BJP will contest 2017 polls under Parsekar’s leadership: Parrikar

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Indicating that he is not coming back to Goan politics, Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar on Tuesday solicited public support for Chief Minister Laxmikant Parsekar to lead the Bharatiya Janata Party to victory, at the forthcoming assembly election in the state. “My political source of energy is however Goa,” he added.

“This year is very critical as many political parties are sprouting all around, with some having an eye on the prosperity of Goa,” Parrikar cautioned, observing that Goans therefore, need to stick to their decision of supporting the Bharatiya Janata Party, for their development and the development of the state.

Speaking during the state-level 60th birthday celebrations of Parsekar, at the community hall, Taleigao, Parrikar said that Parsekar was a ‘short-notice Chief Minister’, who had to take over the responsibilities of the Chief Minister, with no time for any preparations. “He however became successful as can be seen from his performance, during past one-and-a-half year,” he noted.

Earlier, Parrikar felicitated Parsekar with a garland, shawl and Shriphal. The Union Minister for State (Independent Charge) for AYUSH Shripad Naik presented a Scroll of Honour to Parsekar.

A portrait of Parsekar made by Sanjay Harmalkar was presented on the occasion. ‘Yashwant’, a special commemorative issue on the Chief Minister was also released.

Speaking further, the Defence Minister said that the Prime Minister Narendra Modi has special place for Goa in his heart and central aid would not be a problem for the state. “The Defence Ministry has already issued a Letter of Intent to the Goa Shipyard Limited as regards the Rs 32,500 crore order for building 12 minesweepers, and this order with direct capital investment of Rs 3,000 to Rs 4,000 crore, has already identified 1,500 to 2,000 jobs,” he maintained, pointing out that the annual turnover of the Goa Shipyard Limited would skyrocket to Rs 3,000 crore to Rs 4,000 crore due to the order, with 5,000 to 10,000 jobs being created through outsourcing.

Parrikar also informed that talks are on between the Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd and the Honda-based Automobile Corporation of Goa Ltd (ACGL) through the Economic Development Corporation (EDC), and within next 4 to 5 years, production of helicopter parts would began at the ACGL. “Meanwhile, ACGL will start the work of repairs of helicopter engines, before commencing production of helicopter parts,” he revealed, adding that the project would witness an investment of Rs 7,000 crore to Rs 8,000 crore, and generate 4,000 to 5,000 jobs.

In his reply to his felicitation, the Chief Minister said that although he was a teacher by profession, he had been a student all his life, and is using all that he has learnt for running the state administration. “I took up patience from Shripad Naik and the quality of continuous hard work from Manohar Parrikar,” he admitted, stating that he also borrowed qualities like taking bold decisions, and staying honest to these decisions from his party colleagues.

“I did face difficulties during my tenure as the Chief Minister, including blanket ban on the state mining activities and financial crunch,” Parsekar admitted, observing that even though the mining operations have started in Goa, in somewhat slow fashion, there would be full-fledged mining activities in Goa from the forthcoming season. “If mining activities are to be people-friendly, the mining vehicles would have to necessarily move along the mining corridor, to be constructed with the support of the mining industry,” he noted.

Parsekar also said that the state tourism needs to move from beaches to hinterland via waterways, as also monuments form important part of the tourism sector. “Tourism is an important segment for government as it not only generates revenue, but also creates job opportunities,” he noted.

The Chief Minister further said that the state Investment Promotion Board has given in-principal clearance to 98 projects, with all caution. He also said that the developmental works for the proposed Electronic City at Tuem and IT Habitat at Chimbel has started with appointment of consultants, and till date 5 to 6 IT companies have expressed willingness to set up their anchor units, in the Electronic City.

Parsekar also flayed the people and groups, which were creating hurdles for public welfare projects in the state, by approaching National Green Tribunal, on the pretext of protecting environment. He finally said that the mechanism to make Goa prosperous and strong, while maintaining the uniqueness of the state is in place, and its impact would be visible in the near future.

Union Minister of State (Independent Charge) for AYUSH, in his speech recalled his relations with Parsekar right from the college days, way back in 1973 and then in the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh. “We were also asked to work for the state unit of the BJP together, during the late 1980s,” he remembered, adding that Parsekar had leadership qualities right from his early age, and has undergone a lot of struggle all his life to reach his present position.

Deputy Chief Minister Francis D’Souza; Minister for Forest and Environment, Rajendra Arlekar; Minister for Industries, Mahadev Naik; South Goa MP Narendra Sawaikar; and the state BJP president Vinay Tendulkar were among those who spoke on the occasion.

Panaji MLA Sidharth Kunkalienkar welcomed while Sankhali legislator Pramod Sawant compered the function.

The Speaker of the state legislative assembly Anant Shet, a number of cabinet ministers, BJP MLAs, industrialists and eminent personalities attended the event.