Goa: Covid fury, turncoats hogged limelight in 2021

Insight Online News

Panaji, Dec 28 : Covid deaths, Union Minister Shripad Naik’s accident, a short assembly session, the entry of Trinamool Congress and leaders changing sides were among the important developments which hogged the limelight in Goa in 2021.

Union Minister Shripad Naik met with an accident in January while travelling to Goa from Karnataka. He survived but his wife and a close aide died.

The Covid pandemic created havoc in Goa, claiming 3,518 lives.

The budget and monsoon sessions of the state assembly were curtailed, with the opposition making a hue and cry.

As the positive cases of Covid-19 started rising, the Goa government imposed curfew in the state in April and continued to extend it till the number of positive cases fell substantially.

During the peak of Covid, Health Minister Vishwajit Rane stoked a controversy by claiming that a drop in oxygen levels in the Covid ward of the Goa Medical College led to many deaths. However, the Minister made a U-turn by stating in the assembly that no deaths were directly attributed to lack of oxygen.

The three-day monsoon session of the assembly in July concluded without a debate on Covid, inviting criticism from opposition parties. The budget session was cut short for municipal elections.

In the municipal elections in April, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)-supported panels won an absolute majority in three of the five councils.

In July, P S Sreedharan Pillai took oath as the Governor of Goa, replacing B S Koshyari. In the same month, former Goa Speaker Rajendra Arlekar was appointed Governor of Himachal Pradesh.

Later, with assembly elections approaching, Prashant Kishore’s Indian Political Action Committee (I-PAC) made an entry into the coastal state and conducted a survey.

This was followed by then Congress MLA and former Chief Minister Luizinho Faleiro resigning from the party and joining the Trinamool Congress.

The West Bengal-based party started strengthening its base by inducting prominent leaders who included former tennis player Leander Paes, former MLA Kiran Kandolkar and Aleixo Raginald Lourenco and actress Nasifa Ali.

In October, former Goa Governor Satya Pal Malik made an explosive statement claiming that there was corruption in every government, giving fodder to the opposition which was seeking an opportunity to attack the government.

Arvind Kejriwal’s Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) continued to strengthen its base by inducting more leaders. Kejriwal gave six guarantees to the voters which he said would be fulfilled if and when the party takes power.

Union Home Minister Amit Shah, West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, Congress leaders Rahul Gandhi and Priyanka Gandhi, BJP President J P Nadda, Kejriwal and former Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis were among those who visited the poll-bound state.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi visited Goa to participate in celebrations to mark 60 years of its liberation.

December witnessed leaders quitting parties and embracing other outfits. Those who resigned were BJP MLAs Alinha Saldanha and Carlos Almeida, Independent MLAs Rohan Khaunte and Jayesh Salgaokar as well as Congress MLAs Aleixo Reginald Lourenco and Ravi Naik.

Saldanha joined AAP, Carlos the Congress while Khaunte and Ravi Naik joined the BJP.

NCP’s lone MLA Churchill Alemao merged the party’s Legislative Wing with Trinamool Congress. However, NCP has challenged the move.

The Congress accused Urban Development Minister Milind Naik of sexually exploiting a woman and lodged a complaint against him. This forced him to resign as a Minister.

While the Congress announced an alliance with Vijay Sardesai-led Goa Forward Party, the Trinamool Congress decided to contest the assembly elections in alliance with Maharashtrawadi Gomantak Party (MGP).


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