Of poll duty, abandoned offices and a paralysed admin

ASHLEY DO ROSARIO | MAY 03, 2024, 01:40 AM IST

Elections are often a time when many, especially the lower rung of politicians like sarpanchas, panchas and in the urban scapes mayors, municipal chairpersons and councillors thrive and make hay while the sun shines.

This time around, the sun is indeed shining red hot, but the soaring mercury isn't dithering another tribe in the establishment to make hay in the surly heat -- the small and big 'babus'.

Almost every government office appears to be on a holiday, abandoned and the usual hustle and bustle missing. The reason? Officials are deputed on 'election duty' and instead of warming their seats, which many often do, contributing to the bureaucratic red tape you often encounter in these offices, these public servants are warming themselves out on the streets as part of the election machinery or faking their poll duties to stay away from work.

The losers in the bargain remain the common citizens who will now have to wait till June 4 to have some hope for their transaction with the government establishment to fructify.

Earlier this week, another biker landed in one of the many ditches dug up in the capital city, which the 'double-engine sarkar' is trying and struggling to make 'smart'.

After all that followed the tragic death of 21-year-old Ribandar youth, Ayush Halarnkar on New Year's day when he drove his bike in pitch darkness into a pit, one would have thought that the authorities may have learnt their lessons.

Seems like not, if accounts of the residents who live around the St Inez-Taj Vivanta junction are to be believed. The area which has been dug up by contractors who are currently working on the 'smart road' project there, has been left un-barricaded in patches and no amount of requests to the Smart City officials, CCP officials and others have evoked any action to rectify it, they say.

So, Wednesday's incident in which a scooterist, said to be an employee of a nearby up-market restaurant, fell into the water-filled ditch along with his scooter, is as much an act of omission by the authorities as it is an act of negligence by the victim scooterist. Heads should have rolled, but will they?

Babush sweeps Taleigao again

Revenue Minister Atanasio (Babush) Monserrate has once again stamped his domination over the Taleigao panchayat making it a clean 11-0 sweep, although not unexpected.

What, however, has had eyes rolling was Babush's hands-on involvement with the election and the virtual invisibility of his wife Jennifer, who actually represents Taleigao in the Goa legislative assembly. It has led to many murmurs which is now evolving into intense speculation of whether he is making ground for himself to return to Taleigao which he quit representing in 2012.

On election day when he was questioned by the media, he roared that he would never abandon Panaji, which he is currently representing since 2019 following the death of Manohar Parrikar.

Buoyed by the spectacular electoral win in the panchayat he roared that those dreaming of defeating him in Panaji will do it only in their dreams, clearly hinting at Parrikar Junior but steering clear of naming him.

All the saffron men nervous as Shah set to land

With internal assessment reports not really painting a rosy picture for the BJP candidates, the visit of the strong-armed Union Home Minister Amit Shah on Friday is beginning to be dreaded by the saffron party's leaders, office bearers down to the mandal chiefs and panna pramukhs.

All and sundry in the saffron camp are holding their breath in anticipation of Shah's visit and the several hours he would be spending in Goa on Friday. After the not-so-rosy report submitted to the central leadership by General Secretary BL Santosh who scouted in Goa in the lead-up to Prime Minister Narendra Modi's visit and rally in Sancoale, all and sundry in the BJP camp are bracing themselves for a tongue-lashing from Shah on Friday.

We will be keenly watching the proceedings behind closed doors in the hours Shah is in Goa and hoping that the singing birds keep singing in our ears so we can bring you graphic details of who got the stick and if any got the carrot!

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