Citizens' Issues
Goa civil society threatens protest if official transferred
A young civil servant has captured the minds and hearts of people in this south Goa town, so much so that civil society activists have threatened to protest if the official is transferred.
 
Posted as chief officer of the Margao Municipal Council (MMC) four months back, 2012 batch Indian Administrastive Service (IAS) officer Naveen S.L. took many steps to simplify government rules and mechanisms for the common citizen and taking on vested interests.
 
In a matter of a week, he inspired two protests: one demanding his transfer by 16 out of 20 councillors and another demanding that he stay put, by civil society and young political activists.
 
Those supporting Naveen, a trained computer engineer, said while the pro-public and transparent mechanisms initiated by the 33-year-old officer have irked the councillors, the real reason why they want him ousted was a notice Naveen issued on Monday, ordering demolition of an illegal construction belonging to Mayor Gonzaco Rebello.
 
Rajashri Nagarcekar, a Margao dweller, told IANS: "The councillors of Margao have been holding a protest against the officer on grounds that they cannot function under him and other issues.
 
"But we know that the main reason is because the chief officer has ordered the demolition of an illegal structure which belongs to the mayor."
 
She is one of the many dozen activists who held the 16 councillors, including Rebello, to siege on Friday, demanding Naveen should not be transferred.
 
As a quasi judicial officer, Naveen in his order on March 24 said: "The court feels that having considered all the arguments, the structure (in question) has indeed been gifted to MMC in 2013 and thus forms (a part of) municipal property."
 
"As such, Section 174 (of the Goa Municipalities Act) rightfully applies to this structure which, as per transgress report, belongs to one Julio Rebello, and is occupied by Gonzaco Rebello. As such, the court deems it fit to issue a demolition order without notice as per Section 174 of Goa Municipalities Act."
 
Mayor Rebello and the councillors, who are demanding the officer's ouster, however claimed that their demand has nothing to do with the demolition order.
 
"We cannot work with him that is all. He has lost our confidence," the mayor said, not preferring to comment on the demolition notice.
 
His aide Damodar Shirodkar, who along with his colleagues had staged a protest against Naveen on March 25, alleged that he has proof of corruption by the officer.
 
Shirodkar could however produce no evidence, after civil society activists demanded an explanation from him during their siege of the elected representatives on Friday.
 
"Margao will see an agitation if Naveen is transferred. We, as citizens instead want the council itself dissolved," says prominent city lawyer-activist Rajiv Gomes, who spearheaded the civil society agitation in favour of the officer.
 
The reasons for popular adulation of the officer are the series of public welfare and transparent systems initiated in his short four-month tenure as chief officer.
 
These include a toll-free helpline for municipality-related queries and civic grievances, an aggressive tax recovery drive, prompt action against illegalities and a single-window system for construction licences with minimum red tape, which keeps contact between the applicant and the MMC officials, councillors to the minimum.
 
"After years we have an honest officer, who is putting the city first. We want him to continue, despite what the councillors say," said another activist Dickson Vaz.
 
Margao, 35 km from Panaji, is known as the commercial capital of the small coastal state.

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Kejriwal chose Perfect Victory over Perfect Party
From the happenings of recent weeks, it will be tempting to deduce that Arvind Kejriwal is a Stalinist who, like all autocrats, hates democracy and dissension and loves yes-men. That's what Prashant Bhushan will want us to believe. But the stormy story of the Aam Aadmi Party's internal crisis is far more complicated than such a black-and-white narrative.
 
The most curious case in the entire episode is that of Prashant Bhushan, who now finds himself virtually out of a party that he and Yogendra Yadav helped Kejriwal to set up amid trying circumstances in 2012.
 
When the Mahabharata for Delhi's assembly was on, Prashant Bhushan's father, Shanti Bhushan, yet another co-founder of AAP, shockingly trashed Kejriwal, the party's best-known face. Shanti Bhushan had declared that his first two choices as Delhi's chief minister would be Kiran Bedi of BJP and Ajay Maken of Congress (in that order) -- while Kejriwal would be his last option.
 
The electorate didn't agree. That, of course, is another story.
 
But when the campaign for the make-or-break Delhi election was on, Prashant Bhushan was conspicuously absent. At one point it wasn't clear to even journalists if he was still in the AAP or not.
 
For an articulate lawyer who was so silent during those crucial days, he became hyper active within days after Kejriwal, virtually rising from the dead, became the chief minister of Delhi. Along with Yadav, Prashant Bhushan suddenly began denouncing what he said was the lack of internal democracy in the AAP. As he came under fire from Kejriwal supporters, he became more and more bitter.
 
Even if we assume that all the allegations hurled by Yadav and Bhushan against Kejriwal are true, it defies logic why they were not ready to give the chief minister even six months of peace. Whether one likes it or not, the fact is no one in Delhi voted for Manish Sisodia or the Bhushans or Yadav. It was Kejriwal who defeated Narendra Modi.
 
The AAP had made electoral history. No institution (AAP included) or individual is perfect. But Kejriwal should have been given a grace period before taking up issues related to the party, that too publicly.
 
Sadly, Prashant Bhushan and Yadav turned out to be the counterparts of those in the BJP who have tripped Modi with their loud talk on 'Love Jihad', 'Ghar Wapsi' programmes as well as verbal and other attacks on minorities.
 
Modi paid a price for this in Delhi. The AAP may or may not pay a similar price in the elections it may contest in the months and years to come.
 
From his revelations at the National Executive in Delhi on Saturday, it is evident that Kejriwal chose to keep quiet all through the elections. But the volcano burst once the battle got over. Kejriwal had only one choice before him: lead a Perfect Party to the liking of Prashant Bhushan and Yadav or aim for a Perfect Victory in Delhi so that the AAP rises from the ashes. He opted for the latter.
 
Kejriwal, however, has not come out of this mess unscathed. Rightly or wrongly, he is being seen as one who cannot tolerate dissent and who won't accept people who think differently. Booting out Bhushan or Yadav is one thing but easing out former Indian Navy chief L. Ramdas, the AAP Lokpal, without even the courtesy of letting him know that he is being replaced is another matter.
 
If the AAP has to do alternate politics, it cannot treat every dissident as a foe. If Kejriwal is ready, as he said at Ramlila Maidan, to consult Kiran Bedi and Ajay Maken for the sake of Delhi, surely he must be more considerate to Ramdas. Courtesy is a two-way traffic.

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COMMENTS

Pradeep Kumar

2 years ago

You have perfectly caught my thinking, thanks for giving form to my mental state
I believe a stink was inevitable, so instead of protecting his personal image, he did best for the party, the stink was inevitable.

rajivahuja

2 years ago

AAP is slowly turning into Congress.

manoharlalsharma

2 years ago

AAM admi party like a newer shop or a newer child admitted in a school and at the day first old boys take on a new boy.so the news channel doing.

vswami

2 years ago

"Kejriwal chose Perfect Victory over Perfect Party"
Or should it be better said that was what he expected (not chose. To believe that, be it 'victory' or 'party'(political at that), could ever be expected to be 'perfect' is tantamount or bound to turn out to be a self deceptive even in a short run, as has really happened. For, after all, 'politics', if not a dirty game, is one in which the twin human weaknesses of pride and prejudice have a predominant and disgusting role to play.

21 formally charged for hand in Burdwan blast
The National Investigation Agency (NIA) on Monday formally charged in a special court 21 people, including four Bangladeshi nationals, for their involvement in the Burdwan blast.
 
Militant outfit Jamaat-ul-Mujahideen Bangladesh (JMB) is suspected to be involved in the blast.
 
The charge sheet was filed before a National Investigation Agency (NIA) special court in Kolkata.
 
"Twentyone accused, including four Bangladeshi nationals, have been charged for offences relating to terrorist act, conspiracy, recruitment, funding and running terrorist training camps, possession of arms and explosives, offences of forgery, offences relating to foreigners act and passport act," an NIA officer told IANS.
 
The blast took place in a house in Khagragarh in Burdwan district on October 2, killing two JMB militants and injuring another.
 
Probing the blast, the NIA has so far arrested 18 people from various parts of the country as well as Dhaka in Bangladesh.
 
The agency has claimed its investigation showed that the JMB had established its network in many districts - particularly in Murshidabad, Nadia, Malda, Birbhum and Burdwan in Bengal, Barpeta in Assam, and Sahibganj and Pakur in Jharkhand.
 
As many as 15 people suspected to be involved in the case are missing and on the run.
 
The NIA took over the probe a few days after the explosion.

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