Connect with us


Defence Minister Parrikar faces proxy battle in Panaji



Panaji, Jan 11 (IANS)

While the Indian army fights a proxy war on the country’s borders, Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar now faces a shadow war on his home turf, the Panaji assembly seat, when Goa votes on February 4.

Taking on the BJP is Parrikar’s political guru, former state RSS chief Subhash Velingkar, who earlier unveiled his electoral weapon — one that is expected to give Parrikar a substantial niggle in the run-up to the election where the BJP is desperately fighting to hold on to power.

The Goa Suraksha Manch (GSM), a Velingkar-backed outfit, named modest city businessman Krishnaraj alias Raju Sukerkar, known as one of Parrikar’s closest friends and aides, as its candidate for the Panaji seat.

The Sukerkar residence — Sukerkar Mansion in the heart of Panaji — is one address Parrikar has regularly frequented in all his political avatars, as MLA, as opposition leader, as Chief Minister and now as Defence Minister, where witnesses say, ‘Raju’ and he often chat over the latter’s favoured snack of phulka (light oil-less roti) and black tea.

Sukerkar does not deny his friendship with Parrikar but adds that he is contesting the Panaji seat against Parrikar’s nominee and outgoing MLA Sidharth Kuncolienkar on the instructions of his guide and guru Velingkar, and as a matter of principle.

“We have a friendship, but friendship, ideology and politics are three different sections which should not get mixed up… GSM is 110 per cent convinced that whatever I do is sincere,” Surkerkar told IANS, shortly after his candidature was announced.

Asked about his chances of winning, he said: “However experienced one is, in politics an election is an election. Until counting day, it is tough for everyone. Judging by the reactions of the people and the support of the people, my victory appears certain.”

Apart from his friendship with Parrikar, Sukerkar was also involved in a big-ticket land transaction with Parrikar’s son Abhijat some years back.

Sukerkar’s willingness as a Swayamsevak to take on a friend of decades in Parrikar, who represented the Panaji seat from 1994 to 2014, is only an indication of how complex the coming election is expected to be.

About 10 political parties and a ost of independents are expected to field candidates for the 40 seats.

With the Congress staving off the fledging Aam Aadmi Party from gnawing away at its minority vote bank, with the regional parties — the Maharashtrawadi Gomantak Party (MGP), the Goa Vikas Party, the Goa Suraj Party and sundry others weaving and bobbing about, and with the once-confident BJP now having to scramble to keep the Hindu vote intact, the campaign and the electoral contest is expected to be a nail-biting one.

On Tuesday, the contest for the BJP just got a lot tougher, with the GSM, MGP and Shiv Sena launching a pre-poll alliance, with Velingkar as its convener. It will contest 37 seats.

Of particular interest is the battle between Velingkar, who is regarded by both his fans in the Sangh and now foes in the BJP as Bhishma Pitamaha of Goan politics, and his most celebrated pupil and master-strategist, Parrikar.

After mentoring dozens of top state BJP leaders, including Chief Minister Laxmikant Parsekar, Union Minister of State for AYUSH Shripad Naik, over three decades, Velingkar is a man on a mission to defeat the BJP in these elections.

He has been co-convener of a pro-regional languages front, which has been critical of the state BJP, and Parrikar in particular, for their alleged betrayal of regional languages over English as a medium of instruction in Goa’s primary schools.

The campaign resulted in his sacking as Goa Sangha Chalak and from the managing board of RSS-run schools in the state.

With the introduction of Sukerkar as Velingkar’s man against Parrikar’s hand-picked candidate in Kuncolienkar, the former RSS man may have just turned Parrikar’s political backyard into a mine-field of sorts where the Defence Minister may have to tread carefully.

The BJP for now appears to be taking Velingkar’s move in the right spirit. Asked to react to Sukerkar’s candidature in Panaji, BJP spokesperson Premanand Mahambrey said: “All is fair in love and war.”

The result will be known on March 11.

By Mayabhushan Nagvenkar 

(Mayabhushan Nagvenkar can be contacted at [email protected])


Congress disagrees with Salman Khurshid’s remarks



New Delhi, April 24: The Congress on Tuesday disagreed with “Muslims Blood” remark of Salman Khurshid in toto.

Addressing a press conference, party leader PL Punia said: “Congress disagrees with the statement of Salman Khurshid in toto”.

“Everyone must know that both prior and post-independence Congress is the only party which has worked towards building an egalitarian society by carrying all sections of ppl together as also religious and ethnic minorities”, he added.

Responding to a question at an event organized in Aligarh Muslim University (AMU) on Monday, Khurshid had said, “I am a part of Congress so let me accept that we have the blood of Muslims on our hands. I am telling you this; we are ready to show the blood on our hands so that you understand that you too must not get blood on your hands.”


Continue Reading


Tejashwi Yadav slams NITI Aayog chief over Bihar remark



Tejashwi Yadav

Patna, April 24: Bihar opposition leader Tejashwi Yadav on Tuesday slammed NITI Aayog CEO Amitabh Kant’s statement blaming the state for India’s backwardness, saying the remark has exposed the mindset of “babus” in the Modi-led government.

“Bihar and Bihari’s pay equal taxes, contribute equally or more in govrnance and nation building. Bihar gave 33 MPs to NDA, seven Union Ministers from Bihar, both State and Centre governments are of same party and alliance. But still these Babus say Bihar is backward…” the former Deputy Chief Minister tweeted.

Tejashwi Yadav, who is the younger son of RJD chief Lalu Prasad, said that if Bihar was backward especially on social indicators as claimed by then NITI Aayog, then Prime Minister Narendra Modi should grant a special category status to the state for its development.

“Modi has failed to grant special category status or special packages promised by him. Four years have passed, but nothing has happened so far, except ‘jumlas’ (hollow words),” he said.

Tejaswi Yadav said the people of Bihar had been betrayed by the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)-led central government.

While delivering the first Khan Abdul Gaffar Khan Memorial Lecture in Jamia Millia Islamia University, Kant said on Monday: “Eastern part of India particularly states like Bihar, UP, Chattisgarh, MP, and Rajasthan are keeping India backward especially on social indicators. While we have improved on ease of doing business, we have remained backward on human development index.”

Kant further said that India was still 131 out of 188 countries in the Human Development Index (HDI).


Continue Reading


Beti Bachao, BJP ke logon se bachao: Rahul Gandhi targets Modi at Save the Consitution rally



New Delhi, April 23: Congress president Rahul Gandhi on Monday hit out at Prime Minister Narendra Modi stating that earlier slogan was Beti Bachao, Beti Padhao. But Now, PM will say is ‘Beti Bachao, BJP ke logon se bachao’.

Addressing save the Constitution rally, Gandhi said: “In his book “Karmayog”, PM Modi justifies manual scavenging by calling it a “spiritual experience” for the Valmiki community. This speaks volumes about his anti-Dalit mindset.

“The Congress Party will stand together to protect the interests of Dalits and other weaker sections of the society wherever the BJP & RSS attacks them”, he added.

Gandhi further stated “we will never allow the BJP & RSS to destroy our Constitution. The people of India will speak their “Mann ki Baat” in 2019″.

“Our institutions were gifted to us by our Constitution. The Modi Govt is now destroying these institutions by appointing RSS ideologues to occupy important positions”.

Taking a jibe at the Prime Minister, the Congress leader said Narendra Modi is only interested in Narendra Modi. Electoral victory is his only focus.

The Congress on Monday launched “Save The Constitution campaign” at the Talkatora Stadium in the national capital.


Continue Reading

Most Popular