. This is primarily because most of the 13 seats they won in 2017 were courtesy the Catholic candidates contesting on BJP tickets. Many of them have voluntarily quit the BJP or denied tickets by the BJP. On its own the BJP does not have any winnable candidates.
The most dramatic sign of the decay in the BJP is the drama that took place in Margao, recently. The BJP offered the Margao assembly ticket to Dinesh Prabhudesai, a builder who happens to be the father-in-law of the younger son of Manohar Parrikar. The BJP thought that this would satisfy Utpal Parrikar, the elder son, who has been demanding the Panaji seat. The BJP Low Command in Goa comprising of Satish Dhond and Pramod Sawant did not even consult the powerful president of the Margao BJP, Bhai Naik, who inherited the Telko leadership in Margao. Bhai Naik is a nephew of the former strong man of Margao, Babu Naik, who was the industries minister in the Rane cabinet, in the first Congress government after Liberation.
To the great embarrassment of Pramod Sawant, Bhai Naik, the BJP president of South Goa, refused to support the official BJP candidate Dinesh Prabhudessai. Shockingly, BJP president Bhai Naik has pledged his support to Digambar Kamat, who is expected to become the chief minister if the Congress alliance secures a majority. It is also obvious the BJP has lost all the influence that the late Parrikar had built up in South Goa amongst the Catholic community.
In the wake of all the talk of genocide at the Dharma Sansad in Haridwar and the attacks on the Christian community in neighbouring Karnataka, Catholic candidates who contested and won on the BJP ticket in 2017 are reluctant to contest on the lotus symbol now. On his part, Satish Dhond who represents the RSS in the BJP is not interested in giving BJP tickets to Catholic candidates. With so many choices such as the Trinamool Congress (TMC), the Aam Aadmi party and the NCP, winnable BJP candidates are spoiled for choice. The loser in the bargain is the BJP.
The BJP has sunk its boats in North Goa also. The majority of the BJP workers in North Goa were migrants from the MGP. It was only after the MGP leaders like Ravi Naik and Ramakant Khalap deserted the MGP in the early 90s, that the MGP workers were tapped by the BJP to give the Hindu majority an alternative. It was the MGP cadres who were responsible for the birth and the growth of BJP in North Goa.
Historically, the BJP has always had an alliance with the MGP. Even in the 2017 election the MGP volunteered to extend support to Manohar Parrikar. Unfortunately for the Dhavlikar brothers Sudin and Deepak who form the leadership of the MGP, Babu Azgaonkar and Deepak Pauskar merged with the BJP. This left the MGP without any representation in the assembly as both Deepak and Sudhin Dhavlikar had lost the election in 2017.
The BJP strategy of relying on the MGP to win seats in North Goa unlikely to work. Which is why the BJP has been so desperate to yield to the demands of Atanasio Babush Monserrate for tickets for himself and his wife Jennifer from Panaji and Taleigao, respectively. The only seats they are confidant of winning are the five seats in Tiswadi which are controlled by Babush Monserrate.

JOB SCAMS
AND a few stray thoughts on all the job scams that are tumbling out of the bag. Right from the time Goa became a State if not even before that, it has always been a tradition in Goa that bribes were expected for getting government jobs. This became institutionalised after Goa became a State as there were 40 hungry wolfs anxious to make as much money as possible.
Understandably Goans themselves were only very willing to meet the demand for bribes from MLAs, ministers and their agents. This is because in the absence of any big industry there were not enough jobs available in the private sector in Goa. Moreover most Goans did not have the skills needed for top jobs even in the hospitality industry, let alone the pharmaceutical industry or the few big manufacturing units like Hindustan Lever, Nestle’s Factory making “Kit-Kat” or the and the IFB washing machine company. Most Goans looked upon on the bribes they willingly offered to MLAs and ministers as an investment. They were confident that they could recover the amount given as bribes within a short time of their getting a government job. There were of course lots of jobs available at the lower levels of the hospitality industry and in medium and small scale industrial units. But the salaries of Rs8000 to Rs10,000 which were offered were not adequate to satisfy Goans.
In any case since most Goans had their family home and at least one member outside the country, they were not desperate even if they did not have a job. This is dramatized by the trained nurses who have refused to take jobs in private hospitals at lower rates, since the GMC pays Rs60,000 per month at the minimum on the scale for trained nurses. Even being in an anganwadi worker is more profitable than working as a waiter or an assistant in a shop. So much so till recently neither the bribe-givers nor the bribe-takers protested about the huge money for job scams in Goa.
However, with the bitter fights breaking out between various political parties, all the scams are now coming out in public. Ironically, the initiative of exposing the job scams was taken by Babush Monserrate. The former Town & Country Planning Minister and the backbone of the BJP alleged that PWD Minister Deepak Pauskar had collected Rs70 crore from the 100 engineers he had recruited.
The latest revelation is that it is the multi-utility workers (the new name given by Vishwajit Rane for attendants in the GMC) were collecting the forms from applicants for the 100 new jobs being filled in the Health Department. Calangute MLA Michael Lobo has claimed that virtually all the Class 4 or multi employees of the Goa Medical College were from the constituencies of Chief Minister Pramod Sawant’s Sanquelim constituency and Health Minister Vishwajit Rane’s Valpoi constituency. Another major scam that has been exposed is the recruitment of employees in the Corporation of the City of Panaji, which is ironically headed by Rohit Monserrate, the son of Babush Monserrate. Among the most coveted jobs in the government are those of excise inspectors and police sub-inspectors, as they are the biggest sources of bribes. Getting a job as a mamladar is equivalent to getting not just a mining lease but a lease for mining gold. We hope that in the remaining part of the campaign more jobs scam will be exposed.

POLITICAL PARIVAR
AND a few stray thoughts on the multiplication of political parivar in Goa. Till recently the only political parivar was the Babush parivar and the Dhavlikar parivar. During the current elections Babush wanted to extend his political career by getting his son Rohit also a ticket. The Benaulim MLA Churchil Alemao quit the NCP to join the TMC, as he wanted a ticket not only for himself but also for his daughter Valanka. A third member of the Alemao family who has got a ticket for the Cuncolim constituency is Yuri Alemao, the son of Joaquim Alemao who decided to retire in his son’s favour. Vishwajit Rane has given up the Valpoi constituency which he won in the 2017 election twice. Vishwajit originally won the Valpoi seat on the Congress ticket and then resigned and won the seat again on the BJP ticket. Vishwajit is reportedly now demanding the Valpoi seat for his wife Dr Divya Rane and has shifted to Poriem, which was held by his father.
Vishwajit is even willing to fight his father Pratapsingh Raoji Rane, who refuses to give up his claim for the Congress ticket. The Calangute MLA Michael Lobo has already started campaigning in Siolim where he has put up his wife Dililah as the candidate. Indeed, Michael Lobo has formed his own party — Together for Bardez. Michael intends to back six candidates for the seats of Mapusa, Saligao, Siolim, Calangute, Thivim and Aldona. So the so called winnable candidates are no longer satisfied with tickets for themselves. They want to follow the example of the Sonia Gandhi khandan and want tickets for their entire family.

TMC YUVA CREDIT
AND a few stray thoughts on Trinamool Congress (TMC) introducing a Yuva Credit card which would entitle young people to borrow Rs20 lakh without any collateral. The TMC Yuva card will not work because it is intended for youth to acquire skills or go for higher education. The ground reality is that Goans are not interested in vocational jobs such as plumbers, electricians, air-conditioner mechanics or the new tribe of computer and mobile mechanics. The garages and showrooms of automobile companies may be owned by Goans but the employees are mostly migrants. The trawlers are owned by Goans but the employees are from Odisha and Jharkhand.
Goans have no problems doing menial jobs but they prefer to do them abroad than in Goa. This is because unlike the Rs10,000-Rs12,000 per month which they may get as shop assistants in Goa, they probably get double in the Gulf countries. Even if Goans use the TMC credit card of Rs20 lakh for higher education it will be of no benefit for them.
The engineers who pass out of the five engineering colleges in the State will not get government jobs unless they bribe the ministers or their agents. So they have to move out of Goa to Bengaluru or Pune for jobs. If any Goan uses the credit card offered by the TMC for higher education the main beneficiary will be West Bengal which is suffering from a desperate shortage of engineers for its software companies. The sum of Rs20 lakh is too much for vocational courses that are being offered in Goa. In any case the vocational courses, excepting the digital courses and the home nursing courses, do not offer remunerative salaries. And Rs20 lakh is too little to do post-graduate courses like engineering and medicine.
The TMC would be able to help Goans much better by encouraging Bengali industrialists to set up large companies in Goa. That would provide jobs outside the government without a bribe for educated Goan youth. It is totally absurd as besides the four engineering colleges, namely the Government Engineering College in Farmagudi, the Pillar society College in Nuvem, the Don Bosco Technology College in Assagao and the Shree Rayeshwar Institute of Engineering College promoted by Shubhash Shirodkar, Goa also has the Birla Institute of Technology, an Indian Institute of Technology and a National Institute of Information Technology.
Let TMC concentrate on offering jobs to graduates for all the colleges instead of trying to bribe them with low interest loans. The probability is that most of the young people who have registered for the TMC Yuva credit card Credit card will use it to but motorcycles or even cars or high price mobiles.

THIRD WAVE OFFICIALLY HERE!
AND a last stray thought on Pramod Sawant’s BJP government finally admitting that the Covid-19 third wave officially hit Goa on December 28, 2021. While the Directorate of Health Services and the committee of specialists have been insisting that the third wave started on December 28, 2021 Chief Minister Pramod Sawant refused to impose any curbs immediately as he did not want to antagonize the tourism lobby. Indeed, the CM repeatedly insisted that they would be no curbs whatsoever, not even night curfews, till January 3, 2022.
The entire family of a senior Goan IPS police officer is down with Covid-19. It is also likely that the employees of the night clubs are also down with the dreaded viral infection making the rounds again the world over. The positivity rate is expected to rise to over 50% by the end of the week ending January 8, 2022.

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