WEEKEND UPDATES

MARRIAGE SEASON IN BJP

THE list of candidates announced by the BJP has not one but two couples. Babush and Jennifer Monserrate have been given tickets for Panaji and Taleigao, respectively. Vishwajit Rane and Divya Rane have been given tickets for Valpoi and Poriem. The BJP has not allotted any ticket to Utpal Parrikar. Though it has dropped PWD minister Deepak Pauskar implicated in a Rs70 crore job scam, it has retained Milind Naik accused of molestation.

SPEAKER QUITS BJP

SPEAKER of Legislative Assembly Rajesh Patnekar has quit the Bhartiya Janata Party. Patnekar’s departure comeS at a critical time when he is hearing the disqualification petition against  ten Congress MLA’s and two MGP MLA’s who joined the BJP after the appointment of Pramod Sawant as the chief minister.  Patnekar, who represented Bicholim in the current LA has declined the BJP ticked, claiming he did not want to spoil his image. The BJP is very embarrassed as Patnekar has been re-elected three times on the BJP ticket from Bicholim.

ISL IN LOCKDOWN

THE Indian Super League, which the premier football league in the country owned curated by CEO Nita Ambani, is in deep trouble. The ISL which was conducting the tournament in a bio bubble is facing embarrassment as eight of the 11 participating clubs are restricted to their hotel rooms because of Covid-19 and have breached the bio bubble.  Since a non-technical  staffer at FC Goa tested positive on January 3 the league has seen more than 60 players and officials within the bio bubble testing positive. FC Goa alone has a dozen odd positive cases. The ISL is now in quarantine.

RAJBHAVAN SHUT

GOA’S Cabo or the Raj Bhavan has closed to the public till  January 23 on the orders of Governor PS Sreedharan Pillai.  The provocation is that several members of the Raj Bhavan staff have tested positive. It is not known if the governor himself is under quarantine. This is the first time in the three waves of the Covid-19 pandemic that the Raj Bhavan has had to be closed down. Even government servants have to leave their letters and other official papers at the gates so that everything is sanitised before it reaches the governor.

SUPPORT FOR UTPAL!

ALTHOUGH the BJP has reiterated that it will not be giving a ticket for Panjim constituency to Utpal Parrikar, son of late chief minister Manohar Parrikar, it looks like Utpal has no shortage of offers.  AAP candidate Valmiki Naik has offered to step down if Utpal wants to contest on an AAP ticket. The Shiv Sena have also offered a ticket to Utpal Parrikar. The BJP’s  excuse for late announcement of tickets is that it is giving tickets on the basis of “win-ability” and not “hereditary.” The BJP claims it does not believe in dynastic rule like the Nehru Gandhi family.

However, there is confusion as top leaders in Delhi beginning with Home Minister Amit Shah have been declaring that no family may get a second ticket for mother, wife, daughter, brother, etc. One family, one ticket only. This earlier raised doubts about whether Panaji MLA Babush Monserrate would get a ticket for the Panaji constituency again as he had also demanded the Taleigao ticket for his wife Jennifer Monserrate.  

AAP CM PALEKAR

ARVIND Kejriwal announced on Wednesday, January 19 that Amit Palekar of the Bhandari community will be the chief ministerial face of the AAP if the party gets a majority in the upcoming Assembly election. Amit Palekar shot into the limelight due to his indefinite hunger strike for the demolition of an illegal structure built by Shaina Nana Chudasama, a spokesperson of the BJP, in the Old Goa heritage zone next to the Se Cathedral. Talking to “India Today TV,” Amit Palekar revealed that AAP would fight the polls on its own as it did not trust alliance partners. Alliances would only be considered after the poll results are out.

Battle of Fatorda

Luizinho Falerio who has won from the Navelim constituency repeatedly faces a new challenge. The Trinamool Congress has asked Falerio to take on Vijay Sardessai the Goa Forward President and Valanka Alemao of AAP from the Fatorda constituency. Luizinho who already a Rajya Sabha member will stake his claim for the Chief Minister’s post if he succeeds in getting elected from Fatorda.

NCP SENA ALLIANCE

In an action replay of the alliance that Sharad Powar, the Nationalist Congress President enacted in Maharashtra, the partners are planning to fight the BJP in Goa. Following the rejection by Mamata Banerjee of the UPA of which Powar is the architect. The NCP has broken off talks with the Congress with regard to an alliance in Goa. In Maharashta Sharad Powar who is the best matchmaker in the country managed to forge an alliance of the Congress, the NCP and the Shiv Sena. This was a major achievement as the Shiv Sena has historically been a partner of the BJP. The NCP- Shiv Sena alliance will take on the BJP in Goa and will not align with any other party.

COVID FASTER THAN BOLT

WEDNESDAY, February 19 witnessed a huge surge in Covid-19 infections which virtually touched the 4,000 mark. There were 3,936 fresh cases and seven deaths. The number of deaths on that day have been the highest so far during the third wave. Alarmingly, among the victims was a 15 year old girl from Sanguem. The recovery rate has come down to 88% as compared to 90+ in the last few days. The greater cause of worry is that the super speciality block of the Goa Medical College, which is the only medical facility admitting Covid patients, is almost full. Anxious residents of Goa who want to test for covid positivity or negativity have to come all the way to the GMC for any free testing and this may take forever vis-à-vis results. The only Public Health Centre offering free covid testing is in Valpoi – Health Minister Vishwajit Rane’s constituency.  

CONGRESS `NO!’  TO REGINALDO

THE Congress party has refused to accept Aleixo Reginaldo Lourenco, who defected to the Trinamool party but left in a month’s time after he realized he had made an error of judgement. After joining the TMC the started having regrets and decided to leave to return to the Congress, but CLP leader Digambar Kamat said a firm “No” to him, describing Reginaldo’s behaviour as childish. The Congress has given the Curtorim constituency ticket to Moreno Rebello and Reginaldo has been forced to announce that he will be fighting as an independent candidate. There are indications that Babush Monseratte may also return to the Congress like Michael Lobo in Calangute. The BJP’s central leadership is insisting that not more than one member of a family may get a party ticket. In what is considered a message to Babush, the Congress has relaxed its rule on multiple tickets to members of a family in the case of Michael Lobo. His wife Delilah has been allotted a Congress ticket for the Siolim seat while Michael himself will contest from Calangute.

5G DISRUPTS FLIGHTS

THE majority of USA flights have been cancelled for a second day in a row because of up-gradation to the 5G spectrum by mobile operators. The Federal Aviation Administration of the USA has expressed concern over 5G affecting aircraft altimeters which track height above the ground for help while landing in bad weather. Air India has also cancelled its flights to the USA due to safety concerns. The radiation levels of 5G are very high and a cause of concern. So far only Airtel has upgraded to 5G though Reliance and other network operators are planning to switch to 5G.

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