DELAYED: Several bills proposed by opposition governments in the non-BJP-ruled states are being delayed by the BJP governments. The only BJP-appointed governor who had the guts to speak out against the centre is former governor of Goa, Satyapal Malik, and for his pains he is being punished now.

By Rajan Narayan

AND a few stray thoughts for yet another Saturday. For a Saturday following the week when they are rushing through the saffronisation of Goa. For a Saturday following the week an observation that never before have the birthdays of ministers and chief ministers been celebrated in such extravagant fashion. For a Saturday following the week when the Supreme Court hit out at governors for delaying the approval of bills passed by opposition governments in the states. For a Saturday following the week when the Goa Governor Sridharan Pillai recently completed his 200nd book, it was released in the Raj Bhavan of Kerala, several of the governor’s books are books written in Goa. For a Saturday following the week when unlike in most parts in the country Ramzan was celebrated peacefully in Goa.
AND a few stray thoughts on how they are rushing the saffronisation of Goa. There have been as many or more Hindu festivals as church fests. Except that apart from the prominent Hindu festivals the government did not get involved in small festivals. Since Dr Pramod Sawant came to power every Hindu festival has been given equal importance. A real windfall for temples.
There are also the religious new year celebrations starting with Gudi Padwa, marked by the release of several pages of advertisements issued by the CM and Health Minister Vishwajit Rane and now every member of the cabinet. Following Gudi Padwa there was Ram Navmi celebrated as though Lord Ram has come to Goa. There was the Zambaulim jatra which is by and large limited only to some communities. Zambaulim katra coincides with Holi.
The original ideal was to shift from Margao to Zambaulim because of Portuguese pressure. So every year the idol is taken in procession to Margao and taken back to Zambaulim. The jatra is the festival of colours with the whole temple and city covered in a film of red gulal or some fake powder. Twenty years ago few people knew there was a Zambaulim jatra. Now there is a systematic attempt to promote every tiny Hindu religious festival in Goa. There can be no objections to this except that Catholic religious festivals are not given the same importance by the government.
For instance, recently there was the feast of Our Lady of Milagres celebrated at the Mapusa church. Our Lady of Milagres is considered as symbol of secularism and is part of the seven sisters ranging from Mapusa to the Shanta Durga temple at Fatorpa. The Hindu tradition of anointing the idol with oil is still maintained. In the case of this particular fest, there were no advertisements released by the government and even from the local MLA Joshua D’souza.
What is amusing of course is that the Catholic MLAs are most anxious to be seen supporting Hindu temple festivals. Amongst the most prominent sponsors and advertisers is Babush Monserrate. Historically, Catholics would not get involved with Hindu festivals and the other way around. But now as this present government is a saffron Catholic government everyone is anxious to please all the Hindu gods and goddesses.

AND a few stray thoughts on when never before have the birthdays of ministers and chief ministers been celebrated in such extravagant fashion.
The Queen of England does not celebrate her birthday officially. What is being celebrated currently is the coronation of a new king who is King Charles, following the death of Queen Elizabeth. Prime Minister Rishi Sonak said to be of Indian origin does not publically celebrate his birthday. Industrialists do not issue advertisements wishing politicians in British papers.
In few other countries in the world are the birthdays of presidents and prime ministers celebrated so publicly. They are usually considered as individual affairs and have nothing to do with the state extravaganzas.
Before Goa’s statehood there would be a bonanza of advertisements in the English papers to mark the birthdays of Catholic MLAs. But there were hardly any ads on the occasion of the Hindu MLAs. There is completely turn around now with even the Catholic MLAs including Babush Monserrate competing to place ads for Hindu BJP ministers.
The mother of all birthday celebrations recently was that of the Chief Minister Dr Pramod Sawant on April 24, the mega tamasha took place at the Dr Shyama Prasad Mukherjee Stadium and there was a function in every constituency. There were even rumours that Forests and Health Minister Vishwajit Rane took his entire Cabinet colleagues to Istanbul in Turkey for the birthday bash of his wife Porye MLA Deviya Rane. Vishwajit course is actively promoting his wife Deviya Rane.
To start with there were dozens of pages of advertisements on the Cashew Fest with typical society page gossip advertisements released in the dailies to thank the CM for his support for the Cashew Fest. On Tuesday, April 25 the loving husband had a full-page ad of Deviya with kids in `The Navhind Times.’ It complimented her for her intelligence, humbleness, courtesy and loving all. But this was not apparently inadequate, for a second page has Deviya Rane blowing her own trumpet with her mini-pics with Narendra Modi, BJP President JP Nadda and Home Minister Amit Shah. At the bottom quite prominently were Sadanand Tanavade, Pramod Sawant and husband dearest Vishwajit Rane.
We presume it is the Rane family bankrolling all these mega promotional advertisements and good-luck to it. Is India in state after state becoming more and more of a family raj sarkar and darbar?

AND a few stray thoughts on when the Supreme Court hit out at governors for delaying the approval of bills passed by Opposition governments in the states. Inevitably, in all the non-BJP ruled states, the governor delays bills passed for his final sanction. This has happened in Kerala which banned hijab in educational institutions. In Uttarakhand ruled by AAP several bills on religious resorts were rejected by the governor. Governor of Goa Sreedharan Pillai has not taken any action against the state government for its indifference to the huge damage caused by the fires or anything else for that matter.
Even more shockingly there has been not a word from the governor on the diversion of Mhadei river headwaters to Karntaka. It is widely believed that it was Maharashtra BJP’s Governor Ramesh Bais who forced Uddhay Thackeray to split the Shiv Sena and make Eknath Shinde of the Shiv Sena the BJP chief minister.
Constitutionally, it is governors who accept or reject bills passed by a state government. The BJP government has deliberately appointed governors who will be in conflict with non-BJP government states. The largest number of clashes have happened in West Bengal between Governor CV Ananda Bose and Trinamool Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee.
Therefore is appropriate that the Supreme Court has directed Amit Shah, Home Minister at the Centre, to instruct governors to pass bills or return them within a fixed period of time.

AND a few stray thoughts on when unlike in most parts in the country Ramzan was celebrated peacefully in Goa. In fact, many people were not even aware that it was Ramzan, because the Muslim community keeps a low profile. No Iftari were advertised or publicized in Goa. The law and order situation was so stable that even the usual Section 144 which forbids the gatherings of more than four people was not introduced. Even the advertisements by politicians were relatively few and limited to Babush Monserrate, Digambar Kamat and Vishwajit Rane. They seem to have a secular mind.

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