Politics Over Margao Carnival Parade
At a time when even the State Election Commission has taken a very lenient view of the Chief Minister and his cabinet colleagues flagging off Carnival parades from the platform of various Carnival committees in the state despite the model code of conduct having come into force for the Zilla Panchayat polls in March, it is indeed unfortunate that our legislators have not spared even traditional festivities from being drowned in a splash of political colours – to prove a point, that is! The political ‘Carniwar’ ahead of the Carnival fiesta in Margao, for instance! However, much before the Margao Carnival parade ‘floated’ towards Fatorda on Sunday, it had already been ascertained that the two cities would henceforth witness a bitter rivalry between some of its political leaders who by virtue of being residents of the commercial capital lay claims to being the final authorities on matters that ‘affect’ the region. While Vijai sardesai’s obsession for Fatorda as his personal fiefdom is well-known, it is his unbridled ambition to hold sway over the whole of Margao as well that has riled his critics. However, with the Margao Municipal Council pretty much under his thumb, it does appear that he has been more than successful in his designs. His bête noire and archrival Damu Naik though hasn’t been far behind when it comes to ‘desperately’ trying to make his voice heard in Fatorda. While the Margao MLA, as the leader of the Opposition in the House, has been commendably taking the BJP government head-on for various inconsistencies and irregularities observed, it has been his conspicuous silence over many a woes that afflict his constituency, and which demand his immediate attention, that has peeved the Madgaumcars. Meanwhile, although miles away from his constituency, it is apparent that the ‘Sultan of Gandhi Market’ and one of the present Deputy Chief Ministers in the state cabinet wants to ‘extend’ his influence over the commercial capital. Insisting that ‘the show must go on’, Manohar ‘Babu’ Ajgaonkar has time and again made light of various controversies he has been courting in his recent stint as the Tourism Minister. The commercial capital thus continues to play host to a number of political theatrics. Yet apart from garnering headlines for the inglorious power struggles among its leaders, Margao continues its pathetic existence.
PACHU MENON, MARGAO
Strengthening Indo-US Ties
The recent yet another high-profile visit of US President Donald Trump along with ‘Namaste Trump’ show ahead of the trade deal signing is welcome. However, such an extravagant show affecting the normal life of the common man amidst high-value spending was unnecessary. Customary visit to Sabarmati Ashram by every visiting dignitary is welcome while upholding the Gandhian values, which have inspired the nation. India and the United States of America should now focus on strengthening ties, especially through trade deals. India must emphasise the need to resolve the issue of H1B visa cap enforced on skilled professionals otherwise hampering the prospects of potential talent from India. As also, Indo-US talks should jointly work together on energy and defence issues and stand out of the crowd while clinching such an opportunity during this visit. A new US Consulate General office otherwise at Bengaluru is highly necessary and the talks must also include a proposal to open the new consulate for the benefit of visa applicants in the Silicon city and Karnataka domicile region otherwise.
VARUN DAMBAL, BANGALORE