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Congress to use Parrikar’s mining ban speech as tool


Panaji, March 20 :

The Congress has found a way of attacking the BJP as well as Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar during the Lok Sabha polls campaign, especially in the mining belt, using Parrikar’s speeches.

Congress state president John Fernandes Thursday told office bearers and senior leaders that Parrikar’s speeches, especially one made in 2012, where the chief minister claimed that it was he and not the Supreme Court which banned mining in Goa, would be played out across the mining towns, which have been hit by the ban.

“We will be playing the speeches during our election campaign. People need to understand the chief minister’s double-speak on all issues. The voters need to know why we really call him a U-Turn chief minister,” Fernandes said.

Fernandes played Parrikar’s speech allegedly made at an award ceremony in 2012 organised by a national news channel.

Fernandes said the speech was made after Parrikar was conferred the “Politician of the Year” award by CNN-IBN.

In the speech, which Fernandes claimed was made by Parrikar, the latter is heard saying that it was not the Supreme Court which had first banned mining, but he himself, after coming to power in 2012.

According to figures by the state government, the ban on mining has affected over one lakh people.

For the past one and a half years, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and Parrikar have been claiming that former union minister for environment and forests Jayanthi Natarajan, a Congresswoman, had banned mining by revoking green clearances to all mines in Goa.

Parrikar has also been repeatedly blaming the Supreme Court of India for banning mining in Goa.

The Congress party’s strategy of playing out Parrikar’s speeches in the mining belt, especially ones where he claims that it was he who actually banned mining, could trigger anger among the voters in the belt, who have been seething in discontent against the political class for being unable to lift the ban despite promises.