Thursday 08 Dec 2022

Pramod Sawant & Co fail the 'triple test'


THE GOAN NETWORK | JUNE 30, 2022, 11:52 PM IST

The Bombay High Court has passed its verdict: the Goa government has failed the triple test. 

Panchayat elections in the State of Goa are now slated to be held in early August after the High Court rejected a pretty feeble stance of the Goa government to defer the panchayat elections because of the monsoon. It also rejected the government's plea to give it an additional time since the upcoming monsoon session of the Goa legislature will keep most of the official machinery engaged.

Analysts are wondering, meanwhile, why the State government shied away from seeking time to meet the requirements of the Supreme Court prescribed 'triple test' if reservations are to be made for the Other Backwards Class (OBC) category. 

Wasn't it, the need to meet this Supreme Court's 'triple test' requirement for OBC reservation requirement, the reason cited by Chief Minister Pramod Sawant, Panchayat Minister Mauvin Godinho & Co, to defer the polls in the first phase? Why then was it not cited by Advocate General Devidas Pangam in the proceedings before the High Court?

'Deekane ke dant ek aur kaane ke alag hote hein!' 


The political upheaval in Maharashtra which began a week back injected a wave of excitement among our peers in the media for a brief six-seven hours eight days ago. It was a script almost every Goa journalist with years under his/her belt has been familiar with. 

The excitement, however, got killed within hours when the destination of the rebel Shiv Sena camp led by Eknath Shinde was switched from Goa to Goa-hati. 

Several journos had been bubbling with excitement over the prospects of Shinde's swelling entourage of rebel Shiv Sena MLAs arriving at a five star resort in Goa, but it was not to be. A week later on Wednesday, however, it did, albeit several hours late.

Goa's journos were again excited and some crews invaded the resort the rebels were destined to be hoarded in, only to be shooed away on instructions from the top.

With the battle for Mumbai landing in the Supreme Court, the script for the rebels entourage however changed and instead of arriving in Goa around noon on Wednesday they were brought in late into the night.

For the journos, meanwhile, much of the fizz was lost by the time the Shinde camp arrived, as by then, Uddhav Thackeray had already thrown in the towel and quit, robbing the MLA hoarding exercise in the Goa hotel of its news value potential and the scene has quickly shifted to Mumbai, reducing Goa to just an insignificant stopover.

U-turn on pastor Domnic's tax exemption

Chief Minister Pramod Sawant is often accused of attempting to wipe out the legacy of his mentor and predecessor the late Manohar Parrikar. But as much as you may try, certain traits and mannerisms you imbibe from mentors, are hard to shed. In this case, it is the penchant for U-turns, it seems.

The government of Sawant, who in his second innings in the CM's chair post the February 2022 assembly elections taken to vociferously orchestrating his party's Hindutva narrative, has reversed the decision of then Laxmikant Parsekar government to grant exemption of road tax for a luxury Mercedes Benz car of the controversial Siolim-based pastor Domnic D'Souza. 

Domnic was recently embroiled in an unusually aggressive anti-religious coversion intervention by the government which has however found no favour with the courts. He has now been asked to pay up some Rs 3-lakh odd rupees.

The Sawant government's U-turn on Domnic's Road Tax exemption, meanwhile, may force yet another U-turn by a member of the cabinet -- Ramkrishna (Sudin) Dhavlikar. A staunch supporter of the militant right-wing outfit Sanathan Saunsta, Dhavlikar's pro-Hindutva credentials kept swaying dependent on which side of the political spectrum was in power. But he was the transport minister and his accolyte in the bureaucracy Arun Desai the transport director, when the exemption was granted to Domnic, inexplicably at a time when the BJP itself was in power in 2015.

Quite a precarious U-Turn. Dhavlikar may have to take to explain the logic of the exemption.

Fotashi ignites sparks, power disconnected

Last week we had chronicled a titbit on how our electricity department differentiates between a common man and a VIP. In this case the VIP was none other than the beleaguered builder Venkatesh Prabhu Moni who inspite of getting an electricity bill of around Rs 4 lakh accumulated over nine months was leaving a blissful life with no fear of facing power disconnection.

And, last month when a power department official did muster courage to attempt disconnection and seize the builder’s electricity meter, he got a call in the nick of time, to refrain from the punitive measure.

However, what came as a surprise, even to us, is that the moment we flashed the juicy titbit in Fotashi, the whole machinery got in top gear and the very next day the builder’s power supply was disconnected.

You must be wondering what the poor V P Moni was doing in his palatial bungalow at Salvador do Mundo without power, right? Worry not. Prabhu Moni immediately kick started his generator and voila, power was restored to ‘Prabhu’s Palace’.

(Compiled by Ashley do Rosario with inputs from Agnelo Pereira)

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