Goa CM wins ‘Round One’ with firm decisions over casinos, app-based taxis

Pramod Sawant

Panjim (Goa): On the backdrop of restoration efforts carried out by various government bodies in the rain-affected parts of Goa, the 20-day long Monsoon Session of the Goa State Legislative Assembly ended on Friday. Literally put, the Monsoon session of Goa Assembly ended on a “high”.

This Assembly Session held special significance not just because of the Budgetary demands been passed and several resolutions moved, but also because it was the first one for the Chief Minister Dr. Pramod Sawant after taking over the charge of the State after the demise of former Chief Minister late Manohar Parrikar. So also for the Speaker, Rajesh Patnekar as well as Deputy Speaker, Isidore Fernandes who took charge from Dr. Pramod Sawant and Michael Lobo respectively.

The State Assembly also witnessed to the appointment of a new Leader of Opposition in the form of former Chief Minister, Digambar Kamat. The post had unexpectedly got vacant, few days prior to the commencement of the Assembly Session after the then Leader of Opposition from the Congress Party, Chandrakant (Babu) Kavlekar walked into Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) fold taking along nine Congress MLAs. It reduced the strength of the Congress Party to mere five MLAS, which included four former Chief Ministers Pratapsingh Rane, Luizinho Faleiro, Ravi Naik and Digambar Kamat. The odd man out was Aleixo Reginaldo Lourenco, the youngest and one of the most vocal MLAs during the just concluded Assembly Session.

Besides focusing on passing of the State budget for the year 2019-20, issues such as Coastal Zone Management Plan, app-based taxi service, mining, drugs, unemployment, garbage dump and casinos were some of the major issues that brought the entire House on discussion platform.

The State’s and in particular the Chief Minster’s firm assurance to the House that the app based taxi service ‘GoaMiles’ will not be scrapped at any cost brought him loads of accolades from the people within as well as outside the state. The House was also witness to an important decision taken by the State with regard to Casinos. Wherein the Chief Minister announced that in coming days the he would ensure that the locals are barred from entering into the Casinos, be it on shore or off shore.

After the BJP cut off its ties with the Goa Forward Party (GFP), dropping three of its MLAs from the Cabinet including the GFP president Vijay Sardesai, who held Deputy Chief Minster’s post along with Vinod Paliencar and Jayesh Salgaonkar. Congress was expecting that they would get enough support from these three to take upon the government during the Assembly Session. However, surprisingly, it was only an Independent MLA and former Revenue Minister, Rohan Khaute who was also dropped along with these three, kept the check on the government’s policy decisions on the floor of the House supporting Congress from time to time.

As of now, Dr. Pramod Sawant lead BJP government in Goa seems to have won the peoples heart with its assurances on the floor of the House. Only time will tell how many of these assurances turn into reality as the battle seems to far from over for the Chief Minister and his team of fresh imports from Congress.

(Edited by Prashant Hamine and written by Sumeet Naik)