Why so much hurry Mr Parrikar?

By Sandesh Prabhudesai (EdiThought)
24 March 2013 00:11 IST

Let us presume and believe the Goa Government and the Director of Municipal Administration and Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar that elections for the posts of Mayor and Deputy Mayor of City Corporation of Panaji are not postponed for political reasons. Let us sincerely believe that the government wants to satisfy the ‘group of citizens’ who have demanded that both the posts be reserved, at least for one term. This reservation can be for the Scheduled Caste, Scheduled Tribe, Other Backward Class or Women. But we don’t know whom this reservation is for, since the notice sent by the DMA to the CCP mentions ‘reservation’; does not mention for whom.

Of course, to elect anybody to the reserved post, the CCP needs to have a corporator falling in the reserved category. The CCP has women corporators and one woman – Vaidehi Naik – has already enjoyed the Mayor’s post for one year. (In fact she still continues to enjoy). The CCP has four OBC and three women OBC corporators, but not having reservation for SC or ST candidates was a big issue in the CCP election held in 2011. It means even if tomorrow a provision is made to elect the Mayor or Deputy Mayor belonging to the SC or ST, there are no corporators available for the posts, but more than enough candidates for OBC and women.

There is also no provision to reserve the top two posts, for the OBC or Women, which are presently available in the CCP. Precisely that is the reason chief minister Parrikar, also the Panaji MLA, says he would amend the CCP act, presumably to include the reservation clause. Well, what is the procedure for amending the act? The concerned department needs to have a firm opinion on it. Then the proposal is prepared. It then goes to the Law Department for legal scrutiny. Then the cabinet approves it. The bill is then prepared and presented in the Assembly. It is then considered and discussed clause by clause. If there are major differences of opinion, then the House elects a Select Committee to examine all the disputed issues. It then gets held up till the Select Committee sits, discusses, prepares its report and make recommendations based on it and then it comes up before the Assembly once again. Even if the bill then gets passed, the Governor needs to give his assent, only after which it becomes an act.

Now; what is the state of this proposal of reservation mooted by a group of citizens? As per the DMA notice, it is being ‘examined’, not even made up its mind. Sometimes we listen from our learned chief minister how tedious the whole procedure is. That is precisely the reason he could not fulfill his election promise of amending the Lokayukta act on the lines of Uttarakhand. Even if Adv Prashant Bhushan has given a full readymade draft of amendments to him, the chief minister is still not sure whether it would come up as an amendment bill in the ongoing Assembly session. It needs to be ‘examined’, he says. Forget the bill, our chief minister till date has not been able to constitute an Advisory Council under Right to Education Act till date, which he had promised last year. He has again asked for four to five months, just to constitute it. Then the Council would sit and ‘examine’ the issue of Medium of Instruction and decide whether to continue grants to Church-run 130 English medium primary schools or not.

In such a situation – in normal circumstances – will the government be able to ‘examine’ the issue of reservation for Mayor and Deputy Mayor’s posts, take a firm decision, scrutinize it legally, take a cabinet decision, prepare the bill and get it passed in the ongoing Assembly session without any dispute over it? Especially when the whole opposition is shouting that there is politics behind it? Let us still presume that there is no political motive behind it. In that case, why the hurry? Let it follow a normal tedious process and the matter be resolved by next Assembly session, or may be next to that. Why the hurry?

And why no elections of Mayor and Deputy Mayor till then? Why Vaidehi Naik to continue? (Not that she is bad!). And why not Surendra Furtado to be the new Mayor? (Not that he is the worst!). Let us really believe that there is no political motive….

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Sandesh Prabhudesai (EdiThought)

Sandesh Prabhudesai is the Editor of goanews.com. He has been earlier the Editor of Sunaparant (Konkani daily) and Editor-in-Chief of Pruden (TV channel). His collection of selective editorials of Sunaparant has been published as 'Goff'. He writes brief thoughts as EdiThought for goanews.com, but not on regular basis.

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