With Goa chief minister Manohar Parrikar, who also holds the state’s finance portfolio, undergoing treatment for a pancreatic disorder at Mumbai’s Lilavati Hospital, the upcoming budget session of the Goa Assembly will convene for just three days.
In what appears to be an unprecedented event in Goa’s legislative history, the state’s budget will be presented on Tuesday (February 20) while the session will end the next day after tabling of the vote on account thereby resulting in a session of only three days and one which sees no discussion of budget proposals. The session began on Monday(February 19) with Governor Mridula Sinha’s address to the House.
Sources said all questions that the Parrikar government was scheduled to respond to during the upcoming budget session will now be postponed to the next assembly session. There is, however, no clarity yet on whether the state assembly will pass the budget without any discussion on it or whether a Special Mention regarding budgetary proposals will be allowed in the monsoon session.
The unavailability of Parrikar to table the state budget – which is now expected to be tabled by his cabinet’s seniormost member and PWD minister Sudin Dhavalikar – has led to a situation wherein the convention of putting budgetary proposals up for detailed discussions on the floor of the Assembly and allowing legislators – particularly from the Opposition – to move for amendments will now be put aside.
On Monday, the BJP legislative party in Goa met and chose senior leader Francis Dsouza to be the Leader of the House in Parrikar’s absence. “Francis Dsouza is the senior-most leader in our group. So he will be the leader till Parrikar joins back,” Goa BJP chief Vinay Tendulkar told reporters after the meeting.
Sources said that the BJP’s floor managers in the Goa Assembly were quick to discuss the emerging political situation with Congress legislators and get them to agree to the government’s proposal of cutting the budget session shorter by a day. “We have no objection if the Assembly is curtailed to three days as the chief minister is genuinely ill,” Leader of Opposition Chandrakant Kavlekar, who is also a member of the Business Advisory Committee of the Goa Assembly, told reporters on Sunday.
Meanwhile, Parrikar is reportedly responding well to treatment. The Lilavati Hospital management has rubbished rumours of the Goa chief minister’s health deteriorating and that he had been diagnosed with cancer. The hospital’s vice president, Ajay Kumar Pande said in a statement: “It has been brought to our notice, various malicious and misleading reports/rumours are floating around in the electronic/print media with regards to the health of Hon. Chief Minister of Goa. We categorically deny all such rumours. We reiterate that Hon. Chief Minister of Goa is being treated and is responding well to the treatment.”
Prime Minister Narendra Modi had also paid Parrikar a visit at the Lilavati Hospital on Sunday evening.