Deputy speaker Michael Lobo on Friday came down heavily on his own government and said there was a complete breakdown of governance in the state in the absence of chief minister Manohar Parrikar, who is undergoing treatment for a pancreatic ailment at AIIMS in Delhi, reports the Times of India.
Lobo, who represents Calangute in the 40-member assembly, said if Parrikar’s health did not permit him to function, then he should hand over the responsibility of key decision making to someone else as “people are very disturbed due to unemployment”.
“We are praying very hard. People of Goa are praying very hard, so that he gets cured of his sickness. But till today, there is no positivity that he is coming out,” he told reporters.
Lobo said he was hoping that the chief minister, who is admitted to AIIMS, will be able to hear his voice through the media. “I hope my voice goes to his ears, and he clears the jobs quickly because the youth of Goa are waiting to apply for jobs,” he said.
Lobo also warned his own party, BJP, that they shouldn’t be complacent and if assembly elections are held, people would against the party.
“We MLAs are taking people for granted. I am not saying the chief minister should be replaced, but people want solutions,” he said.
“This government was formed with allies. Now, the allies are wondering what is going on, because they are also answerable to the people,” Lobo said.
His main grouse was lack of employment opportunities in the state and the failure to even fill up 3,000 government post that are currently vacant.
“Two years ago, in October 2016, the then chief minister Laxmikant Parsekar stopped all recruitment for government jobs. Currently, there are 3,000 vacancies in various government departments, with the highest number of vacancies in the police department. The recruitment process has stopped because the chief minister is sitting on the files. For the past six months, he is in hospital. If he cannot do it, he should hand over the responsibility of recruiting people for government jobs to someone else,” Lobo said.
In a two-page ‘urgent note’ sent to Parrikar, Lobo has pointed to his budget speech of 2017 where he promised Goan youth that jobs would be created and vacant posts of LDCs, UDCs, data entry operators, peons, drivers, accountants, teachers, police department staff and at various other government departments would be filled up.
“It is pertinent to note that there are almost 3,000 vacant posts in various government departments and for the last one and a half years the unemployed youth of Goa are anxiously waiting to get these government jobs,” he said in the note.
“At present, the people of Goa are very disturbed due to this unemployment problem in Goa. Therefore, I kindly request your good selves to kindly look into this serious issue and appoint a minister in charge at the earliest,” he wrote.
Lobo said the government was directionless. “It is moving in the wrong direction and needs to correct its course. From the way the government is going, there will be fresh assembly elections along with the Lok Sabha elections in 2019,” he told reporters.
The deputy speaker said there was complete gloom due to unemployment in the mining belt. “There is no sign of mining restarting. Our BJP government is here in Goa and also in Delhi. We are saying a notification facilitating the resumption of mining will come, but it has not come,” he said.
“When there are vacancies, why are the jobs not being given?” he asked.
Lobo’s outburst comes less than two weeks after two ailing ministers Francis D’Souza and Pandurang Madkaikar were replaced by the chief minister with Milind Naik and Nilesh Cabral. After a week of speculation over change in chief ministership, the BJP central leadership decided to continue with ailing Parrikar as the chief minister but effected a minor cabinet reshuffle.
Parrikar, who has around 24 portfolios including home and finance, is likely to reallocate portfolios after October 9 when the inauspicious period of Pitru Paksh ends, reports Times of India.
According to a Herald report, slamming his own party, which is governing at the State and Centre, the Deputy Speaker said he is ready to resign as mark of protest in support of the mining dependents, who are demanding resumption of iron ore activities in the State
Addressing the Goa Mining People’s Front (GMPF) agitation at Azad Maidan on Friday, Lobo, expressed his complete displeasure over the manner in which the State and Centre have handled the mining issue, and said, “Our sitting MPs, Shripad Naik and Narendra Sawaikar, have no right to fill the form for the forthcoming Lok Sabha elections. We cannot blame anybody as in both the places our party is ruling. We cannot blame Congress or anyone else. It is BJP government who is to be blamed,” reports the Herald.
The Calangute MLA added, “I am with the people. It pains me to see them crying and we are not able to do anything for them. I am ready to resign as mark of protest if people want me to do so.”
Lobo said that it is painful that despite BJP ruling both at the State and Centre, they are not able to solve the mining issue. “We MLAs and MPs are elected to protect people and their livelihood and ensure safe future to our voters. If we can’t do this, then we have no right,” he stated.
“If our MPs can’t solve mining issue, than why does Goa need to be represented in Delhi? If you cannot solve the problem, than we don’t want you…why are you needed?” he asked.
“What was the mistake of the people? That they elected us with a thumping majority at the Centre. They were looking at us for good governance, stable government, and a government that will work for the people and protect their livelihood,” the deputy speaker stated.
Further lashing out at MPs, who were present at the agitation, Lobo said, “As a sincere worker of BJP for last 11 years, I say these people have no right to fill the form again. People of Goa will show you, your place. They will show you soon.”
He further slammed the BJP leaders stating ‘their personal political works by meeting Amit Shah are done much faster than any other issue”.
Lobo, whose words were highly appreciated by the mining dependents, said that the voice for resumption of mining needs to reach AIIMS in Delhi, where the Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar is currently admitted.
According to a Navhind Times report, Lobo met Manohar Parrikar at the All India Institute of Medical Sciences on Sunday, after being summoned to Delhi by the ailing CM.
Asking Lobo to stand by him, Parrikar during this meeting advised Lobo to maintain restraint and have a little patience before all his issues, including advertising available government jobs, are tackled.
“Today, during my meeting with the Chief Minister, he told me to spare him some time since he is recuperating, and assured that he will do the needful about the employment issue soon,” Lobo added, pointing out that he had gone to meet Parrikar after being told telephonically to do so by Parrikar himself, reports Navhind Times.