The Goa State Legislative Assembly in its very recently concluded Monsoon session had its moments of excitement and shadow-boxing but it was more sound than fury and the ringmaster Manohar Parrikar, his usual suave self, keeping the audience rapt while pretending to pull a rabbit out of the hat.
Parrikar did introduce a number of Bills and this was not unexpected as the IITian is streets ahead of our old bugbear Congress Digambar Kamat who was, by far, the worst incumbent of the Chief Ministerial post - a glutton for work but also adept at selling a dummy.
After criticising the Congress for its blatant nepotism , he is following the same agenda with the two Dhavlikar brothers and now Alina in place of Matanhy Saldanha. How is she qualified to replace Matanhy ? What are her credentials ? She is now speaking of not allowing more forest land to go to mining. But what about recovering the land already gifted ?
It looks like our political scenario is full of dynastic rule. There’s Mulayam Singh Yadav doing the same thing not to forget the cunning Laloo Prasad who scored a first by inducting his wife Rabri Devi. We have divested the princes of their purses and titles and inducted these dubious politicians in their place. What a crying shame, my dear countrymen.
The Public Works Department (PWD) portfolio is a huge one and is being handled by Deepak Dhavlikar, the same way as the Congress bigwig Churchill Alemao did in the previous government. It is also the most lucrative one because of the job opportunities in its ambit. Roads and waterways could be bifurcated, as it is done in some other States, but Parrikar is apparently reluctant to displease the MGP brothers because of their “khandan” strength, like Kamat was in the case of the Alemaos. It is easy to throw one’s weight against the pipsqueaks but quite another matter to take on the political heavyweights which is also the definition of a bully.
The Bill he wants to bring in banning the sale of farm land looks like its rather late, like shutting the stable door after the horse has been bolted. Steps should have been taken earlier to encourage cultivation, like providing tractors at subsidized rates for poor farmers, or allowing them to turn to the more remunerative horticulture. It is a question of providing a viable alternative. Now he wants to double the acreage of cultivable land. It is like a Rip Van Winkle act.
The casinos issue also is still hanging fire. Some of these boats are not even sea-worthy but they are still struggling over the issue of under whose authority they come under. That he has reduced the entrance fee from Rs 500 to Rs 200 is a major glitch and claiming he has countered it with the increase in the licence fees of the boats is no solution whatsoever. Now, he has decided to shift the authority from the Director-General of Shipping to the Captain of Ports because they are docked in the river is something the government should have thought of much earlier. Is the Captain of Ports more malleable ?
The mining problem seems to defy solution and this is because there are too many interested parties involved and hence the lack of a political will to achieve it. In the Opposition, Parrikar waxed eloquent on the subject but now in the “chair” he is singing a different tune, which by the way is an old game played by the Chief Ministers of Goa.
When as Opposition leader Parrikar and Public Accounts Committee (PAC) chairman put the mining scam report forward the Speaker Pratapsing Rane he promptly rejected it to save Congress face though the Speaker is by duty neutral.
Now as Chief Minister Parrikar has referred the same scam to the PAC and has in the process appointed of all people Digambar Kamat as chairman of the PAC. Isn’t it a quid pro quo for services earlier rendered ? That Kamat has proved himself impotent is now a historical fact and for that reason was not made leader of the Opposition. Does one really expect Kamat to deliver the goods ? And that too by an intelligent Parrikar ? Whom are you kidding, Mr Parrikar ?
The Minorities Commission Bill is another thing that is hanging fire and the latest is that it has been referred to the selection panel. Does that mean it is being put into cold storage ? It could well be a dilemma for Parrikar between pleasing his Christian vote bank or keeping his Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) principals in good spirits. Can he dare pull the rabbit out of the hat ?