Panaji: Hundreds of people, including some Congress leaders, on Tuesday evening marched to the private residence of ailing Goa Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar, demanding his resignation, and a “full-time” CM in his place. The people, who came together under the banner of ‘People’s March For Restoration of Governance’, marched for about 1 km, and gave an “ultimatum” of 48 hours to Parrikar to step down as chief minister.
Apart from the Congress, other political parties including NCP and Shiv Sena also extended support to the protest march, which was initiated by social activists and NGOs. The protesters demanded Parrikar step down as the chief minister as he has been unwell. They said the governance in the state had suffered as Parrikar was ill and remained hospitalised for more than nine months. The police stopped the protest march 100 metres from the chief minister’s private residence. Talking to reporters, Deputy Collector Shashank Tripathy said the chief minister refused to meet the protesters due to his ill-health.
On behalf of the protesters, Aires Rodrigues, social activist and the leader of the protest march, gave an “ultimatum” of 48 hours to Parrikar to step down. “We need a full-time CM. For the last nine months, the state administration has collapsed. The CM is not meeting his own ministers and MLAs,” Rodrigues said. He said the people who marched to the CM’s residence had also come to check on his health condition. Rodrigues warned of launching a statewide agitation in case Parrikar does not step down within 48 hours. Congress leaders, including the party’s Goa unit chief Girish Chodankar, Leader of Opposition Chandrakant Kavlekar, MLAs Digambar Kamat, Aleixo Reginaldo Lourenco, Antonio Fernandes, Francis Silveira took part in the march.
The Goa unit chief of Shiv Sena Jitesh Kamat said, “The people of the state are praying for the speedy recovery of the CM, but that does not mean he should continue to put the state administration on hold.” The BJP’s South Goa Lok Sabha MP Narendra Sawaikar took to Twitter to express displeasure and claimed some people were taking “pride” in demanding the resignation of a man who had “worked tirelessly to improve and raise life and education standards of Goans”.
“A statesman, person of integrity, 1st Goan to be a @DefenceMinIndia, envisioned and successfully executed infra projects, worked tirelessly to improve and raise life and education standards of Goans. As he is fighting his battle for life, some take pride in demanding his resignation,” Sawaikar tweeted. Parrikar, 62, has been recuperating at his private residence since October 14 when he was discharged from All India Institute of Medical Sciences, New Delhi. Health Minister Vishwajit Rane had earlier said Parrikar was suffering from pancreatic cancer.