A bedrid­den chief min­is­ter is the least of the state’s prob­lems

India Today - - STATES - By Ki­ran D. Tare

Goa is in a state of eco­nomic and po­lit­i­cal paral­y­sis with vir­tu­ally no de­ci­sions be­ing taken since Chief Min­is­ter Manohar Par­rikar started treat­ment for pan­cre­atic can­cer in Fe­bru­ary. Par­rikar’s own charges—home, fi­nance, in­dus­try and ed­u­ca­tion—have been the worst hit.

The se­vere na­ture of the cri­sis be­came pub­lic re­cently when the state in­vest­ment pro­mo­tion board (IPB) had to with­draw its claim (an­nounced on Oc­to­ber 17) that it had cleared eight pro­pos­als con­nected to in­dus­tries and ho­tels worth Rs 200 crore. It cited a meet­ing held un­der IPB chair­man Par­rikar through video con­fer­enc­ing. But af­ter the Op­po­si­tion Congress cre­ated a ruckus over whether he had signed the pa­pers, the gov­ern­ment backpedall­ed and said only a dis­cus­sion on the pro­pos­als had hap­pened.

That the state’s econ­omy is in free fall is ev­i­dent—col­lec­tions of GST and ex­cise duty have fallen by 20 per cent. The fi­nance min­istry has an­nounced a 25 per cent bud­get cut for all de­part­ments as there is a big short­fall in rev­enue gen­er­a­tion. Com­pare this to Par­rikar’s es­ti­mate of sur­plus rev­enue of Rs 145 crore when he pre­sented a bud­get of Rs 17,123 crore in Fe­bru­ary. The Supreme Court ban on min­ing and the poor power trans­mis­sion net­work has only added to its woes. The state, de­spite hav­ing am­ple elec­tric­ity, is now fac­ing power cuts.

Par­rikar’s ab­sence has been felt on the po­lit­i­cal front too. The Goa BJP is a di­vided house to­day. State BJP pres­i­dent Vi­nay Ten­dulkar and for­mer CM


Laxmikant Parsekar have been at each other’s throats since Ten­dulkar fa­cil­i­tated the en­try of Parsekar’s ri­val Dilip Sopte, a Congress MLA, into the BJP on Oc­to­ber 14. And now, two other se­nior BJP lead­ers, Ra­jen­dra Ar­lekar and Dayanand Man­drekar, have come out and blasted Ten­dulkar for giv­ing space to “out­siders”. The sit­u­a­tion is del­i­cate as Ten­dulkar seems to be the fron­trun­ner for the CM’s post in the event that Par­rikar has to be re­placed. (The other two short­listed can­di­dates, as­sem­bly speaker Pramod Sawant and health min­is­ter Vish­wa­jeet Rane, do not have the con­fi­dence of the BJP cadre or its al­lies in gov­ern­ment.)

Par­rikar’s ill­ness has set the ru­mour mills churn­ing. At a meet­ing with re­porters on Oc­to­ber 26, Rane fi­nally dis­closed the open se­cret that the CM was suf­fer­ing from pan­cre­atic can­cer. “There is no hid­ing from the fact. Let him be peace­ful with his fam­ily,” Rane said.

Mean­while, the al­lies are get­ting antsy. MGP chief Di­pak Dhava­likar has threat­ened that they will con­sider other op­tions if the sec­ond-most se­nior min­is­ter, his brother Sudin, is not given the CM’s post in Par­rikar’s ab­sence. Goa Congress pres­i­dent Girish Chodankar al­leges that some bu­reau­crats and BJP lead­ers are hold­ing Par­rikar cap­tive. He points to how no one is al­lowed to meet the ail­ing CM. “We’re hear­ing he clears the files. I doubt it... has he really signed those files or is his sig­na­ture be­ing forged?” Chodankar asks.


DIG­GING DEEP Trucks ly­ing idle at the Vedanta Mines com­pound

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