Goa CM Manohar Parrikar assures proper working of state through ill health
Goa Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar,62, who is undergoing treatment in the United States for the past four months due to ill health has been very much active in the state of affairs.
Parrikar however did not disclose his exact location or the identity of the hospital he was admitted in the United States. “The first thing he did was enquire about my health, which is ironic because he is the one who is ailing. He sounded a bit weak, but Parrikar told me that two rounds of chemotherapy are likely to be done later this week and after that, his return would depend on his doctor’s clearance,” said one of the journalists, working for an English daily and covering the Bharatiya Janata Party beat.
The journalist also said that the Chief Minister explained to him the protocol followed in examining government files and taking decisions.
“Parrikar said that he has a daily conference via telephone with the Chief Secretary and the Principal Secretary to the CMO. Files and documents are scanned and sent to him by email and fax and the Chief Minister’s decisions are conveyed over phone, fax or email. He said, that governance can be conducted remotely with ease in these days, thanks to communication devices,” he said.
Parrikar’s phone calls to the journalists come at a time, when the Bharatiya Janata Party-led coalition government is under fire from the Opposition and civil society, who have accused the Chief Minister of holding on to power and not delegating responsibility to a cabinet minister to run the state in a hands-on manner.
Last week, the Congress also filed a police complaint, alleging that the Chief Minister’s email on which officials communicate with Parrikar was being operated in Panaji. The complaint filed by Congress’ Sidhanath Buyao with the Crime Branch, alleged that the Parrikar’s account was being misused by officials to take decisions in their favour.
Another journalist, who works as a Chief Reporter for a vernacular newspaper, told IANS that Parrikar regularly accesses his email. “He assured me that he was feeling well and that thanks to treatment, his health was looking up,” said the journalist.
While official sources claim that Parrikar is suffering from advanced pancreatic cancer, neither the Bharatiya Janata Party nor the Chief Minister’s Office have officially communicated the severity of his ailment, vaguely describing it as “mild pancreatitis” in unofficial statements.
Speaking to reporters in the backdrop of this, he asked about the political situation in the state. The Chief Minister said his health is sustainable and will return to the state within a few days. Speaking to the phone with a senior journalist, his arrival in Goa might only be a few days away.
“Speaking to the video conference with officials every day, We are doing the functions according to the protocol. Government files are scanned and mailed to me. Everything here through technology machines is learned from here. The Chief Minister said that he would consult the doctors and come back to the state in a few days.
Last week, the opposition party had complained to the police that it was misusing money in the Chief Minister’s account. The rule of the state has suffered. He demanded another chief minister of the state.
The patient who is suffering from typositis is being treated in the United States from March 7. Since then, the governance of the state governments is being monitored by a team of three ministers.
Goa Agriculture Minister Vijay Sardesai on Tuesday criticised the Congress for making an issue out of Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar’s absence and maintained that the state administration was being run smoothly. He claimed the Congress was trying to use Parrikar’s absence from Goa as an opportunity to revive itself after failing to come to power in the coastal state following the Assembly elections last year.
In Parrikar’s absence, a three-member advisory committee comprising cabinet ministers is looking into the day-to-day affairs of the state. Sardesai, whose Goa Forward Party is an alliance partner in BJP-led government has confirmed Parrikar’s involvement in state affairs.
“I don’t think anybody is affected with the chief minister’s absence. He has been monitoring the administration in Goa from USA on a daily basis,” he said. “The Congress has to make some issue. Therefore, it is using this as an opportunity to revive the party,” he said.
The Goa Congress had last month demanded the appointment of a “full-time” chief minister for the coastal state in the absence Parrikar.
Sardesai said it was unfortunate that Parrikar was suffering from a health issue for which he had to go abroad. “But he has made the stop-gap arrangement in the form of the Cabinet Advisory Committee (CAC), which is working very well,” he said.
To a question on the recent remarks by state minister Sudin Dhavalikar that he is “mentally prepared” to take reins of the state in Parrikar’s absence, Sardesai said, “There is no question of anybody (other than Parrikar) being the chief minister.”
Dhavalikar, whose Maharashtravadi Gomantak Party (MGP) is also an ally of the BJP in Goa, is the senior most minister in the state government. He is also part of the CAC set up by Parrikar.
The GFP and the MGP have three MLAs each in the Goa Assembly. Apart from these two parties, three Independents are also supporting the BJP-led state government.