Panaji: Scores of Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) workers Tuesday heckled Goa`s Leader of Opposition Manohar Parrikar, alleging he was "scared" of Education Minister Atanasio Monserrate, who they claim was shielding large-scale corruption in the state`s only municipal corporation.
BJP workers also heckled the media for being "scared" of Monserrate, who they claimed "wields power" over Parrikar.
Parrikar, a former chief minister, who has been the `clean` face of the BJP in the state, was taunted by party workers in front of journalists.
Party workers alleged that he was afraid to name the minister concerned, Monserrate, whose elected panel currently controls the Corporation of the City of Panaji (CCP). The CCP has been in the centre of numerous financial scandals ranging from a pay parking scam, ghost worker payment scam, and scams related to allotment of shops at the newly-built market complex in Panaji.
"Why isn`t he (Parrikar) taking Monserrate`s name? Why is he so scared of him? This is shameful. Everyone knows what is happening in the CCP and yet he cannot name him," Sandip Kundaikar, a BJP corporator, said just after Parrikar concluded a press conference on the subject of corruption in the CCP.
Parrikar, a former IIT-ian who was recently said to be in the race for the BJP national president`s post, had steadfastly refused to name and hold the promoter of the corporation`s ruling panel Atanasio Monserrate responsible for the financial mess the corporation was in, despite repeated questions from the media.
Parrikar, who has in the recent past exposed several scams in the Congress-led coalition government on issues ranging from illegal mining, excise duty evasion etc., has fought shy of taking up cudgels against Monserrate, who wields considerable clout in Parrikar`s legislative assembly constituency of Panaji, also the capital of the state.
After heckling Parrikar, irate BJP workers also engaged in an aggressive verbal duel with media persons accusing them of being in Monserrate`s "pockets".
"Why are you all afraid of asking questions about Monserrate? Are you all afraid? You all do not have the guts? Or has he managed everything?" Siddharth Kundaikar, a senior state BJP member, said.
Monserrate has said he plans to change several of his councillors during the forthcoming corporation elections next year. "I feel some of the members of my council have not done much work during their present tenure, as also few of them are facing certain allegations," Monserrate said.