It is certainly high time that the state government should come clear how long Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar will be out of the State for his treatment.
Though there is no two-ways in wishing a speedy recovery for the Chief minister, the state also can’t be left headless for a long time especially when it is going through a crisis situation, and no solution is in sight for many of the issues.
It was unfortunate and sad that Parrikar had to leave the State at the time when it is going through an unprecedented crisis affecting the livelihood of many of the citizens.
The mining industry had faced unexpected closure due to the order of the Supreme Court on February 7, which quashed 88 mining leases. When this happened, almost two lakh people were looking at Parrikar with much expectation. I still remember talking to him during a press conference and he had assured that the SC order would be cushioned with several measures that the State government is intending to take up.
Mining was one of the issues that needed the Chief minister to intervene personally. If not Parrikar, then any other Chief minister should have been there because it is a position that command more powers compared to other ministers in the cabinet.
The situation would have been smoother with Parrikar in the chair as he was the mines minister and also had law portfolio with him, both of whom are required to find out the solution for the problem.
It was unexpected that Parrikar would fall sick and remain away for such a long duration. There are several other aspects regarding the governing of the State that has been suppressed in the absence of Parrikar. The Budget for the Financial Year 2018-19 is tabled but the expectations from it are yet to be fulfilled.
The state was seeking solutions to several of its problems through this budget and Parrikar was expected to announce some of the really populist schemes as a part of it. The pleasant surprise factor from the budget was missing.
The government, which was formed with many of promises of Goenkarponn, was also expected to bring smiles on several fronts through the presentation of Budget. The Budget Session was much awaited by the population but Parrikar’s absence forced to curtail it.
And then the way Parrikar arrived to present the budget looked like ‘he is back.’ We saluted his courage to come out from the hospital bed and present the budget, showing a real statesmanship. However, our happiness did not last long as his health continued making problems.
At present, Parrikar is not in the country since March first week and entire affairs of the State are handled by Cabinet Advisory Committee. The committee has restricted power, and it does not enjoy the strength of the Chief minister.
The state is seriously missing Manohar Parrikar and his acumen to rule. We don’t want to undermine the efforts of Sudin Dhavalikar, Vijai Sardesai and Francis D’Souza, but they can’t be a match to Parrikar as they are not the Chief minister.
Vijai Sardesai is trying to make a difference in governance for the sake of government and for the sake of his Goa Forward Party. Nevertheless, that is not enough. We need the Chief minister.
There is no clarity on how long Parrikar will remain away from the State. The recent announcement states that he will be back next month. But the same announcement was made last month, and he did not turn up in April.
There are several administrative decisions that have been hanging in the balance due to the absence of Parrikar. The Investment Promotion Board, which had set on some ambitious targets for itself during the current tenure, is left headless. Without Chief minister, who is the chairman, the investment promotion board cannot clear the proposals. So the investment in the state has boiled down to zero in the absence of Parrikar. The industrial growth at this point of time was required as people are left jobless due to closure of the mining industry. The job opportunities need to be created. The State government’s job sector has been saturated. There are no more jobs created and in absence of Finance Minister, who is Parrikar, they cannot be created.
The facts that I am putting across through this editorial may be indigestible for many. But let me say, we are not speaking against Parrikar but want that the State should run smoothly. Also, we wish he could come back with revived health tomorrow itself and take over the reigns of the state. But that does not seem to be happening.
So in these circumstances, the State government should either give a clear idea of when will he exactly come back or find out a proper stop-gap arrangement in the form of a new face.
If there are any fears that the coalition partners like Goa Forward Party or Maharashtrawadi Gomantak Party will withdraw the support to the government if Parrikar is asked to step aside for some time, then they could be assured that he will be back once his health permits. That should be purely a stop-gap arrangement, as we need a Chief minister who can take the decision and responsibility surrounding it.
The state is going through a weird phase where Congress is no more an opposition. It has turned into a party, which is fighting amongst itself and could not decide who should be their state chief. The party has gone into hibernation, which is not good for its political health.
In such a situation, there is no watchdog, which can actually keep a check on the functioning of the government, which is without a Chief minister.
Leader of Opposition Chandrakant Kavlekar has become synonym with three monkeys of Gandhiji, and he has a reason to be so. Congress is going nowhere in the state though it has few of the most experienced lawmakers.
To sum, at first, we expect that Chief minister will be back soon with the revived health and if he is taking time, we hope that some person would be appointed in his position who will take care of the State till Parrikar is back.