AICC INDIA meet in Panaji on March 6, 2024…addressed by AICC incharge for Goa Manickrao Thakare, sorting out the tricky business of parliamentary tickets for candidates (still not clear); present for the alliance talks were alliance partners NCP (Sharad Pawar), Shiv Sena (UBT), AAP and GFP. Thakare said he was aware of all trying to cut and split Congress votes in Goa!

THAT WAS an interesting INDIA group press conference in Panaji’s Fortune Miramar on Wednesday, March 7 and lots of media turned up. Mot came because they thought Congress incharge for Goa, Manikrao Thakare, was in town for a meet to discuss the INDIA gathbandhan in Goa and take a decision on who should get south and north Goa parliamentary tickets for the Congress.
But no names were confirmed, wait for a week and they will be announced. Asked why the delay considering the quickly approaching Lok Sabha elections, Thakare quipped that in the Congress they have “internal democracy” and everyone concerned is consulted! Presumably this is not true in the BJP. With the BJP all orders come from the High Command in Delhi who makes it very clear who party tickets should go to…they work fast perhaps! While the Congress enjoys a very slow democratic process.
This time the BJP for all its ambivalent attitude towards women in politics — take Goa, if it wants to it can give Cabinet status to all its women MLAs Delilah Lobo (Siolim), Divya Rane (Poriem), Jennifer Monseratte (Taligao) but they still haven’t done so as pointed out by Leader of Opposition Alemao — has got instructions to look for women BJP candidates to give tickets too. Perhaps the BJP High Command’s view has percolated down everywhere that women are important voters and will vote for a woman candidate they like more than a man candidate!
All this may be just political tactics or just fun politicking. For the record Chief Minister Dr Pramod Sawant’s very able wife’s name Sulakshana Sawant is one of the names proposed for the BJP parliamentary ticket. She’s already said she is happy the BJP powers that be have taken note of hard work she does towards ameliorating common women’s woes!
Alas, for the Congress in Goa the alliance may be more difficult with alliance partners of NCP (Sharad Pawar, Shiv Sena (UBT), AAP and GFP may have other ideas of who the candidate should be – in any case where are the women in the Goa Congress who can win the hearts of shashtikar (south Goa people)?
The grapevine is that MP Francisco Sardinha who somehow always gets the ticket and wins too will get the ticket again! Some of the INDIA allies may not like it and GFP’s president Vijay Sardesai, as one media person pointed out, has already declared he won’t campaign for Congress if South Goa MP Francisco Sardinha gets a ticket again. Our friend Sardesai is strong-willed and not known for being a co-operative team member.
Anyway, Thakare has promised the Congress names for the parliamentary seats will be announced in a week’s time, be patient, they have to respect everyone’s opinion before letting the Central Election Committee (CEC) and the party High Command in Delhi take the final call.
Honestly, I think it’s Congressmen who sustain the BJP in Goa good or bad and it’s akin to enjoying a cosy marriage of convenience for profit, power and control…does anyone of them give a damn for the good of Goa and Goans? Politics is in a deep nadir today and the country is floundering in dangerous waters. Wake up Goans, if you care about Goa!


AT NAVIGATE 2024, 16th NAR-INDIA CONVENTION: Mega real estate convention, the first of its kind to be held in Goa, organized by the National Association of Realtors (India). A three-day eye-opening mega event from Feb29 to Mar2, 2024…shows the way ahead for the 1,200 realtors from Goa, India and abroad!

DON’T ask me why I found myself at the 16TH edition of NAR-India. That’s NARVIGATE, the first of its kind convention in Goa and an eye-opener on how booming the real estate business is in Goa. I learned that Goa is the “warehouse capital of India” and that means folk are just looking for these great big spaces called “warehouses”, presumably tarted up sheds they may eventually turn into real estate projects or some such thing. Maybe it’s just a camouflage term!
Real estate pricing keeps shooting up because khaas aadmi is seeking second homes where they can run away in a crisis of health or whatever else. It’s not like in the old days when I could have bought myself a nice home in Goa at aam aadmi price! The general impression is that the current government has brokered vast expanses of land in Goa for real estate development and realtors in Goa, India and abroad, want a piece of the pie which still exists in Goa. True or not true, I don’t know. Many Goan politicians are real estate brokers and that’s part of the tragedy of Goa’s real estate boom.
Goa is such a lovely green state still and it would be a pity to ruin it all give or take a few more years. Anyway the NARVIGATE convention was hosted by the Goa Association of Realtors (actually Goans who want the real estate business to clean up its act, that is follow all the rules and regulations for the larger good of Goa).
It was a huge razzmatazz affair very well organized, with panel discussions demystifying RERA (Maharashtra implements this very strictly now); there were talks on many aspects of the real estate business in Goa…new business avenues in realty, smart city development, etc. Lots of lucky draws for the 1,200 odd delegates from India and abroad, sumptuous meals for registered in-house delegates and an exhibition of upcoming realty projects in Goa – where many would like to have a second home (for in Goa we may still breathe clean air and life is really not such a crush as it is in say Delhi or Mumbai or Chennai or Bengaluru. There were quite a few women realtors too and they were felicitated.)
They’re quite high-powered folk, these realtors and their agenda included itsy bitsy talks on health with several delegates promising they would be going on a one-meal lifestyle soon – that’s when the charming hostess Lincia Rosario asked around in the audience in one hilarious session.
I’d gone out only the last third day of the convention and the star attraction in the evening was a memorable treat. Listening to none other than the articulate Mir Ranjan Negi, in a motivation session. He spoke of “Resilience & Triumph, Lessons from the Field to Everyday Life.” Remember Mir Ranjan Negi? Hockey lovers would remember immediately. This much misjudged and insulted hockey player/later on coach has a story to tell like no other and later on it was recounted in the Sharukh Khan blockbuster film “Chak de India!” (Where Negi played the role of coach to the women’s hockey team, a most inspirational film for women in sports.)
Mir Ranjan Negi is a man wearing many hats and he speaks with flair, too much charm, he had the audience clapping wildly. I thought I’d rather be here listening to this man’s story of personal and professional milestones (illustrated with backdrop of the Chak de film) than anywhere else.
It would have been great to have stayed back for the session honouring Zinda Shaheed MS Bitta who walked in to listen with his armed guards, as also the Mandita Bedi conversation session and the one honouring women realtors of NAR-India, the dinner party winding up the three-day mega event…but (sigh)…I had to get back home, and my dear friend Parvish Andani Kamat said come on, she dropped me back to Panjim. Next time book me and hubby at the Rio Resort please and I won’t have to leave in a hurry!
THIS is also to say the Rio Resort has grown up to be most happenings resort out at Arpora and I’m told its owned by a Guju London entrepreneur Anup and wife Alpa Shah yet. There’s some amazing Kathiawari/Saurashtra artwork here and walls of greenery adorn a haveli-styled courtyard…very cool. I will say it’s best place to go if you’re seeking a pure wholesome Gujarati vegetarian meal in Goa!
The restaurants are called Mango, Sweet Caju, Jalsa — where you may find soaked, sprouted fenugreek or methi seeds pickle, which I haven’t eaten in years (the last time I ate it, it was some 40 years ago out in a Gujarat outdoor eatery)! You will find it here at the Rio Resort in Goa. Ask for it if you don’t! I also noticed they’re doing miniature Goan breads here, the mini “undo” loaves were too cute but I was already too stuffed to check it out with some of the methi seeds pickle!
This is to say don’t wait too long if you’re seeking a home in Goa, do it now when the time is ripe, it cannot get any riper. Consult true blue Goan realtors who love Goa beyond just real estate like Keshav Prabhu (governing body member) or Amit Chopra (president, NAR India). The whole country is represented here in Goa, food-wise at least, and much of the rest of the world too. What’s not there in Goa except perhaps….er… world-class primary infrastructure at ground level, like say a super public transport system (one of the Smart City speakers said a place may call itself developed only when it can boast of a super public transport system, one in which even wealthy members of society will choose to commute by daily instead of their fleet of private cars, brilliant definition).
Okay, no more, except that it would be a pity to sell Goa before more primary infrastructure is in place. Many say Goa is still underdeveloped, keep it that way, don’t be in a hurry to market it by hook or by crook! More another time, till then it’s avjo, selamat datang, poite verem, au revoir, arrivedecci, hasta la vista and vachun yeta here for now.

—Mme Butterfly

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