From Our Special Correspondent
Dajiworld News Network - Panaji
Panaji, Feb 10: The entire election of Goa Legislative Assembly has raised question marks on the fate of chief minister Laxmikant Parsekar. Even if his party comes into power again, the possibility of he continuing in the chair looks bleak. In an exclusive chat with Daijiworld, Parsekar spoke about the current scenario and answered some tough questions.
Q. How much of your role has been curtailed under these circumstances when elections are held and we are waiting for the results?
A. When future of the government has been sealed it is not advisable on my part to take any policy decision. But when I came to the office I was encountered with the heap load of files. I had instructed that the director and secretary should clear the files at their level and filter the number of files forwarded to me for clearance but in spite of that, over a period of three weeks, large number of files have been dumped in my office.
Q. What about financial decisions?
A. The salary has been deposited to the government servants. We have paid as per the seventh pay commission recommendations. All the pensions and social welfare schemes are getting released as per the schedule. We have barred only new sanctions for this month till new government is in place.
Q. Do you think it would be a difficult task for the new CM to present the budget as he hardly gets any time after the counting on March 11?
A. The administration is going on. They are already on the task of framing budget. It is not a big challenge. I have seen two times. New CM can present the budget during the last week. He will get 15 days for it.
Q. Is it true that we are walking towards a debt trap?
A. The borrowings which we have done are not wasted on any unwanted expenditure, we have invested them on infrastructure. We have given state of the art infrastructure which was required for the state. If we had to wait for another five years, the cost on this infrastructure would have been doubled or tripled. We have borrowed within permissible limits. We had loaned amount for educational schemes from NABARD at eleven per cent interest rate, that have been reduced to 5.5 percent.
Q. If you don’t discontinue, will it be difficult for the new CM to handle affairs of the state?
A. I don’t think so. Even when I was new, I was thinking it was challenging. When I took over the payments of social welfare schemes were lagging behind by two to three months. People were thinking that I would close down the schemes after Manohar Parrikar was elevated to union cabinet.
Q. Do you think the new CM would be able to handle the things which you had started?
A. I don’t think such a time will come (which means he will continue as the CM). I am confident about it.
Q. Does Parrikar’s rumoured return to the state stress you?
A. Not at all. I have handled responsibly all the assignments given to me by the party. If I am not given responsibility as CM, then I would be in a position to give next five years to my institution (educational institution that he runs in his constituency). When I am CM, I am not able to give justice to my educational institution. I will feel that all happens for the best.
Q. Is there a possibility of dissolution of assembly before counting?
A. That is not required. The elections are over and we are waiting for counting. The question of dissolution does not arise. Government continues to function. The cabinet also continues but we are not holding any meetings as we cannot take policy decisions.
(As per Article 174 of the Indian Constitution, the state Legislative Assembly should meet at least once every six months, failing which the governor may dissolve the Legislative Assembly. For Goa, it was due before February 26 as the last assembly session was held on August 26. The governor could not summon the session as the Election Model Code of Conduct is in place).
Q. What about the relaxations of code of conduct?
A. We have not written to the election commission but I feel in the next couple of days the restrictions under code of conduct should be relaxed. The EC should understand it that if we continue the code then we again will have similar code for upcoming panchayat elections.