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The Rediff Interview/Manohar Parrikar, former Goa CM

'Legislative decorum has been on the decline'

March 20, 2009


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Spotting former Goa [Images] chief minister Manohar Parrikar [Images] in the crowd would have been impossible unless someone pointed him out. Dressed in a simple half-sleeved shirt and gray trousers, the politician, an alumni of the 1978 batch, was mingling with his classmates and fellow Indian Institute of Technology-Mumbai in Bangalore at the culminating conference celebrating the institute's golden jubilee.

But Parrikar, the first ever IITian to become the chief minister, wasn't able to remain incognito for long. He had to speak in a session titled 'IITians in governance'. Addressing the gathering, the Bharatiya Janata Party [Images] leader laced his insightful speech on how governance is tough with dry humour. "People who are CEOs here, you guys at least have the choice of choosing who you work with. I do not have that luxury. I cannot choose my peers -- legislators -- nor can I choose my subordinates -- bureaucrats," he said.

On how he handled the situation, Parrikar said: "One way is you can sidetrack the inefficient people. Since I am not at a liberty to do that, I kick them upstairs."

Parrikar took time off during the conference to speak to rediff.com's Krishnakumar P about Goa's descent into lawlessness, its unruly assembly and the slow death of a project close to his heart -- the International Film Festival.

Why does Goa's assembly have the reputation of being the unruliest in the country?

It is not something specific to Goa. Legislative decorum has been on the decline throughout the country. Look at what happened in the Orissa assembly recently. The main reason is the deterioration of the quality of the Speakers in the assembly. They just cannot run the House properly. That is the main reason. Goa gets highlighted, but if you see, things have gone downwards in almost all states in the last five years.

But still Goa must be manageable given its small numbers�

That is exactly the problem. A handful of members often hold the house to ransom. The solution is in the hands of the people. They must vote either the Congress or the BJP. If it is a two-party system, there is bound to be more stability. If one party doesn't deliver, kick them out by all means. But bring in another party with a full majority. That is the only way things will improve.

Why has Goa recently gained a reputation for being a lawless state?

It is not like that. Things had happened at one time and it gained such a reputation. But as far as I know, things are under control and past incidents look very much like one off instances. Things are normal now in Goa.

But everywhere, you keep hearing that the Russian mafia has taken over. What really is the situation?

It is not the case at all. True, Russians have made some purchases and are involved in land deals. But wherever concerns were raised, investigations are on. That is truth. To say that they have taken over is wrong.

When IFFI was permanently moved to Goa there was much hype�

�now it is just another film festival.

Exactly. Critics say the standards have fallen ever since. It might even be discontinued. What needs to be done to revive it?

For a project like that the main requirement is enthusiasm. When there is no enthusiasm to do the kind of work required to make it a success, it is bound to fail.


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