If Vishawajit Rane's tweet itself was not meaningless trivia and obfuscation; then what is? What about the painful circus of having a CM run the State from at least three hospitals for a year, one of which was in another continent? Rane clearly drew the Laxman Rekha between the working class and the political class. So, to say that MLAs are working for the people just is not convincing. Is there a Panchayat that has not played the toppling game?

September 13, 2019

Whatever it takes says Vishwajit

The health minister tweeted himself silly defending the Rs 10.30 cr spent on MLAs "but common man left to die" as baseless and absurd, on August 26, 2019, defending the huge expenditure at his usual vainglorious best. "I want to assure you all to not panic & pay heed to fake news circulated by certain media publications," Rane tweeted. Panic! Who is panicking? We are just pained, that's all.

Some of his stunners directed at the English daily that carried the exposure: "With due respect to & in absolute agreement to every common man's right to best medical services, why should their elected representatives be deprived of the same?" He also defended the Rs 5.72 cr medical expense on Manohar Parrikar. "Living with cancer is not easy & trivialising Manohar Parrikar Ji’s painful death by equating it with the medical expenses is nothing less than loathsome." If his tweet itself was not meaningless trivia and blatant obfuscation; then what is? What about the painful circus of having a chief minister run the State from at least three hospitals for a year, one of which was in another continent (see pic of an ailing Parrikar)?

"What is the problem if money is spent on the MLAs? Even during the Congress regime, money was spent on ailing leaders like then MLA Gurudas Gawas," he said. So, what is sauce for the goose is sauce for the gander, Rane clearly confessed. "Contribution of Manohar Parrikar is huge and it cannot be quantified in terms of money. It is the responsibility of the State government to take care of the health of MLAs and leaders who work for the people of Goa." You think? This after father Pratapsing Rane recently walked away with a low interest Rs 30,00,000 housing loan and another Rs 15,00,000 loan to buy a car. With this particular tweet, Rane clearly drew the Laxman Rekha between the working class and the political class.

Charity begins at home feel MLAs

Now here's my take as an ordinary working class person who pays his own medical bills or pays a high annual premium to get a 70/30 per cent reimbursement, and paid a high interest rate on his housing loan EMIs, while choosing not to take a loan to buy a car because the difference between the actual price of the car and the total interest amount to be paid at the end; was frankly insane. And there are millions who think like this, not me alone; because it’s one thing buying a home, and another thing buying a car at that cost of interest.

But first, just a tiny example of how the other side is forced to live. On August 28, 2019, the Calangute MLA Michael Lobo and the Goa Tourism Development Corporation chairman Dayanand Sopte inspected seven houses close to Baga beach to adjudicate whether these homes of traditional fishermen living there for over 200 years (their ancestors obviously) could actually regularize their houses on the land they eventually bought in 1976. Lobo himself at a media brief admitted the fishermen were struggling to convert their land to settlement, though I fail to understand what jurisdiction the GTDC has in the matter. The issue could take more years to resolve. But that's the resolve too of the common man.

As for 'MLAs and leaders working for the people', nobody asked them to, just as the people of Goa did not sanction the increase from 30 MLs as a Union Territory to 40 after attaining Statehood. It was the political class that decided, just as the political class decides the candidate for each constituency, not the voter. The voter is simply whipped into a frenzy to vote. So, to say that MLAs being leaders are working for the people just does not convince me or anybody else. They do that for the power, money and perks that come with it, even at the Panchayat level.

A matter of titles

Take a look at the birthday greetings and obituaries on any newspaper and the legend printed in bold - 'ex-Sarpanch'. Seriously, what is so great about being an 'ex-Sarpanch' considering the match fixing that goes on wherein a religious oath is actually taken by a group of panchas who then each get a turn to become Sarpanch? Is there a Panchayat in Goa that has not played the usual toppling game? Is there an MLA that has not interfered in the running of a Panchayat? Do not so-called leaders literally take to the streets demanding election tickets, and if denied, often get their supporters to vote against the official candidate? Two examples of 'leaders' desperately 'wanting to serve the people' are Mahadev Naik in the Shiroda constituency who crossed over to the Congress from the BJP after the sitting MLA Subhash Shirodkar did the exact opposite in the recent by-elections. And Sudhir Khandolkar in Mapusa who quit the BJP and contested on a Congress ticket after the BJP denied him a ticket too. Did Vishwajit Rane himself seek his voters' approval when he crossed over from the Congress to the BJP? Did the 10 MLAs do the same, when they crossed over?

This is what a contributor said on social media recently: ‘No Helmet.. fine Rs 1000, parking at No Parking... fine 1000, vehicle in no Entry... fine 1000, triple driving... fine 2000, plastic use.... fine 5000, potholes on roads … no one responsible, non-working signal lights… no one responsible… dug road no repairs… no one responsible, political flex banners on road… no one responsible, encroached footpath… no one responsible… overflowing garbage bins on road... no one responsible, no proper street lights… no one responsible'. 'Looks like people are the only culprits and liable to be fined. The administration and government is no way responsible. No rules and regulations apply to them. They are never responsible for any problems. They are not to be blamed. Citizens are the only ones who will work... who will suffer pain...will pay tax... will pay fines... keep the government treasury filled....... Our efforts... Their enjoyment!’ That's the bottom line.