Panaji: The shadow of Manohar Parrikar loomed large over the final public meeting of the Bharatiya Janata Party’s electoral campaign, for the May 19 Panaji bypoll, as Union Minister for Road Transport and Highway Nitin Gadkari made an emotional appeal to the city voters to vote for Sidharth Kunkalienkar, a true successor to Parrikar, so that he could strengthen the state BJP government and further take ahead Parrikar’s vision for the capital city.
“Goa gave a visionary leader to the country in the form of Parrikar, but he immensely loved Goa,” Gadkari said, recalling, “When Parrikar was asked to vacate the post of defence minister and return to Goa as the chief minister, he maintained that if the foundation of BJP in Goa remained strong, then only his position as a defence minister would have some meaning.”
“Now the time has come to complete the dream of Parrikar as regards making Panaji a world-class smart city, by maintaining its character and ethos, and Sidharth will ensure completion of this dream,” Gadkari noted, while cautioning that if, for any reason, the present state government is forced to go then Goa will suffer immensely in terms of its stability. He also indicated that the future political journey of Pramod Sawant as a Chief Minister would not be so easy, as the Goan legislators lead the country in defections.
Gadkari, who was addressing a public meeting at the Boca da Vaca ward in the city Thursday evening, also retorted that the Congress party has found a ‘Man with all qualities’ as its candidate for the Panaji bypoll, which in turn, displays the expertise of Congress in selectivity. He also snapped that Parrikar and not Sudin Dhavalikar as per his claim, was responsible for getting all clearances from the Centre, for Goa’s infrastructural works funded by the Union government.
The Union minister, further speaking about another candidate for the city by-election, Subhash Velingkar stated that Velingkar, who once shared the ideology of the BJP, is now sadly aiming towards dividing the BJP votes so as to make Congress candidate victorious in the city.
“I knew Velingkar as a fine worker and have great respect for him,” he admitted, pointing out that it is very unfortunate to see Velingkar now contesting to defeat a candidate, instead of racing for his own win.
Chief Minister Pramod Sawant, speaking on the occasion, said that the BJP government in Goa would not only complete its remaining three-year tenure, but also get re-elected for next five-year term. He further appealed to Panaji voters not to worry about jobs as the government is already working on the objective of generating employment at the government level as well as in the private sector.
Sawant also informed that the state has an infrastructural plan, which is being implemented for infrastructure for the next 20 years.
The Chief Minister further observed that the Congress candidate for Panaji bypoll has almost all crimes under the Indian Penal Code including smuggling, money laundering, rape and half-murder registered in his name. He further assured that the people would soon know where the victim girl involved in the alleged rape case linked to the Congress candidate, is being hidden.
Kunkalienkar, in his speech said that the city election should be seen as a tribute to Manohar Parrikar. “If erroneously I have committed any mistakes in the past, then I appeal to you all voters to forgive me and forget the same,” he urged, requesting the voters to help him in fulfilling the objective of garnering 10,000 plus votes.
North Goa Member of Parliament Shripad Naik stated that the development of Panaji, which had taken place during the regime of Manohar Parrikar, is there for everyone to see. “The infrastructure for the International Film Festival of India including the multiplex, Dr Shyama Prasad Mukherjee Stadium, Atal Setu, widening of roads in the city, construction of Kadamba Road, the Economic Development Complex at Patto, Miramar to Dona Paula road, new city municipal market are all living examples of his work for the capital city,” he added,
State BJP president Vinay Tendulkar, South Goa Member of Parliament Narendra Sawaikar, Minister for Health Vishwajit Rane, Minister for Panchayati Raj Mauvin Godinho, Minister for Urban Development Milind Naik, Minister for Public Works Deepak Pauskar and BJP-supported councillors of the Corporation of the City of Panaji were present on the dais.