DO GOANS FAVOUR RICH CRIMINALS?

PROTECTOR: The Congress party, with the highest number of candidates with serious criminal record, has given a ticket to Rudolf Fernandes in Santa Cruz.

BY RAJAN NARAYAN

AND a few stray thoughts for yet another Saturday. For a Saturday following the week when the Association for Democratic Rights revealed that 62% of the 301 candidates contesting this Valentine’s Day assembly polling have serious criminal cases filed against them. For a Saturday following the week when the Narendra Modi government as part of reducing the powers of the states, has converted Mormugoa Port Trust into the Mormugoa Port Authority. For a Saturday following the week when the Goa Trinamool Congress seems to have given up hopes of taking over Goa. For a Saturday following the week when there seems to be a revolt against the BJP from the minority community. For a Saturday following the week when Dr Amit Dias, associate professor at Goa Medical College & Hospital (GMC) has suggested that the recent spike in deaths in Covid-19 cases could be due to comorbidities rather than Covid-19 itself.

CRIMINAL CANDIDATES
AND a few stray thoughts on the Association for Democratic Rights revealing that 62% of the 301 candidates contesting this Valentine Day’s poll on February 14 in Goa have serious criminal cases against them. What is most disturbing is that the number of rich criminals contesting the elections has increased significantly between 2007 and 2022 from 18% to 26%. The highest increase in the number of criminal candidates contesting the election between 2017 and 2022 is from 16% to 26%. The number of candidates who have serious criminal cases has increased from 8% to 18%.
In the past, notorious criminals used to seek the patronage of politicians to escape or delay their arrest and punishment. We recall the days when Goa was full of young gangsters ranging from Rudolf Fernandes to the Regos of Merces to the Khareban gang in Margao. In Panaji there was a notorious “Popat” whose modus operandi used to be to attack people with broken beer bottles. All of them never got arrested, let alone convicted, because they enjoyed political patronage.
But increasingly the criminals started contesting elections. The most notable examples are Churchill Alemao contesting from the Benaulim seat and Rudolf Fernandes from St Cruz. Ironically, Priyanka Gandhi even campaigned for Rudolf Fernandes in St Cruz though he has serious criminal charges against him. The party with the largest number of candidates with criminal charges against them is the Congress (17) followed by BJP which has 10 has candidates with criminal charges against them.
As many as 12 of the 40 constituencies in Goa have been classified as “red constituencies” because they have candidates contesting with declared criminal cases against them. Besides the BJP and the Congress all other political parties in the fray too have fielded candidates with criminal records. This includes the Goa Trinamool Congress, Aam Aadmi Party, the Goencho Swabhiman Party and of course the Goa Revolutionary Party.
There are as many as six candidates with serious criminal charges against them whose net worth is over Rs10 crore. It is not known whether they became crorepati after they became MLAs or were criminal crorepati who decided to contest the election. Out of the 13 MGP candidates nine have criminal records. Of the TMC candidates 17 have criminal records. Even the highly respected Arvind Kejriwal’s AAP has 24 candidates with criminal records. So much so that whichever party or alliance wins the elections Goa will end up with a government of criminals!

MPT NOW MPA
AND a few stray thoughts on the Narendra Modi government. As part of reducing the powers of the states it has converted the Mormugoa Port Trust (MPT) into the Mormugoa Port Authority (MPA). As a Trust the MPT had to report to the State government. It was under the control of the State government and had to take the permission of the State of Goa to increase the number of berths allotted to coal. After the conversion of the MPT into the MPA it has already started claiming that it is the owner of all the coastal areas in Vasco. The MPA is also claiming the ownership of the Sao Jacinta Island which is part of Dabolim constituency. It is obvious that the MPT has converted into the MPA for the benefit of the Adanis and the Jindals. This is because after the conversion the Mormugoa Port will be under the control of the Central government and not the State government. Not surprisingly the BJP in the State did not put up any opposition to the conversion of the MPT to the MPA which became effective from February 1, 2022.
The Congress General Secretary Rahul Gandhi had pointed out in Parliament that according to the Constitution, India was is a “Union of states.” The Constitution contains a list of states and a current list. Subjects like law and order are under the jurisdiction of the states where the Centre cannot interfere. There are other areas like education and medicine which are in the current list, which means that the center will have to consult the states before taking any decision relating to policies in their areas.
Till recently the Central Civil Services comprising IAS, IPS, income-tax officers and officers of the Indian Forest Services posted in a particular State reported to the chief secretary of the State concerned. The chief secretary of the state reported to the chief minister of the State.
The Modi government now wants to exercise control over Central services posted in the various states. This will undermine the autonomy of the states. There is also a conscious attempt to violate fundamental rights and impose laws on the states which are against the Constitution. The most notorious example is the law against conversion that is being passed by many BJP-ruled states. Most BJP ruled states have also banned the transportation, storage and consumption of beef. The Municipality of Baroda in Gujarat has even banned the public sale of non-vegetarian items like shawarma Under the provocation of hardcore Hindutva elements, the girls belonging to the Muslim minority community have been banned from wearing hijab to schools and the pre-university colleges.
An increasing number of districts in Karnataka are imposing a ban on the wearing of a hijab in public places. If the BJP is elected to power in 2024 it might declare itself as a dictatorship. Where the states will have no power to take any decision or question or refuse to obey orders issued by the center.

GOA TRINAMOOL CONGRESS
AND a few stray thoughts on the Trinamool Congress which seems to have given up hopes of taking over Goa. We understand that unlike Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal who spends more time in Goa then Delhi, West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banarjee has decided not to come to Goa before elections on February 14.
This would seem to suggest that the TMC has lost interest in Goa elections. Mamata-didi skipping a visit to Goa before the polling date is strange considering senior leaders from every party have already visited Goa. Both Rahul Gandhi and Priyanka Gandhi of the Congress have visited Goa recently. BJP’s Home Minister Amit Shah has visited Goa along with the BJP President JP Nadda, and Prime Minister Narendra Modi himself was to officially release the BJP manifesto for Goa on Thursday, February 10.
The TMC started with a bang but seems to have made the mistake of mass recruitment of a few big-time leaders and many small-time leaders. Worse the TMC raised expectations that it would give tickets to candidates who had joined the party, but finally when the list of candidates was announced even senior TMC leaders like advocate Yatish Naik and the South Goa Advocates Association’s Clovis Da Costa were denied the tickets. Mohua Moitra, who is in-charge of the Goa elections, even had dinner with an aspirant for the Dabolim seat, namely Kenneth Silveira. Kenneth even put up a Facebook post declaring his love for Mohua Moitra! All the love turned into hate after he was denied a TMC ticket on grounds of “win-ability.”
Comparatively, AAP seems to have done a better job of campaigning then the TMC. Arvind Kejriwal has visited Goa on several occasions, probably to escape the pollution in Delhi. Arvind Kejriwal has even announced Amit Palekar as its chief ministerial face and Palekar has been allotted the St Cruz seat. AAP is banking on getting a majority victory in the Feb 14 assembly elecions.
Arvind Kejriwal has worked hard in his house-to-house campaigning. An unlike the TMC, the AAP is contesting in other states like the Punjab and Uttrakhand in the present schedule of elections which started on February 10. It would seem that Arvind Kejriwal also has an ambition of replacing Narendra Modi as prime minister after the 2024 parliamentary elections.

MINORITY REVOLT
AND a few stray thoughts on what seems to be a revolt against the BJP from the minority community. Though the BJP has given more tickets to candidates of the minority community for the 2022 election then in 2017, it does not seem too been very popular with the Catholic minority community. A major setback to the BJP is the defection of Michael Lobo from the party. As in the case of Babush Monserrate, Michael Lobo has the money and muscle power to win all the seats in Bardez taluka. In the Mormugoa taluka the BJP refused to give a ticket to Carlos Almeida who has been elected from the Vasco constituency three times. Salcete has always been the stronghold of the minority Catholic community. Many members of the minority community are reluctant to accept BJP tickets. This is partly because both the Archbishop and parish priests are lobbying against BJP candidates.
The Catholic minority community is particularly upset over charges of conversion and attacks on churches in Bengaluru and other parts of Karnataka. Though the majority of Congress defectors have been given BJP tickets their chances of winning are rated poor. Which is why the BJP is so adamant on giving the ticket for the Panaji constituency to Atanasio “Babush” Monserrate who has the ability to secure all the Tiswadi seats for the BJP. The BJP even rejected the application of Siddesh Naik, the son of Shripad Naik, for the Cumbarjua constituency in preference to Jacinta Madkaikar, the wife of Pandurang Madkaikar.

COMORBIDITIES CAUSING DEATH
AND a last stray thought on Dr Amit Dias, GMC associate professor, has suggested that the recent spike in deaths in Covid-19 cases could be due to comorbidities rather than Covid-19 itself. Though the positivity rates have been showing a sharp decline, the number of deaths continue to be high. In the month of January the average fatalities were 10 to 15 going up to a peak of 20 on a single day. The number of causalities on Tuesday, February 8 was six even though the positivity has come down to 14%. Dr Amit Dias has speculated that the deaths attributed to covid-19 may be due to comorbidities. The expression comorbidities refers to Covid-19 patients, especially seniors, who may have other critical health problems like cardiac, strokes, kidney problems, etc. There is no disputing the fact that patients with comorbidities are worse affected by Covid-19.
In a number of cases of Covid-19 fatalities in the month of January, it has also been discovered that the victims have not got themselves vaccinated or have had only one vaccination. Covid-19, including the mild form of Omicron, may be greater threat to senior citizens with comorbidities.

4 thoughts on “DO GOANS FAVOUR RICH CRIMINALS?”

  1. THIS IS THE AAP MODEL OF GOVERNANCE.
    Home Delivery of Government Services, Home Delivery of Government Ration, Free Best Health Care, Free Water, Free Electricity, Free Education, Free Wi-Fi, Free Pilgrimage, Free Transport For Women, CCTVs Security around whole Delhi, Free Treatment in nearby private hospital who meet with an accident, Award to them who takes the accident victim to the hospital, Old Age Home with all Good Facilities, Free Training Center for unemployed Youth and many more Good Facilities AAP is giving to the people of Delhi.
    GOANS SHOULD BRING AAP MODEL OF GOVERNANCE TO GOA.

  2. Great! Problem identified: covid deaths in Goa today are due to comorbidities. So, where is the solution? Are we saying these people are destined to die? They survived the deadlier variants in 2020 but now must die from the Omicron? A 13year old comorbid child also succumbed. Where is the solution from the Doctors? Did they advise the CEC to ensure such people be allowed postal ballots? That those on Election duty and their home people must not have comorbidities? So, no one is responsible for these deaths? Is it Omicron alone ?

  3. The change of MPT from Trust to MPA- authority- has literally changed the land ownership from locals to the Centre and their favoured businessmen. This means if the MPA decides to have marinas, locals have no right to object. The Centre has gone to such extreme measures to quell the rights of Goans they will not stop unless locals can come out with a countermanding law.
    What can we do? Now is the time for all Panchayats to pass resolutions that locals do want certain types of business in their neighbourhood. They must list: marinas, massage parlours, structures near the sea shore: forget about using the HTL because the Centre will only pass laws reducing the same. This must be done on a war footing. We cannot wait like we did in the cases of the linear projects and double tracking which are lost causes. Must act now.

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