Congress holds protest march against ‘governance failure’ in Goa

Panaji: The Congress in Goa Wednesday took out a march here in protest against the “failure” of the Manohar Parrikar-led coalition government on “all fronts”. The party also demanded the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) in Delhi issue a medical bulletin on the health status of the chief minister, 62, who remains admitted there for a pancreatic ailment since September 15.

Earlier in the day, a delegation of Congress leaders met Governor Mridula Sinha and sought her directions to the state DGP and chief secretary to probe the Congress’ complaint against Parrikar and his predecessor Laxmikant Parsekar for “their alleged role in the illegal renewal” of the iron ore mining leases. Hundreds of party workers walked on the busy D B Bandodkar road this afternoon and shouted slogans against the Parrikar government. They later gathered at the Azad Maidan where the party leaders addressed them.

During their meeting with the governor, the Congress reiterated several demands including issuance of a health bulletin on Parrikar’s condition. “The state government has miserably failed to fulfill the promises made to the people. Several issues are hanging fire and the people are being given hollow promises,” Leader of Opposition in state Assembly Chandrakant Kavlekar told reporters outside Raj Bhavan after meeting the governor.

“The state government is almost non-existent. We urged the governor to direct officers to restore normalcy in the state administration,” he said. He alleged various parties that are part of the ruling coalition are behaving as per their whims, which has seriously affected governance.

“Properties belonging to the Goa Tourism Development Corporation (GTDC) are being sold to private parties at throwaway prices. We have sought intervention of the governor in this regard,” Kavlekar said.

He said, “the government is saying that the CM’s health is improving. If that is so then why there is a failure of governance?” Goa Congress president Girish Chodankar said the party had submitted formal complaints to Chief Secretary Dharmendra Sharma and Director General of Police Muktesh Chandar on October 3 and 4 seeking probe against Parrikar and Parsekar for their alleged role in illegal renewal of the mining leases.

In a setback to the state government, the Supreme Court quashed renewal of the 88 mining leases in an order dated February 7 this year, which brought the entire mining industry in the state to a standstill. “The administration as well as the police are afraid to register complaints against Parrikar and Parsekar. We urged governor to direct officers concerned to immediately investigate the complaints,” said Chodankar.

Parsekar (BJP) had served as the chief minister of the state from 2014 to 2017. Chodankar said the Congress leaders told the government that the government is ridden with scams. When asked about any assurance given to them by the governor, the Congress leader said, “Everytime we meet her, she gives assurances but never fulfils them. She is not giving justice to us”.

Alleging that the coalition government is in disarray, the Congress had demanded a floor test be conducted in the state Assembly. The BJP has ruled out any change of guard in Goa in view of Parrikar’s health. Earlier in the day, an official said that Parrikar would meet the alliance partners of his government on October 12 at the AIIMS.

The BJP, which has 14 MLAs in the 40-member House, is ruling the state with the help of MGP (Maharashtravadi Gomantak Party), GFP (Goa Forward Party), the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) and three Independents. The GFP and the MGP have three seats each and the NCP has one. The opposition Congress has 16 MLAs.

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