Monday, 11 June 2007


This is precisely why the media needs to be watched.
Immediately after Madgaonkar Digambar Kamat was appointed chief minister, editors and ‘respected’ columnists have gone on full steam to project his shiny pate as the 8th wonder in the world, after the Taj Mahal.
For someone who hopped parties twice, both times at critical junctures. For someone who ousted a deputy superintendent of police for arresting his kin among other things, both THE NAVHIND TIMES and OHERALDO have been going about licking his pate to a never before sparkle.
It is disenchanting to see the physically as well as verbally overbearing (sic) scientist Nandakumar Kamat hopping on to the Kamat bandwagon. We are very certain the common surname (KAMAT) has nothing to do with his opinion on Digambar.
Perhaps the scientific bent of mind, leaned a bit too abnormally this time.
And the Herald phew... read on
Let him work

First and foremost Herald would like to congratulate Digamber Kamat (is it a newspaper’s job to congratulate?), who has been chosen by the elected representatives to become the Chief Minister of Goa.
Irrespective of the disparaging comments made by the leader of the Opposition Manohar Parrikar, that Digamber Kamat, will be a dummy Chief Minister, the people of Goa should give him a chance and judge him by his actions rather than other people’s statements. And there is reason behind this - he is coming in without any encumbrances. He does not have any son, daughter or nephew to foster. Secondly he does not have any hidden agenda, which is namely to pander to any powerful lobby namely the builders or some other vested interest. (And guess who runs a real estate firm? Has anyone checked Diggy’s affidavit filed before the Election Commission?) And thirdly, he in the past has shown his genuine love for Goa when he was the Minister for Art and Culture when at certain functions he has openly stated that “he will do his uttermost to promote Goan culture.’’ (Can you beat that? The editor actually believes in the slush Menino Peres and his gang generates at the Department of Information office. How dangerously naïve or criminally ignorant can the editor get? )
Can any of his detractors who call him dummy or for that matter any of his enemies who are vying for that post can recall and state they made similar remarks. (What what what? Even Babush says he loves Goa for god sake!!!) One of the contenders for the Chief Ministers post was actually responsible for the destruction of Goa by granting large scale permission for the conversion of fields. And the other critic, who loves to label people but cannot accept criticism was also responsible for the destruction of Goa with his craze for mega events which opened the flood gates for migrants. (Monte hill... The slum colony in Margao for which Diggy is responsible) But irrespective of the diverse comments and doubts about the Chief Minister elect, Goa should give this man a chance. No doubt the tasks before him are many but they are not insurmountable. In fact if they are tackled with determination and vigour they can be solved immediately. As the Chief Minister rightly said “my aim is to make Goa the best place to stay in.’’ No doubt these are the wishes of all the people, Goans staying locally and overseas, and everyone wants the same of the state and the administration to do it. But it is second remark which assumes significance and that is namely, when he warns government officials not to sit in their seats but instead to go out and solve the common mans problems. He has actually hit the nail right on the head (will someone hit something on this guy’s head and teach him to smell rhetoric) and if he can tackle this problem and ensure that government officials come out – right down to the villages and vaddos and listen to the common mans grievances and solve them, then Goa will become a better place to live in. The problems are many namely garbage, illegal construction, electricity, water supply, transportation, law and order to name a few. And above all unemployment. Hopefully, the new Chief Minister will keep this in mind that unless the base of the cake is good, there is no use putting icing on top. In short, please solve the common man’s problems. Do not let them get out of control because if that happens then all these fancy projects of IFFI, mono rail and other white elephants have no meaning. Perhaps his detractors may not stomach this but only if the common man’s problems had been solved then the resentment for the white elephants would not have arisen. Any ‘dummy’ will realize this. But all said and done, it is time we give this Chief Minister time to work and then judge him rather than just run him down because the detractors could not sit in the chair.

Digambar-a Politician with a Difference
By Nandkumar Kamat
The most interesting development after the election is the formation of a Congress, Nationalist Congress Party, Maharashtrawadi Gomantak Party and independents alliance government led by a new face, Margao’s popular MLA, Mr Digambar Kamat.
I know him as a politician since 1994. My first impression of him as a cultured, mature, people-friendly, god-fearing politician, has lasted till date, despite his 2005 homecoming. (Imagine, here's how a scientist presents his thesis. He begins with how he knows him personally. Does it ever make a difference? Does Nandakumar’s hobnobbing with Victoria Fernandes made her reform her son Rudolf anytime?) The Bharatiya Janata Party had entered the Goa assembly in 1994 with just four MLAs. I was voluntarily guiding the then independent, newly elected MLA from Santa Cruz, Ms Victoria Fernandes in her assembly work and had to often interact with all the MLAs. But there was a special equation between the opposition BJP and MGP MLAs. The ex-CM of Goa and at present, the Leader of Opposition, Mr Parrikar was learning his political ropes. He was at his dynamic best in the assembly and had become the darling of the press. Mr Digambar Kamat also came fully prepared for the Assembly sessions, carrying his usual briefcase. He actively participated in the business and in his unique oratorical style used to emphasize his points well, impressing the treasury benches.
The then CM, Mr Rane was full of praise for him and the MGP MLA from Pali, Professor Sadanand Malik. Mr Rane, with his long experience in politics and social sphere, has an excellent yardstick to judge people and politicians. Therefore, I was not surprised that those who supported Mr Rane for another term after the recent elections, threw their lot in favour of Mr Kamat, when consensus over local Congress chief, Ponda MLA Mr Ravi Naik could not materialize.
Contrary to the picture projected by a section of the press, Mr Kamat and Mr Ravi Naik enjoy an excellent personal relationship and I have no doubt in my mind that if the political situation so demands in future, Mr Kamat would be willing to vacate the chair for Mr Naik without any grudge or bitterness. (What is this guy talking about? Is he in his senses? This is not an academic chair for heaven’s sake, which a guy like Dr Joe De Souza would give up!)
Mr Kamat and Mr Naik share many common things-both are down-to-earth politicians. Both are ex-sportspersons. Both have been excellent grass roots level organizers. Both have risen from municipal level politics. Both are avowedly secular and enjoy the full trust and confidence of the minorities. Both mix easily among the common people and both do not carry any ideological baggage. (You mean mercenaries or what? Is carrying the Bhandari boogie not ideological baggage?) Most important-both do not engage into politics of hatred against their opponents or use uncivilized language unbecoming of a cultured personality. (Dear Nandu we have never heard you sugar up to someone like this. Did you just finish eating a lollypop before you wrote this? What is this fascination with the word cultured? Does defecting parties make you cultured? Does involvement in the matka trade make you cultured?)
Mr Kamat did not lobby for the chief minister’s post. He was the obvious choice because many MLAs trust him and have faith in him, in his aptitude and abilities. (These two lines must have been inspired by the late Umesh Mahambre, one of the most servile journalists to have graced Goa after Jagdish Wagh of UNI and co) Since 1999, Mr Kamat has done full justice to whichever portfolio he had handled. He created history in India by transforming Goa’s power sector. And given a few more years under his stewardship Goa may attain self-reliance in the power sector. A chief minister needs good leadership qualities. Mr Kamat has proved himself on this front. As a caring minister for art and culture, he planned innovative schemes for neglected artists and today Goa’s art and culture department has won national praise from the Planning Commission of the Union government. Goa is the first and the only state in the country to have its’ own cultural policy.
Mr Kamat, unlike many self-righteous and egoistic politicians, is a thoroughbred democrat. He believes in listening to the people, the professionals, the experts, the NGOs before making decisions. His remarkable quality is that he is not touchy or hypersensitive to criticism. I have been carefully monitoring the hatred campaign launched against him after he left BJP. (Ok… hmm was this after you stopped writing in the BJP’s favour Nandakumar? We remember all those lovely things you used to write about the BJP) It reached its’ peak after the notorious Sanvordem riots. It crossed all levels of civility during the recent election campaign. The vicious campaign may be intensified again because of petty and childish political jealousies. There would be deliberate attempts to drive a wedge of mistrust between him and Mr Ravi Naik and foment trouble. If everything fails then the issue of caste and casteism could be conveniently raked up.
Mr Kamat would have probably stagnated at number two position in BJP. Destiny has rewarded him now with a number one position. It does not matter how long he rules as long as he can deliver. Mr Kamat has his own mind and does not need prompting from anyone. Nobody labelled Mr Francisco Sardinha as a ‘dummy’ chief minister despite knowing that he was remote controlled by the BJP. But people’s memory is short. In past 13 years I have not seen any change in the working style of Mr Digambar Kamat. Power did not go to his head. He had been always approachable and accessible. Once I had woken him up at midnight to complain about a power cut at the Goa University. He personally visited the campus with engineers and a long-term plan was drawn up to improve the power supply. (He is good indeed. Like we have said once, even Mauvin Godinho as power minister visited the Herald office once to inspect a mass of tangled wires outside the office. So just because a minister responds to your call (Nandakumar is celebrity status, no doubt) in distress, doesn’t necessarily make him approachable, thorough and far sighted).
His approach is ‘solution oriented’ and if he does not become victim of petty jealousies and crab mentality, Goa would see much better governance under his chief ministership.
However, his growing popularity and a down to earth approach may create enemies for him within and outside the alliance government as time passes. (Sychophancy showing its roots. This tree is going to be hell of a tall thing… Just guessing… :)) If his cabinet colleagues fail to work as team and those who fail to become ministers try new permutations to get to power then with, without and inspite of BJP’s positive or negative intervention, Goa would be compelled to face a midterm poll. History has brought worst of political foes Mr Ravi Naik and Mr Dhavalikar together in Mr Kamat’s cabinet. Despite his abilities, Mr Luizinho Faleiro could not get even a year to prove himself as chief minister. He was victim of the dissent. (Have you really written this Nandakumar? Was Luizinho a victim of dissent, or a victim of himself?)
Politicians never learn from the past mistakes and then they blame themselves once out of power. People of Goa have certain expectations from the secular-alliance government. It needs to have a common minimum programme and a co-ordination committee of supporting parties and the independents. Mr Kamat has the ability to take the people with him. If he steers clear from potentially controversial issues and focuses on toning up the day-to-day administration, then automatically people of Goa would stand solidly behind him. All the power flows from the will of the common people. Mr Kamat in his first meeting with the civil servants has already made his intentions clear. He needs to make the CM’s office an effective and receptive, people-friendly communication centre. History has given him a chance to lead from the front. Undeterred by uncharitable criticism, he should finally prove himself as Goa’s finest statesman.
(PENPRICKS ANALYSIS: 99% sycophancy, ½% wisdom, ¼ fact, ¼ Dempo Group)


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Excellent!!! Is this even worth calling journalism? And terrific commentary penpricks :)

12 June 2007 at 23:27  
Blogger Pen Pricks said...

Keep writing back...

13 June 2007 at 12:26  
Blogger PRAVIN SABNIS (Goa,India) said...

that's a real good post-mortem...
i have gone thr' only, a few posts as of now... keep up the good work
--- Pravin

17 June 2007 at 22:02  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Good and excellent critique. Nandu is above law. He is the God who has migrated to Taleigao.

20 June 2007 at 08:14  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Excellent piece. Except the rather naive comment: "Dear Nandu we have never heard you sugar up to someone like this."

Nandu has ALWAYS buttered those in authority, and in PRINT. Right from the late Vasantrao Dempo to Goa University's spectacularly incompetent founding Vice Chancellor Sheikh Ali, to Manohar Parrikar when he first became CM after toppling a government through defections.

In fact, I have rarely seen Nandu be critical of those in authority. Who he is very critical of, is anybody who challenges his self-proclaimed superior knowledge of anything and everything under the sun.

If Penpricks subjects Nandu's prolific writings to the same scrutiny that it does to Abreau, you will find that the source of his 'wisdom' is at the other end of a broadband Internet connection. Not all that much different from the plagiarist you so gleefully unmask. Only, he trawls a different set of sites. Check the 'control', 'C' and 'V' buttons on his keyboard, and you'll find their very well-worn.

9 August 2007 at 15:39  
Blogger Pen Pricks said...

Last anon: That's a swell comment. keep writing

11 August 2007 at 21:27  

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