Goa in 2018: Manohar Parrikar’s illness was most-discussed topic in state politics

By: | Published: December 21, 2018 4:14 PM

Goa Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar's health remained the most-talked about development in the state political circles during the year drawing to a close.

In 2017, Parrikar, then defence minister, returned to the state and was seen as the glue holding BJPs alliance together in Goa. (Twitter)

Goa Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar’s health remained the most-talked about development in the state political circles during the year drawing to a close. The opposition Congress kept demanding that Parrikar, 63, step down from the post due to his ‘deteriorating health’. Parrikar is recuperating at his private residence at Dona Paula since October 14, after being discharged from the All India Institute of Medical Sciences in New Delhi.

State-run Goa Medical College and Hospital has set up a make-shift Intensive Care Unit (ICU) for him at his residence where he is being treated, an official said. In 2017, Parrikar, then defence minister, returned to the state and was seen as the glue holding BJPs alliance together in Goa. Two of the BJPs allies including MGP had made their joining the alliance in 2017 conditional to Parrikar leading the government. With no clear second rung leadership in Goa, the BJP is grappling with options even as Parrikar continues to grapple with his illness.

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From February onwards, Parrikar has been shifting from one Hospital to another to treat his ailment, which health minister Vishwajit Rane said is pancreatic cancer. From Lilavati Hospital in Mumbai to a private facility in the USA and then to AIIMS, Parrikar has been holding charge from the hospital bed, for over eight months now. This has given ammunition to opposition parties who have been staking claim to form the new government in the coastal state.

Congress has told Goa Governor Mridula Sinha that given a chance, it is in a position to form the government.

The year also saw Urban Development Minister Francis DSouza and Power Minister Pandurang Madkaikar suffering serious illness. While DSouza was treated in a hospital in the USA, Madkaikar has been out of bounds since June after suffering brain stroke in Mumbai. Parrikar dropped both the ministers, replacing them with two new faces.

The BJP also managed to cut down the size of Congress Legislature Party in the Assembly when Shiroda MLA Subhash Shirodkar and Mandrem MLA Dayanand Sopte resigned from the House. Both have since joined the BJP.

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The state continued witnessing protests due to closure of mining industry after the Supreme Court quashed 88 mining leases. The mining industry dependents, under the banner of Goa Mining Peoples Front, protested in the state and also went to Delhis Ram Leela Maidan and Jantar Mantar to impress upon the Central government to amend mining law which will ensure that the iron ore business resumes.

During the year, the Goa Forward Party and MGP, both alliance partners of BJP in the state, were seen gaining political weightage. Both the parties remained with the BJP, despite demand for leadership change in Goa.

The state government could not implement some of its ambitious announcements like ban on drinking liquor on the beaches or public places. Goa’s plan to have its tourism policy is also moving at a snails pace.

In cases of ‘hooliganism’ by police, a fan of FC Goa Sports Club was beaten up after an ISL match at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium, Fatorda. There were more cases of assault by police, prompting Director General of Police Muktesh Chandar to ask police personnel to rectify their behaviour. Electronic Dance Music (EDM) festivals like Sunburn and Supersonic haven’t returned to Goa. Same is the case with Timeout72, a multi-genre music festival, which after its maiden appearance in the state, did not turn up again this year.

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