BY RAMNATH N PAI RAIKAR | NT
PANAJI: Coming out with his plan to decentralise the entire functioning of his government, Chief Minister Laxmikant Parsekar on Tuesday said that he, in the capacity of the state Chief Minister, would be projected as the new face of the state unit of the Bharatiya Janata Party.
In an exclusive chat with ‘The Navhind Times,’ the Chief Minister, who assumed his office at the Secretariat Tuesday morning, said that his team of ministers is the general face of the BJP in Goa. “However, if the party is required to have a single face, then obviously as the state Chief Minister, I would be the face of the party here,” he maintained.
It may be recalled that the departure of Manohar Parrikar to New Delhi to join the central council of ministers as the Union Defence Minister had left the Goa BJP faceless. Parsekar also indicated that his face would be projected as the face of the state BJP unit, at the forthcoming 2017 state assembly elections.
Speaking further, the newly-appointed Chief Minister said that the immediate challenge before him is unemployment in the state, and creation of jobs would be his priority. “However, I cannot assure government jobs for everyone as it is virtually impossible to do so, and now youngsters in Goa have to look beyond government jobs,” he said, noting that apart from boosting self-employment, creation of jobs would be his priority, and private sector jobs in fields such as pharmaceuticals, information technology, electronics and tourism would be ensured for Goan youth, in the future.
Maintaining that his comparison with former chief minister Manohar Parrikar would be unjust, Parsekar said that he, however, would follow the same path over which Parrikar led the state government, and is looking for blending his own vision with Parrikar’s legacy. “My government would go for clean administration, overall development of the state and implementation of the social schemes,” he noted, urging the people to give him at least some time, so as to prove himself.
When questioned about the cabinet expansion and allocation of portfolios to his cabinet colleagues, the Chief Minister said that he will expand his cabinet and allocate portfolios to his ministers later this week, after consulting Parrikar during his Goa visit on November 12.
Stating that he would retain majority of portfolios, which were with his predecessor, Parsekar said that all the portfolios, which are crucial for functioning of the Chief Minister will be retained by him. “However, I would not keep as many portfolios as my predecessor,” the Chief Minister said, further opining, “If my burden is lessened, it is good.” He further pointed out that he would decentralise the entire functioning of the government.
“I will not interfere in the functioning of the ministries of my cabinet colleagues,” the Chief Minister assured, mentioning that each of his minister will have the right to function the way he or she wants. “I will be just guiding them,” he said, indicating departure from the Parrikar style of functioning.
Parsekar also said that one of his most cherished moments came last weekend during the visit to Delhi when he met ailing former prime minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee and touched his feet. “Special arrangements were made so that I could meet Atalji at his home,” the Chief Minister added, stating that no one is allowed to see Atalji because of his illness, “but I told them that I have been recently sworn in and, therefore, it is my wish to have his darshan (glimpse) and touch his feet.” “They allowed me to offer my respects and touch his feet, and now I feel honoured,” he said.