Middle East protests inspire poll campaign in Goa

March 1st, 2011 - 5:32 pm ICT by IANS  

Panaji, March 1 (IANS) Popular rebellions in the Arab world have found an echo in Goa, where a citizens’ collective is trying to cobble up support for ‘honest’ candidates in the state’s only municipal corporation, the Corporation of the City of Panaji (CCP). “The revolutions in Tunisia, Egypt and other countries there should be a lesson to all of us. To overthrow such a corrupt municipal regime, these populist movements should be models for us,” Oscar Rebello, convenor of the Panajiites Initiative for Change (PINC), said Tuesday.

The poll is to be held March 13.

Rebello, a medical practitioner and a leading civil society campaigner here, said they are endorsing a list of 29 ‘credible and honest’ candidates for the CCP, which has 30 constituencies. Lawyers, working professionals and a journalist are some of the candidates backed by the PINC.

PINC has said it will lobby for cancelling of trade licences to off shore casino vessels, which are parked in the Mandovi river, which flows alongside the capital.

PINC has also opposed the construction of skyscrapers in Panaji, which has several heritage buildings.

“We are tired of corruption. Virtually every couple of months a new scam in the corporation has emerged, with no action being taken against the accused,” said retired Indian Administrative Service (IAS) officer Arvind Bhatikar, also a member of the PINC.

The ruling corporator panel in the CCP, which is backed by Education Minister Atanasio Monserrate, has been ridden by scandals, some of the most infamous ones being the pay-parking scam, the ghost worker salary scam, the shop allotment scam in which several corporators were allegedly involved.

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