Are you happy in Cong? - Digambar is mum...

GOANEWS DESK, PANAJI | 20 June 2011 23:27 IST

Chief minister Digambar Kamat, in his first ever interview on the background of Medium of Instruction controversy, has maintained conspicuous silence over whether he is happy in the Congress.

However, he fully defended his stand on giving grants to English medium primary schools, while assuring to take all kind of more steps to preserve the regional languages like Konkani and Marathi.

He has also expressed his desire to take over as the chief minister in the next term, if the high command decides, but has given no indication of whether next Assembly election would be held early than the scheduled end of the term in May next year.

He spoke at length to Pramod Acharya, news editor of Prudent Media, at the weekly Head On programme, on the occasion of completing four years of his tenure.

“Are you happy in Congress?” he was asked twice when he tried to dodge the question. Kamat however skillfully diverted it: “I had not joined the Congress to become the chief minister.”

(He had left number two position in the BJP-led coalition government and had joined the Congress to toppled Manohar Parrikar government in 2005, claiming that he was suffocating in the BJP)

“I was unexpectedly made the chief minister after 2007 Assembly election. Till date, I have not let Sonia Gandhi down. It is natural to have a dream to become the chief minister”, said Kamat, but still did not answer whether he is happy in the Congress today.

While admitting that managing a one-party government is much easier than the coalition as there is no flexibility, the chief minister also said some of his decisions would have been different if he had more freedom with full mandate.

“Did you get angry with your troublemaker ministers any time?” – he was asked by Acharya.

“May be I got the feeling somewhere inside at some times. However, my nature is not to hurt anybody but to have patience. That has helped me immensely”, he said, while disclosing that even central leadership was surprised that he has survived for so long.

 Acharya asked him yet another embarrassing question: “In an attempt to make everybody happy, have you in the bargain made everybody unhappy, whether in the case of Regional Plan issue, SEZ issue or such other issues?”

Kamat was blunt. “I have scrapped the SEZ. I have formulated the new Regional Plan. I have done what is good for Goa and “Goans.”

Acharya tried to grill him with series of questions on the Medium of Instruction (MoI) controversy. But till the end, he justified his decision, while making it clear that there is no question of reverting back on the decision.

“It was a collective decision right up to the Delhi leadership, not my alone”, he claimed.

Though he still could not reply to the question which educationists he had consulted, Kamat said all the stakeholders were taken into confidence and were even taken to Delhi to make their submissions. Many of them had even opposed giving grants to English medium primary schools, he added.

He refuted the allegation that it was a political decision to appease the Christian minorities and politicians like Churchill Alemao.

Arguing further, Kamat said the representation signed by 52,000 parents demanding English is enough proof that it was not to appease one single religion. “Everybody wanted English”, he said.

He also refused admit, when Acharya tried to corner him asking whether his decision on MoI could benefit or harm him in his Margao constituency. “My Margao voters are wise. They know my sincerity and they would honour it”, he claimed.

Kamat however admitted that the circular issued by the education department on MoI had some flaws, while assuring to rectify them.

Acharya had asked him the question based on a fact that the government has decided not to give additional grants for salary or other facilities, if any school wants to run both Konkani or Marathi and English medium simultaneously. The circular meant that schools could run both the mediums, but without funds provided by the government for additional teachers or infrastructure.

Kamat however said the controversy would have not arisen if his predecessors had strictly followed the 1991 circular not to permit unaided English medium private primary schools.

“There are 140 unaided English medium primary schools running today, which have created this situation”, he pointed out.

Kamat also attacked ‘some elements’ who are opposing English but either themselves run English primary schools or send their own children to English schools.

“I don’t appreciate such hypocrites”, he quipped.

He also shielded himself with one argument throughout the interview: “Those who criticize me should put themselves in my shoes and think what they could have done in such a situation.”

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He also shielded himself with one argument throughout the interview: “Those who criticize me should put themselves in my shoes and think what they could have done in such a situation.”

होच मोठो पराक्रम दिगू बाबान केला.

आपूण चीयम तुमी जाय ते करात.

- Shrikant V. Barve, Taleigao | 30 th June 2011 19:46


The current congress govt is total useless. I happen to visit Gujarat, i was suprised to see the development. I dont deny that there wont be any corruption in Gujarat but in Goa its worst.

- Ramchandra Salgaonkar, Mapusa Goa | 24 th June 2011 13:32


Loot and let others loot. = Key to keeping the CM's job?


- Samir Kelekar, Bangalore | 21 st June 2011 19:21


Managing the CM's post for so long is not easy as it involves moving ahead-taking along leaders with diverse agenda and self interests. The strongest challenge is to curb the rampant corruption resulting into the elections becoming more of a vulgar show of money and muscle power--forgetting the basic issues of ideologies and principles. Listening to the voice of the common man and his decisions to scrap the SEZs and formulating new RP for Goa against stiff opposition from the powerful Lobby--needs mention. However the Regional Plan is for surface use. He would get the blessings of the common man if he likewise takes the lead to finalise the Plan for Goa for the use of the Land below the surface.......

- vishwas prabhudesai, loliem | 21 st June 2011 08:41


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