By Rajan Narayan

AND a few stray thoughts for yet another Saturday. For a Saturday following the week when the governor of Tamil Nadu RN Ravi refused to read out the governor’s address. For a Saturday following the week when we became aware that the major places of worship of Lord Sri Ram are really in the south. For a Saturday following the week when there is lack of leadership at the top level in Goa. For a Saturday following the week when there is a new language used by the Town & Country Planning Department.
AND a few stray thoughts on when the governor of Tamil Nadu RN Ravi refused to read out the governor’s address. The governor RN Ravi who is an appointee of the BJP, walked out before the national anthem. Traditionally, the report of the governor is prepared by the state government. The governor’s address is not the governor’s address but the address of the government. Tamil Nadu has an elected government headed by MK Stalin. The governor objected to various references in the governor’s speech. He claimed that reading it would be a travesty to the Constitution.
This is not the first time there has been conflict between the Tamil Nadu governor RN Ravi and the Tamil Nadu Chief Minister MK Stalin. The Tamil Nadu governor has repeatedly refused to give his consent to bills moved by the Tamil Nadu legislative assembly. Chief Minister MK Stalin and the Governor Ravi have been at loggerheads. This is because MK Stalin does not follow the BJP policies. In fact as in Karnataka the Tamil Nadu government has also objected to the budget provisions. It may be recalled that the Karnataka government took a full-page advertisement to protest against the budget allocation to the state. Karnataka, which has a Congress government, alleged that Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman discriminated against the state.
Historically, this is perhaps the first time that the governor has refused to read the address prepared by the state government. In the normal course, there is no conflict when the governor and the chief minister belong to the same party. It’s not just in Tamil Nadu but in all non-BJP states, that are conflicts between the governor and chief minister.
There is a conflict between Punjab’s Chief Minister Bhagwat Mann and the governor of Punjab, Banwarilal Purohit. Punjab has an AAP-ruled government. Similarly, Uttarakhand has a non-BJP government. There have been conflicts between the governor of Uttarakhand, Gurmit Singh, and the State government. In the case of Goa of course, there is no conflict between Governor Pillai and Chief Minister Dr Pramod Sawant because they belong to the same party.
It is normal for the governor to address the budget session of the assembly. It was at the budget session in the Tamil Nadu assembly that the governor refused to read the address. The stalemate between governors and chief ministers is primarily due to different policies followed by the BJP at the Centre and the non-BJP governments in various states. It is only in the state where there is a double-engine government that there is smooth functioning. Double-engine governments are those which have the BJP ruling both at the Centre and the states.
In theory, this conflict between the governor and the chief minister leads in the dismissal of either the governor or the chief minister. A stalemate must persist till there is a new government at the Centre. Till the new government is sworn in after parliamentary election in April 2024, the stalemate could get worse. Everything of course depends on the president who is the candidate of the BJP. Things could take a nasty turn if the governor decides to take the non-BJP Opposition parties and sack the governor. This is unlikely to happen as the BJP seems to be confident of returning to power.

AND a few stray thoughts on the major places of worship of Lord Sri Ram which are really in the South. The new Ram Mandir in Ayodhya is perhaps the first major temple dedicated to Lord Ram. Traditionally, Kshatriya princes are not elevated to godhood. Perhaps Sri Ram is the first Kshatriya to be elevated in our pantheon of 33 crore divinities.
It is generally believed that Sri Ram is an avatar of Vishnu. The three primary gods in Hinduism are Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva, they are respectively the creator, preserver and destroyer. The biggest temple dedicated to Sri Ram is in Tamil Nadu. Indeed, the whole town of Rameshwaram down south India is dedicated to Ram. It is from the top of the temple here that the Ram Setu starts and it is supposed to be the bridge which built by Hanuman and his team, to enable Ram and his party to go to Lanka to rescue the abducted Sita.
It may be remembered that in the Ramayana epic, King Ravana of Sri Lanka kidnapped Sita and was holding her in his custody. Ram had to cross the Ram Van Gama Path to reach Lanka to liberate her from the clutches of Ravan. He was struck at the tip at Rameshwaram. It was then that the Hanuman monkey god and his whole team came to the rescue of Lord Ram.
There are still supposed to be archaeological remains of the bridge built by Hanuman and team. Of course there was a dispute on whether the steps or stones here were really part of the bridge in religious mythology.
However, Prime Minister Narendra Modi accepts that the bridge exists. Before he inaugurated the Ram Mandir he prayed at the Kothandaramaswamy Temple in Rameshwaram dedicated to Ram. He also took a bath in the ocean which marks the tip of India which lead to Ram Setu to be able to cross Sri Lanka.
At the moment there is no land connection between Sri Lanka and India. The journey from Sri Lanka to India and vice versa however can be undertaken even by steady boats. The other places of worship relating to Ram are also in the South. Modi visited all these places including the Guruvayur temple in Kerala which is supposed to be linked to Sri Ram.
The belief is that Ram spent 14 years wandering the forests in exile, but it was only later on that he came to the southern parts. The southern part of India still remembers Ram whereas the north seems to have forgotten it. It was not till Babri Masjid was demolished that the Ram story was rehabilitated.
This happened because the Supreme Court held that the Babri Masjid was the original site where the child Ram was born, so it was believed in popular memory. Which is why the Ram Mandir inaugurated by Modi on January 22 has the image of Ram Lalla, baby Ram. These new Ram Mandir is now one of the places for pilgrims in the south. It will acquire the status of Tirupati and the Meenakshi temples.

AND a few stray thoughts on the lack of leadership at the top level in Goa. For a long time, the late Manohar Parrikar was the undisputed “king” of the whole of Goa. But Manohar Parrikar was like a Banyan tree. It did not permit any second line or leadership to develop although his favourite MLA or local politician was Siddharth Kunkolienkar .
When Parrikar went to Delhi to take over as defense minister he entrusted his constituency to Siddharth Kunkolienkar. Kunkolienkar was the son of former MLA Sripad Kunkolienkar. When Parrikar went to Delhi Siddharth Kunkolienkar contested from Panaji for the seat vacated by Manohar Parrikar. Manohar Parrikar had a match-fixing arrangement with Atanasio Babush Monserrate and this enabled Siddharth Kunkolienkar to win that election.
After the demise of the late Manohar Parrikar, Siddharth Kunkolienkar stood again on the BJP ticket but this time he did not succeed, because Babush Monserrate decided that the agreement with the late Manohar Parrikar should not survive his death. Babush was always keen on becoming the MLA of Panaji and he contested and won the election.
Other senior leaders like Rajendra Arlekar and Laxmikant Parsekar have already been sidelined by Pramod Sawant. Laxmikant Parsekar was briefly the chief minister of Goa. He had a very successful stint and was considered an able chief minister. He distanced himself from his brother when he was caught in a scam. Later Laxmikant was not given a ticket by the BJP and he lost the elections.
The other leader was Rajendra Arlekar who should have been in line of succession after Manohar Parrikar. He was however transferred to Himachal Pradesh as a governor. Arlekar got bored and kept visiting Goa because he missed his home state.
Parrikar had paved the wave for Pramod Sawant. Pramod Sawant does not have a following outside his own constituency Sanquelim. There is no other BJP leader of the stature of Manohar Parrikar. Shripad Naik has always been in the running for the chief minister’s post. Unfortunately, Manohar Parrikar did not want any competition and Shripad was too disciplined a soldier to go against Manohar Parrikar. Shripad repeatedly take this claim as chief ministership and in the latest occasion after Manohar Parrikar passed away but in vain.
The BJP High Command did not consider him seriously. Shripad Naik was given the consolation prize of a ministry in New Delhi. He was minister for the newly formed AYUSH till recently, afterwards he shifted to the tourism portfolio in the capacity of Tourism Minister. He attended the inaugural day of the Carnaval in Panaji. Shripad Naik has won the North Goa parliament seat on five occasions. He will again stake his claim to Goa’s parliament seat.
There are some claims by other BJP MLAs that Shripad Naik should step down and make way for the younger generation. But the only sure candidate of the BJP is Shripad Naik. Pramod Sawant may not be able to last as Parrikar is no longer around to support him. The BJP have made the same mistake as Luizinho Falerio. He imported a whole lot of dissidents into the Congress. The Congress has very tall leaders as Digambar Kamat, Ravi Naik and Pratapsingh Rane were all former chief ministers of Goa. But they are unlikely to be considered for the chief minister’s post when the assembly elections come up.
Meanwhile, the entire focus is on the Lok Sabha election. Digambar Kamat may be the consensus candidate of the BJP for South Goa. Digambar is likely to shift to Goa Forward if he doesn’t get the ticket for South Goa.

AND a few stray thoughts on the latest land conversions by the Town & Country Planning Department. The TCP does not any longer use the word conversions. It keeps talking about correcting the existing land elements. Recently the TCP announced the correction of 50,000 meters of fertile agricultural land and orchards. The laws have been amended to ensure the validity of such conversion. The state government has also passed a resolution allowing it to take over communidade land for government projects.
The IIT campus is supposed to be coming up on the communidade land. There is a lot of controversy about the decision of the Canacona communidade to hand over a large part of its land towards the creation of a Film City. Communidade members are strongly objecting to the state government making any changes in the Communidade Code.

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