On a day when Union Home Minister Amit Shah arrived in Goa and was expected to meet BJP workers and MLAs to fine tune the preparation for forthcoming assembly polls, two senior politicians of BJP were involved in a war of words in what appears to be a battle for supremacy in Siolim constituency.
The point of contention was the right to inaugurate harvester machines meant for the farmers of Siolim.
While Ports Minister, Michael Lobo maintained that only an elected representative had a right to inaugurate the machines which is a service provided by the government, former minister Dayanand Mandrekar wondered aloud why an ‘outsider’ was getting involved in his constituency.
Both accused each other of indulging in dadagiri.
While Lobo had done all the spade work of getting the harvester machines and even chalked out the inauguration programme the previous day, Mandrekar and a group of his karyakartas walked out early morning the next day (on Thursday) and inaugurated the harvesting machines.
The former minister accused Lobo’s driver of indulging in dadagiri and refusing the farmers from using the harvester machines.
“Several people have contested from Siolim in the past. But we never witnessed so much dadagiri in the constituency. I had inaugurated the machine but this driver who is an outsider has been dissuading our people from using the machines,” Mandrekar said.
Not to be cowed down by the sudden turn of events, Lobo later called for another harvester machine and inaugurated it in the presence of his sarpanch wife Delilah Lobo in Assagao.
Without naming the former minister, Lobo said he had taken the trouble to bring the machines but someone used his “power” and “influence” and indulged in “dadagiri” to inaugurate the machines.
“We will not indulge in dadagiri. We will not retaliate. In the last 20 years no one had come forward to help the farmers of Siolim. I am happy that our efforts have alerted someone to provide free harvester machines to farmers,” he said.
He said some toughies engaged by the former minister confiscated the mobiles and keys of the vehicles belonging to the drivers of the harvester machines.
“They claim they have the power and the police are with them. Such dadagiri should not be tolerated especially when our government is in power. I think this is not right and the chief minister should look into the matter,” Lobo said.
He further said that these were desperate attempts to win over the electorate as elections were approaching.
Lobo has already said that his wife Delilah Lobo will contest from Siolim in 2022 assembly polls and both have hit the ground meeting people and organising events in the constituency.