The Bharatiya Janata Party’s (BJP) national general secretary in charge of Goa, CT Ravi virtually ruled out chief minister Pramod Sawant’s resignation by defending him against the allegations of corruption levelled by Meghalaya governor Satya Pal Malik.
“The Goa government has done good work during Covid-19. Former Goa governor (Satya Pal Malik) has clarified that he didn’t make any statements on the current Goa CM. The opposition won’t get anything from this controversy,” CT Ravi, also a four-time legislator from Karnataka’s Chikmagalur, said.
The opposition has been demanding Sawant’s resignation in the poll bound state after Satyapal Malik– who held the position of governor of Goa before he was moved to Meghalaya– said last Monday that “there was corruption in the Goa government in handling everything”. Malik made the allegation recalling his disapproval of some decisions by the Sawant government, including the hiring of a door to door delivery agency during the Covid-19 pandemic.
“I am a Lohia-ite. I get very angry when it comes to corruption. I do not take it kindly. On the day when the lockdown was announced, the government said that even the stores selling basic essentials would not be allowed to open but said they would sell door to door. Which was impossible, but they allowed one company to sell basic essentials door to door which had given money to the Goa Government, when people from Congress told me about it, I informed PM Modi ji. ….There was corruption in the Goa government in handling everything… because of that I was sent away from there,” Malik said in an interview to a TV news station. He was governor of Goa from November 2019 to August 2020 before he was moved to Meghalaya.
Following his remark Congress leader Digambar Kamat said Sawant had “no moral right to continue” as Goa CM. Goa Congress president Girish Chodankar said Malik’s comments showed that the “BJP made a business of people’s sickness”.
In damage control, Goa BJP spokesperson Damodar “Damu” Naik accused the Meghalaya governor of crossing the line of “ethics and propriety” and asked him to quit his constitutional post if he wanted to criticise “his own government”.
“…He should behave within the limits of ethics and propriety. Did he act on it (corruption charges) when he was the governor? To speak about it now and to the media while continuing as a governor is completely wrong and unconstitutional. He should have sent a report to the Union home ministry back then..,” Naik said.
This is not the first occasion when Malik’s statements have created a controversy. Earlier this month, he questioned the current security situation in Jammu and Kashmir in the wake of a series of civilian killings by terrorists and suggested that it was a lot better when he was the governor of erstwhile state. Malik served as the J&K governor from August 2018 to October 2019 before the state was bifurcated into two union territories and its special status abrogated by the parliament.
Recently, Malik also appeared to be supporting protesting famers’ demand for strengthening the Minimum Support Price (MSP) regime through legislation, a stand in variance with the Central government. Malik had also criticised Haryana chief minister Manohar Lal Khattar for police action against protesting farmers in Karnal.