Panaji, Dec 13 : Deputy Speaker, Goa Legislative Assembly and BJP MLA Michael Lobo on Thursday said if he is given the opportunity to become the Chief Minister, he would take all stakeholders into confidence before taking decisions which impact state economy, unlike incumbent Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar.
Lobo also told reporters here that Parrikar, who is currently ailing with advanced pancreatic cancer, had taken a unilateral decision to suspend mining leases in 2012 which led to a prolonged impasse in the sector and two Supreme Court bans on all ore excavation and transportation in the coastal state.
“If I am given an opportunity in the near future to become Chief Minister, I will ensure that major decisions will be made after taking stakeholders into confidence. In 2012, when Parrikar suspended mining, none of us knew such a decision would be taken and see what damage it has caused to Goa,” Lobo said.
His comment comes at a time when a group of mining dependents are protesting at Delhi’s Ramlila grounds, demanding resumption of mining which was banned — for the second time in the last six years — by the Supreme Court in February, while singling out the state government for irregularities in renewal of mining leases.
Lobo’s criticism of Parrikar comes on the ailing Chief Minister’s 63rd birthday, which is being celebrated by the state BJP in the absence of the former Defence Minister, who has not moved out of his private residence for official chores since October 14.
Lobo also said that while Parrikar is his “political guru”, the BJP leader as a Chief Minister has failed to sufficiently address key issues like employment, lack of which he said was creating a crisis of sorts among the youth of Goa.
This is not the first time that a ruling legislator has criticised the functioning of the chief minister and his reluctance to quit the chief ministerial post on account of his prolonged illness.
State president of the Maharashtrawadi Gomantak Party Deepak Dhavalikar, whose outfit is a part of the ruling BJP-led coalition, has demanded that Parrikar step down and hand over charge to a senior minister because his absence from office has “brought state administration to a halt”.
Parrikar is suffering from advanced pancreatic cancer and has been in and out of hospitals in Goa, Mumbai, New York and Delhi for nearly nine months.
He returned from New Delhi’s All India Institute of Medical Sciences on October 14 and since then has not moved out of his private residence for any official event.
The Opposition and ruling coalition allies have been demanding for the resignation of the Chief Minister, claiming that the administration has come to a standstill due to Parrikar’s absence.
Parrikar has been MLA of Panaji since 1994. In 2014, he vacated the seat after he was elevated as Defence Minister. He won the seat again after he returned to state politics in 2017.