“Manohar Parrikar is a tall leader from Goa, who has reached Defence Minister’s position. He is the CM of the state and he is now ailing and in hospital. Naturally this will have an impact on administration and everything,” Agriculture Minister Vijai Sardesai told reporters at the state secretariat.
“But, we as a team are shock-absorbers. The impact of his absence is lessened as much as possible, so that Goans get good governance as much as possible,” Sardesai said.
Sardesai’s comments come at a time when there is a growing criticism of the BJP-led coalition government, both by the opposition as well as the civil society over issues related to mal-governance and lack of leadership, especially with CM Parrikar being treated for advanced pancreatic cancer at the All India Institute of Medical Science in New Delhi.
Parrikar has been in and out of hospitals in Goa, Mumbai, New York and now Delhi for nearly seven months now and his absence has taken a toll on the administration, Sardesai conceded.
He also said that the ministers would meet once a week henceforth to take steps to fulfil the assurances given by the government in the last budget speech by Parrikar.
“Parrikar’s advice is available to us. We are meeting regularly to shape up our short term and to have a view of our long-term clarity. We have passed the half financial year,” he said.
When asked if the cabinet meeting was called to make a public display of unity among the cabinet members, Sardesai said: “It is not only to show strength of unity but also to show that this government is not only stable with the ruling allies supporting us, but also that we have other friends (in Congress ranks) as well. Whenever required, we will show the strength and number.”
Commenting on a statement made by a state Congress leader, who claimed that a “political earthquake” was brewing in the coalition government, especially due to lack of leadership, Sardesai said: “All of us sitting here is very clearly a message to (Congressman Ramakant Khalap) Khalap that there is no earthquake this side. It is possible on his side.”