Panaji, February 11:Â In the face of blistering electoral heat, the Bharatiya Janata Party’s (BJP) “fight” against indiscriminate mining in Goa appears to have all but wilted.
With an increasing number of mining contractors joining its ranks, the party is all set to support the candidature of an alleged illegal mining magnate, indicted in a legislative report. Now with BJP national president Nitin Gadkari’s call to change the present “eccentric” environment laws, there are increasing signs that the party is about to bid good bye to its campaign against illegal mining here.
The party had raised the issue to a heady pitch in the run up to poll year, claiming that Chief Minister Digambar Kamat was sitting on a Rs.25,000 crore mining scam in the state.
The BJP’s decision to back the candidature of mining magnate Dinar Tarcar (on coalition partner Maharashtrawadi Gomantak Party’s ticket in St. Cruz assembly constituency), who has been indicted for illegal mining in a report authored by BJP leader Manohar Parrikar, found both Parrikar and the party on the hostile end of the media stick.
When asked if he and the party supported the candidature of Tarcar, Parrikar said, “As far as I am personally concerned, I will never canvas for a person whose name has appeared in the PAC report, the party as far as possible has to help allies. But if I am called for campaigning I will not go.”
However, state party president Laxmikant Parsenkar said that the party would campaign for the coalition partner, indirectly supporting Tarcar’s candidature.
“I will be campaigning obviously for the alliance,” Parsenkar said.
Parrikar told reporters Thursday that the PAC report was “unofficial”. This is in contrast to his claims last year that the report exposed a Rs.3,500 crore mining scam orchestrated by a politician-bureaucrat-mining lobby magnates.
“The PAC report is not an official document,” Parrikar said, adding that the document had to be considered ‘unofficial’, until it is followed by government’s action of the report.
“If our government comes to power, whether it is official document or not, (our) government will take an action of the report,” Parrikar said.
The sensational report which was controversially disallowed by the Speaker from being tabled on the floor of the House, had clearly indicted mining magnate Dinar Tarcar for illegal mining.
Another indicator to the BJP’s weakening stance against rampant mining in Goa, was party president Nitin Gadkari’s critique of Indian environment laws, which he called “eccentric”.
Replying to a query seeking his take on illegal mining, Gadkari had said: “The eccentric environment laws are not appropriate.”
Civil society groups in the state have not taken kindly to BJP’s new and seemingly neutered stance against illegal mining, which was once its main plank for hitting out at the Congress-led coalition government.
“BJP’s double speak on mining is now completely exposed. Suddenly the BJP which was aggressively campaigning against the menace has lost all opinion on rampant mining in the state now. Perhaps it’s the party’s mining fetish in Karnataka which is rubbing off here now,” said Miguel Braganza, president of the Botanical Society of Goa.
Goa will hold assebly polls March 3.
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