Don’t bring small issues before central minister, Health Min insists
One would expect that at least in the presence of BJP National President J P Nadda, Chief Minister Pramod Sawant and Health Minister Vishwajit Rane would shed their differences and stick to the same script.
But differences between the two swashbuckling Maratha faces of the ruling BJP continued to surface at a party meeting held in Valpoi assembly constituency on Thursday.
While Chief Minister Pramod Sawant appeared keen on burying the hatchet with the Health Minister, Rane on the other hand -- he was speaking on his home turf -- said that whatever “small issues” which have lingered on, could be discussed in the absence of a national leader like Nadda.
Sawant told the audience at Valpoi that political parties were trying to create a wedge between Rane and him, adding that there were no differences between the two.
“On several occasions, many political parties do only one thing. They say there is a tussle between me and Vishwajit. It is true. People are doing this,” Sawant said.
“I am telling you there is no tussle between me and Vishwajit. We are one,” he further said.
Rane on the other hand said that a meeting chaired by Nadda was not the forum to discuss “small issues”. “I only urge the Chief Minister small issues we will discuss (with) the CM. When the national president is here, he should be confident that the constituency I go to, I will win both seats,” Rane also said.
Sawant and Rane, who share neighbouring assembly constituencies, have shared a ‘hiccupy’ political relationship with each other. And their neighbourly relationship has not been a steady one over the years.
The Sawant-Rane battle of egos spilt in the open over the setting up of a campus for the upcoming Indian Institute of Technology-Goa at Shel-Melaulim, a project which eventually had to be shelved following public pressure.
Sawant’s stormy relationship with Rane also placed Goa in the national hall of shame over the oxygen shortage issue.
Rane’s outburst against the state administration during an interview with an international news channel during the Covid spike badly hurt Sawant’s image as an administrator.
Sawant and Rane clashed once again with regards to a mysterious policy of the Health Ministry to recommend ivermectin tablets worth crores of rupees -- and advocating the use of the drug for prophylactic treatment -- was eventually never fully endorsed by Sawant.
The Union Health and Family Welfare Ministry subsequently decided to drop the drug altogether from its official roster of medicines for Covid treatment, leading to the scrapping of the drug from the state’s Covid prophylactic protocol.