The truth about the Goa government, and this is a truth that has been quietly accepted by a submissive State, is that for the better part of the year its administrative decisions have been taken from hospital rooms in Mumbai, New York and now from a hospital room in New Delhi. The government has admitted that files were being sent to New York electronically for the CM's clearance when he was admitted in a hospital there. An officer had even travelled to New York with files for the CM’s signature. Now, there is some more travel happening within the country. While ministers and MLAs, especially aspiring ministers among the latter, have already met the Chief Minister in Delhi, heads of the BJP’s alliance partners and the supporting Independent MLAs have been called to New Delhi for a consultation with the Chief Minister on Friday, October 12.
While the MGP leader Ramkrishna (Sudin) Dhavalikar has said he will leave for Delhi to attend the meeting, and some Independents have confirmed that they too will be going, GFP leader Vijai Sardesai said he wants more clarity on the meeting before making the trip to the national capital. Strangely, the ministers are not clear about the agenda of the meeting, and even of who has been invited. There really appears to be no clarity in the purpose of the meeting, not even of which of the ministers have been invited. This is what Herald gathered from the responses of the ministers when it spoke to a section of them.
Truth be told, Goa too wants more clarity, not just on the purpose of this meeting, which will turn out to be the first between the chief minister and a group of ministers at the hospital, but on the governance of the State, of the future of this government, on the policies planned for the State, of the administrative measures in place while the head of government is away. There has been much ambiguity on all this since the beginning of this year, when the Chief Minister first took ill, and was admitted in a hospital in Mumbai. Except for replacing two ministers who were also ill, with two others who are not, there have been no measures undertaken to streamline the administration or level the speed bumps that keep cropping up on the road to planning and governance.
The Chief Minister and the heads of the alliance partners are expected to discuss matters relating to governance and also the portfolio distribution that has been pending for long. Except for allotting portfolios to the two new ministers, the departments held by the Chief Minister have not been redistributed. The latter is an important exercise, as the Chief Minister currently holds some important departments including Home, Finance, Mining, Education, all of which require the immediate and day to day attention. These portfolios, and some others, would have to be distributed among the other ministers so that decisions do not remain pending, but are taken on an immediate basis.
The status quo that has been maintained by the BJP in retaining the Chief Minister and replacing other ailing ministers, may have provided stability to the government, but it has neither boosted administration in any manner, nor given much hope of a change of pace in governance. Two weeks after the cabinet reshuffle that brought in Nilesh Cabral and Milind Naik, has there been any improvement in the working of the government that can be commended and commented upon? Goa definitely needs some clarity, especially on how long will the current state of affairs continue. Sadly, there seems to be nobody who will be able to answer this question.