By Rajan Narayan

CLEARLY, even if you have a net worth of almost Rs1,500 crore, it does not empower to any independent voice on behalf of Goa’s secular democracy. Shockingly, on the subject of Mhadei waters, Pallavi Dempo is reported to have endorsed the sentiments of Chief Minister Pramod Sawant, who shockingly claims that the Mhadei waters issue is a Congress issue. Mhadei is not a Congress issue but an issue which affects the present and future of Goan residents in Goa.
Indeed, if the Mhadei river waters continue to diverted to Karnataka, amongst the worst affected would be the Dempo Group. The river Mandovi which currently flows past the corporate offices of the Dempo’s will dry up or become a dirty gutter. The diversion of the Mhadei was never a Congress issue.
It was when the BJP was in power under the chief ministership of BS Yediyurappa that work started on the Khalasa-Banduri diversion site at Kankumbi. We recall visiting Kankumbi which is very close to Belgaum and so the construction was going on at a very slow pace. The late chief minister of Goa, Manohar Parrikar, opened a Pandora’s box on the generous diversion of Mhadei waters to Karnataka.
Parrikar declared that he was willing to supply water for drinking purposes to Hubli and Dharwad. The BJP in Karnataka quickly took advantage of this offer. The BJP hastened diversion works at Khalasa-Banduri which would transfer huge quantities of water from the Mhadei basin to the Malaprabha basin.

KARNATAKA does not want the Mhadei water just for drinking purposes. Karnataka wants the Mhadei waters for the water-guzzling sugarcane agriculture in the Malaprabha river basin which has dried up. Among the industries in Goa which will be badly hit if the Mhadei waters are diverted is the mining industry. The mining industry has just revived after a gap of more than two decades. Consider that barges will not be able to ply comfortably up and down the river Mandovi with its cargo of ore.
Goan ore is low-grade ore. It is profitable to export the ore because the cost of transportation by barges is much cheaper than road transport. If the Mandovi river basin dries up the transportation of ore to the Mormugoa port in south Goa will definitely be disrupted. But Karnataka is not concerned because it wants the ore in Goa for the Jindal iron plant in Karnataka. Karnataka has already ensured the double-tracking of railway tracks between Vasco and Hospet to facilitate the transportation of ore and coal by road and train to Karnataka.

NOT surprisingly Pallavi Dempo who is BJP’s south Goa’s parliamentary elections candidate, has been silent on the coal pollution issues which affect south Goa. She is also silent on the double-tracking of the South Western Railway to enable its trains to carry more iron ore and coal to Karnataka.
Pallavi also remains silent about the erosion of beaches in south Goa. For example, Betalbatim beach is under serious threat of eraosion. She is silent on the huge problem of migrant labor occupying comunidade land in Zuarinagar and Cortalim. Pallavi has remained silent about the state of the Cuncolim industrial estate. Pallavi has remained silent over the claim that Sancoale church has come up on the site of a Hindu temple.
Sancoale is a very holy place for the Catholic community as it is the home of the venerable Fr Joseph Vaz who is waiting to be made a saint. Cardinal Filipe Neri has been promoting the cause of reverend Fr Joseph Vaz to be made a saint. Some lunatic Hindutva elements have been calling for the demolition of Sancoale church.

PALLAVI Dempo sweetly claims that the views of the Chief Minister Pramod Sawant are her view on diversion of the Mhadei waters. She also needs to explain her silence on the vital issues plaguing south Goa by claiming that she is committed to the policies of Narendra Modi.
Despite being the first women candidate from south Goa, she continues to be silent on the rape and murder of the five-year-old girl in Vaddem, Vasco, which took place recently. The police have arrested two Hindu migrant laborers for rape and murder. There have been two rapes in two days in the middle of this election campaign. In 2024 there have been three rapes in south Goa. On April 8, a 14-year- old minor girl was kidnapped in Vasco Mormugoa. On April 11 a 5-year-old girl was raped and murdered in Vaddem Vasco. On April 12 a 15-year-old girl was raped in Maina Curtorim. And incidentally, Prime Minister Narendra Modi is planning to have a rally in favour of Pallavi Dempo at Curchorem.
It is clear that Pallavi Dempo is not concerned or interested in Goa, let alone south Goa. What is clear is that Pallavi Dempo does not have any political views of her own. Pallavi Dempo is a parrot of Narendra Modi and local BJP leaders like Chief Minister Pramod Sawant and BJP president, Sadanand Shet Tanavade. Sadanand Pramod have lost credibility in south Goa.
Though Pallavi may have been born in Margao, south Goa, in a Timblo family, it is clear that she is not accepted by the people of south Goa. The Timblo families of Margoa have not come out in support at Pallavi Dempo. If Shrinivas Dempo had contested as a candidate in south Goa, Pallavi as expected would have been his beautiful wife accompanying him on the campaign. But the good husband does not feel obliged to join his wife on the campaign training. Besides giving Pallavi a NOC Shrinivas Dempo has not contributed anything to her election campaign.

CARDINAL Filipe Neri Ferrao has asked for all Goan Catholics to vote for secular candidates. Obviously, this appeal is for votes for the Catholic candidates. It can even be interpreted as an appeal to vote for the INDIA bloc candidates. The minority communities which include not only the Catholics but also the Muslims are not likely to vote for the BJP. On the eve of the beginning of the first round of polling, Modi again highlighted the Ram Mandir issue.
On Wednesday, April 17 Narendra Modi claimed that the Ram Lalla installed in Ayodhya is getting a Surya tilak after 500 years. Ram Lalla’s statue has been installed at a site where the first rays of the sun would fall on the forehead of Ram Lalla on auspicious Ram Navami day. Maybe the prime minister of India believes that he can even get the sun god Surya dev to obey his orders. We hope the voters in south Goa will reject money power.

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