Parrikar still hooked to 'Nayak'-like solutions
By Mayabhushan Nagvenkar, Panaji, June 16 : A fan of Bollywood film "Nayak", Goa Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar Friday almost played out a scene from the 2001 hit movie.
Parrikar, during an interaction with reporters at his residence a few days ahead of completing 100 days in power, was asked why the landline telephone of the Panaji police station was not working.
The chief minister took out his cellphone and asked the journalist to punch out the police station's phone number. As the call went through, Parrikar waited till someone picked up the phone.
"This is Parrikar speaking. Just hold the line," Parrikar said, passing the mobile to the embarrassed journalist.
Parrikar's 'quick fix' solutions may hark back to a scene in "Nayak", where actor Anil Kapoor, playing a state's chief minister for a day, uses his telephone to monitor and suspend corrupt officials.
But after nearly 100 days in power, technocrat Parrikar appears to be the only thing standing between himself and his Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)-led coalition government.
"It is like the case of the blind man and the elephant, but with a difference. You touch this government's tail, there's Parrikar. You touch the head, there's Parrikar. You touch the stomach and you find Parrikar there too. Barring him, the government and other ministers are virtually non-existent," a senior Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader, who did not want to be named, commented to IANS.
Eleven other ministers of Parrikar's 12-member cabinet, including two from the Maharashtrawadi Gomantak Party (MGP) and one Independent, are virtually absent from the media's radar, making Parrikar the only visible target for bouquets and brickbats over the achievements and failures of the new Goa government.
Asked if he regretted setting deadlines for achieving governance objectives, Parrikar said: "I set targets because it helps me to work towards goals."
During the run-up to the March assembly elections, the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) alumni promised a string of time-bound goals -- some populist, some necessary -- like a bridge in six years, a Lokayukta in 100 days, clearance of garbage from roads in 100 days and reduction of petrol prices by Rs.11 within days of coming to power.
"Several goals have been achieved, like the petrol price reduction. The establishment of the Lokayukta is already in the process and it'll happen soon. We have fulfilled the commitment. But I must tell you that the Lokayukta alone cannot solve the problem of corruption," Parrikar said.
The code of conduct enforced by the state election commission and the chief election commissioner ahead of the panchayat and an assembly by-poll and after the assembly polls had robbed the government of actual delivery time, Parrikar said.
When asked as to why his quest for zero tolerance to corruption had succeeded in netting only small fry like contractors, clerks and engineers, several of whom have been booked on graft charges, Parrikar responded with a trademark analogy.
"If you have angled using a line and hook, you will realise that the bait only catches small fish. Only once you get the small fish, that you can lure the big ones," he said.
(Mayabhushan Nagvenkar can be contacted at email@example.com)