Ministers running amok at cabinet meetings, Parrikar should hire bouncers now: Congress (Lead, correcting headline)

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Panaji, Jan 25 (IANS) Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar should hire bouncers and post them at his cabinet meetings, for fear of ministers lashing out at each other physically, Congress spokesperson Sunil Kawthankar said on Friday.

The demand comes a day after two cabinet ministers — PWD Minister Sudin Dhavalikar and Art and Culture Minister Govind Gaude — reportedly had a heated argument, in which the Congress claimed that casteist abuses were also hurled at a cabinet meeting held on Thursday.

“The Chief Minister should now have bouncers at cabinet meetings because of the lack of law and order in his own office. It has never happened in Goa that ministers abuse each other using casteist slurs. Law and order in the the state is already in a shambles, and now ministers are also running amok,” Kawthankar said.

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Political sources said at the cabinet meeting on Thursday, Parrikar was forced to intervene during a slanging match between the two ministers, in which Gaude accused Dhavalikar of interfering in his Assembly constituency Priol.

While Dhavalikar did not respond to repeated phone calls, Gaude did not deny the incident, but said he could not divulge any information about the alleged altercation because “what goes on in a cabinet is a secret matter”.

“I cannot speak about what went on in a cabinet meeting because it should be kept a secret. But in future, if it comes to that, I will speak about it,” Gaude said.

He also chided the Congress, saying that demanding action against ministers for what transpired in a cabinet meeting was “foolish.”

“The Congress is behaving in a foolish manner. Were they there to see what exactly happened at the cabinet meeting?” Gaude said.

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This is not the first instance of state cabinet meetings in Goa triggering controversy.

A leaked audio tape, in which Health Minister Vishwajit Rane alleged that Parrikar during a December 2018 cabinet meeting had said that all files linked to the Rafale deal were stashed in the former Defence Minister’s bedroom, sparking a controversy.

The tape had been released by the Congress in Delhi, earlier this month, and had stalled proceedings in Parliament. Both Parrikar and Rane had claimed that the tape was doctored.

–IANS

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