Updated: June 29, 2022 4:20:38 pm
Goa Town and Country Planning (TCP) Minister Vishwajit Rane and Congress leader Micheal Lobo’s ongoing spat – replete with verbal exchanges and show cause notices being sent to properties linked to Lobo – intensified Monday. Lobo commented that Rane was “targeting” him, the Leader of the Opposition, adding that Rane was acting like he was “above the Chief Minister”. Expectedly, Rana hit back within minutes.
As businesses owned by Lobo and his wife Delilah Lobo, a Congress MLA, continue to get notices from the TCP and Food and Development Authority (FDA) under Rane, Lobo spoke to reporters on Monday and said: “He (Rane) wants to prove to the (BJP) high command that he can target the Leader of the Opposition and put him in his place. How can he put me in my place? Do we owe him anything? We have a panchayat licence, we have an FDA licence (for the restaurant).”
Lobo added that Rane was acting like “Sattariche Raja (King of Sattari),” a reference to Rane’s five-time win as an MLA from Valpoi in the Sattari region.
Accusing Rane of working “on his whims and fancies” and “using government staff like “slaves”, he said: “Has he gone crazy? Is he trying to show that he is above the Chief Minister? Whatever your differences over being CM are, those are between you (Rane and CM Pramod Sawant).”
Lobo, who was a minister in the previous BJP government under CM Sawant and former chairman of the North Goa Planning and Development Authority (NGPDA), switched to the Congress this January winning the party the Calangute seat. Lobo said that he asked CM Sawant “to intervene in the matter as a minister in his cabinet was doing as he pleases and needed to be checked”.
Within minutes of Lobo’s statement Monday, Rane put out a tweet, saying: “With so many illegalities occurring in the coastal belt, I would like to emphasise that any illegal structure that has obtained an FDA licence by presenting false documents will be cancelled after due process. The Leader of the Opposition cannot complain when a slew of illegalities are taking place. Please stop crying foul, the law will take its course. I would advise you to follow the rule of law, which is applicable to everyone.”
“It is my humble submission to the LoP to be patient,” Rane said in another tweet.
This will be a 360 degree exercise, everything will be exposed. It is my humble submission to the LoP to be patient. I do sympathize with him & his party as they have established what they stand for in the country. According to me, the C stands for corruption.
— VishwajitRane (@visrane) June 27, 2022
“People of Goa know who is being impatient and desperate for the chair, which is the ultimate goal. I have been patient and want the law to take its own course…As the minister asks me to be patient till enquiries are complete, one wonders what makes him so impatient?” Lobo replied.
As the minister asks me to be patient till enquiries are complete, one wonders what makes him so much impatient?
— Michael Lobo (@MichaelLobo76) June 27, 2022
However, with the Chief Ministership comment, Lobo may have struck a raw nerve.
Rane’s ambition to be in the state’s top seat is no secret, with differences between him and the CM Sawant also surfacing from time to time.
With both in the race for CM job after the Assembly results in March, the BJP had eventually gone again with Sawant, rooted in the RSS and a long-time BJP cadre member, over Rane, who left the Congress to join the BJP in 2017.
Much before the elections, when Goa had seen acute oxygen shortage in the state-run Goa Medical College and Hospital during the second wave of Covid in May 2021, CM Sawant and Rane, then health minister, had been engaged in a “tiff” amid the crisis.
Two properties in which Lobo is a partner – Hotel Baga Deck and Nazri Resort – had earlier got notices for illegal construction, while the FDA claimed to have found violations at Pisco by the beach in Anjuna, owned by his wife and Congress MLA Delilah Lobo.
Claiming the violations as “flimsy”, like broken tiles, Lobo said: “So many ministers have also eaten at our restaurants. I asked them if there was anything wrong with our food? They said no, the food was very good…Nobody has filed any complaint against us.”
Subscriber Only Stories
Delilah said they had been running the businesses for 20-25 years, much before Lobo became an MLA. “Only now that we have joined the Congress, has something gone wrong? When all these years we were in the BJP, everything was fine?”
📣 Join our Telegram channel (The Indian Express) for the latest news and updates
- The Indian Express website has been rated GREEN for its credibility and trustworthiness by Newsguard, a global service that rates news sources for their journalistic standards.