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'Kedarnath' director urges Uttarakhand government to lift 'ban'

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"Kedarnath" director Abhishek Kapoor has urged the Uttarakhand government to lift a ban on the movie.
 
"I plead with the Uttarakhand government to please lift the ban on my film 'Kedarnath'. It is an attempt to bring peace, harmony and healing to the people of this country. Please don't deprive us of this opportunity," Kapoor tweeted.
 
While there has been no official ban on the film by the state government, it wrote to all district magistrates about the film and the controversies surrounding it. 
 
The decision followed a meeting chaired by Chief Minister Trivendra Singh Rawat that reviewed a report submitted by a committee headed by Tourism Minister Satpal Maharaj.
 
The government asked the district administration to take a call on their own and left it to their discretion whether or not the film should be released in their respective jurisdictions.
 
Following which Dehradun, Haridwar, Pauri, Tehri, Nainital, Almora and Udhamsinghnagar banned the film. 
 
The Hindi film, with the 2013 flash floods in Kedarnath as the backdrop, was being opposed by the right-wing activists from the day its shooting began in the hill state and they alleged that it hurt Hindu sentiments and promoted the idea of "Love Jehad".
 
The film, starring Sushant Singh Rajput and debutante Sara Ali Khan, was shot extensively in Triyuginarayan, Gaurikund, Soneprayag, Rambada, Kedarnath and Chopta, and it had to face protests even then.
 
The Uttarakhand High Court on Thursday refused to ban the film and asked the petitioners to approach the District Magistrate with their complaints.
 
On its opening day, the movie garnered Rs 7.25 crore in India.
 
IANS
 

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India-UK exercise Konkan-18 begins in Goa

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Konkan-2018, the joint naval exercise by the Indian Navy and the Royal Navy, began off Goa on Wednesday and will continue up to December 6.
 
The harbour phase will conclude today, and will be followed by the sea phase from December 2-6, an official press release said.
 
"Naval cooperation between India and the United Kingdom is based on the long-term strategic relationship between both countries. Both Navies have, over the years, undertaken bilateral activities such as training exchanges and technical cooperation. 
 
"The bilateral Konkan exercise provides a platform for the two Navies to periodically exercise at sea and in the harbour, so as to build interoperability and share best practices," it said.
 
The Royal Navy is represented in the exercise by HMS Dragon, a Type 45 Class Destroyer equipped with an integral Wildcat helicopter. The Indian Navy has fielded INS Kolkata, the first ship of latest Kolkata class destroyers, equipped with integral Sea King and a submarine. In addition, the maritime patrol aircraft, Dornier will also participate in the exercise.
 
The regular IN-RN interaction over the years has resulted in an increase in the professional content of the bilateral exercise. The thrust of the exercise this year would be on Anti-Air Warfare, Anti-Surface Warfare, Anti-Submarine Warfare, Visit Board Search and Seizure (VBSS) and Seamanship Evolutions. 
 
Besides exercises at sea, Konkan-2018 also encompasses professional interactions and sports fixtures.
 
"The exercise is aimed at deriving mutual benefit from each other’s experiences and is indicative of the continuing cooperation between the two countries. The inter-operability achieved over the years as a result of such exercises has proved to be operationally beneficial to both navies. 
 
"The naval cooperation is a tangible symbol of the commitment of both nations in ensuring a positive climate at sea for enhancing strategic stability and promoting economic prosperity," the release added.
 
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IFFI: Golden Peacock for Donbass, Pellissery is Best Director, Chemban chosen Best Actor

Chemban Vinod receiving the Best Actor (Male) award for the Malayalam movie ‘Ee Maa Yau’, at the closing ceremony of the 49th International Film Festival of India (IFFI-2018), in Panaji, Goa on November 28, 2018.
Chemban Vinod receiving the Best Actor (Male) award for the Malayalam movie ‘Ee Maa Yau’, at the closing ceremony of the 49th International Film Festival of India (IFFI-2018), in Panaji, Goa on November 28, 2018.
Donbass, directed by Sergei Loznitsa has won the coveted Golden Peacock Award at the 49th International Film Festival of India (IFFI), which concluded here on Wednesday.
 
Lijo Jose Pellissery got the Best Director and Chemban Vinod the Best Actor awards for the Malayalam film Ee.Ma.Yau. 
 
The Golden Peacock Award carries a cash prize of Rs 4 million to be shared equally between the producer and the director, along with a trophy and the citation.
 
Donbass tells the story of a hybrid war taking place in a region of Eastern Ukraine, involving an open armed conflict alongside killings and robberies perpetrated on a mass scale by separatist gangs. In Donbass, war is called peace and propaganda is uttered as truth. 
 
A journey through Donbass unfolds as a series of curious adventures. This is not just a tale of one region or a political system; it is about a world lost in post-truth and fake identities.
 
Donbass is the official submission of Ukraine for the 'Best Foreign Language Film' category at the 91st Academy Awards in 2019. It was selected as the opening film in the Un Certain Regard section at the 2018 Cannes Film Festival. At Cannes, Sergei Loznitsa won the ‘Un Certain Regard’ Award for Best Director.
 
The Best Director Award went to Lijo Jose Pellissery for his Malayalam film ‘Ee.Ma.Yau’. The film is a stunning satire on death and how it affects human lives. Set in Chellanam, a coastal village in Kerala, the film shows the plight of a son who tries to arrange a worthy funeral for his father; he is however met with unpredictable obstacles and reactions from different quarters. 
 
The Best Director gets the Silver Peacock Award and a cash prize of Rs 1.5 million. Lijo had also won the Best Director Award at the 48th Kerala State Film Awards for the same film.
 
The Best Actor (Male) Award has gone to Chemban Vinod for his portrayal in Ee.Ma.Yau of ‘Eeshi’, a son who tries to arrange a worthy funeral for his father but is faced with unpredictable obstacles and reactions from different quarters.
 
The Best Actor (Female) Award has gone to Anastasiia Pustovit for her portrayal of a ‘Larysa’, a teenage girl in the Ukrainian film ‘When the Trees Fall’.
 
Both Best Actor (Male) and Best Actor (Female) are honoured with the Silver Peacock Trophy and a cash prize of Rs 1 million each.
 
Milko Lazarov walked away with the Special Jury Award for his film ‘Aga’; the film focuses on the story of Sedna and Nanook, an elderly couple from Yakutia and the particular challenges they face in the midst of a frigid landscape. 
 
The Special Jury Award carries a cash prize of Rs 1.5 million (Rs 15 lakhs), a Silver Peacock Award and a citation.
 
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Alberto Monteras II received the Centenary award for ‘Best Debut Feature Film of a Director’ for his Filipino Movie ‘Respeto’. 'Walking with the Wind', directed by Praveen Morchhale, won The ICFT –UNESCO Gandhi Medal instituted by the International Council for Film, Television and Audiovisual Communication, Paris and UNESCO. 
 
The criteria for the Gandhi Medal reflect UNESCO’s fundamental mandate of building peace in the mind of men and women, particularly human rights, intercultural dialogue, promotion and safeguard of the diversity of cultural expressions.
 
‘Walking with the Wind’ tells the story of a 10-year-old boy in Himalayan Terrain, who mistakenly breaks his friend’s school chair. His daily seven km long journey to school in mountainous terrain on a donkey turns mammoth and challenging when he decides to bring the chair to his village.
 
‘Los Silencios’, the Portuguese, Spanish movie directed by Beatriz Seigner got the special mention under ICFT-UNESCO Gandhi medal category.
 
Salim Khan, the celebrated actor, story-screenplay-dialogue writer of Hindi films was honoured with the IFFI 2018 Special Award for his Lifetime Contribution to Cinema. The prestigious award consisting of a cash prize of Rs 1 million (Rs 10 lakhs), Certificate, Shawl and a Scroll has been conferred upon the master filmmaker for his outstanding contribution to cinema.
 
Salim Khan revolutionized Indian cinema in the 1970s, transforming and reinventing the Bollywood formula, pioneering the Bollywood blockbuster format, and pioneering genres such as the masala film and the Dacoit Western.
 
Later, the valedictory ceremony for the 49th edition of International Film Festival of India (IFFI), Goa was held at the Shyama Prasad Mukherjee Indoor Stadium, in Taleigaon. 
 
Union Tourism Minister K J Alphons was present at the ceremony, along with a host of dignitaries from the political and cinematic landscape. Goa Governor Mridula Sinha, Punjab Governor V P Singh Badnore, Union Minister of State for AYUSH Shripad Naik; Minister for Town and Country Planning, Goa, Vijay Sardesai; and I&B Secretary Amit Khare were amongst those present. 
 
Indian film celebrities Anil Kapoor, Rakul Preet, Chitrangada Singh, Diana Penty and Keerthi Suresh walked the red carpet, adding to the colour and glamour of the star-studded evening.
 
Several renowned film personalities such as IFFI 2018 Lifetime Achievement Awardee Dan Wolman, Member of Parliament Manoj Tewari, Anil Kapoor, Arbaaz Khan (son of master screenwriter Salim Khan), Indian Panorama Jury Chief Rahul Rawail, Rakeysh Omprakash Mehra and Kabir Bedi too attended the closing ceremony.
 
Stating that the 49th edition has been a great success, Khare said that film bazaar has elicited a response from various countries across the world. Israel was the focus country and Jharkhand the state focus. 
 
Noting that the preparations for the golden jubilee celebration of the festival next year has begun, the Secretary said the government would like to showcase the film culture of each and every region of the country and trace the history of IFFI. 
 
The facilities at Goa would be enhanced, given the overwhelming response received from film-lovers, he added. 
 
Over the past nine days, more than 220 movies from 67 countries were screened at IFFI. While the festival opened with the world premiere of English film ‘The Aspern Papers’, the world premiere of German film ‘Sealed Lips’ marks the conclusion of this festival bonanza. 
 
As many as 26 feature films and 21 non-feature films were screened in the Indian Panorama section. While Israel was the focus country, Jharkhand was the focus state this year. This is for the first time that any state was made focus state at IFFI. 
 
Veteran Israeli filmmaker Dan Wolman was given the Lifetime Achievement Award at the opening ceremony. Another new section at IFFI this year was the screening of six Indian sports biopics as an extension of the Khelo India initiative.
 
In the International competition section, 15 movies were screened, out of which three were Indian. Festival Kaleidoscope section carried 20 critically acclaimed international films that have been to major film festivals and the majority of them being multiple award winners. World Panorama section had 67 films which are specially curated for the festival. 
 
It included 4 World Premiers, 2 International Premiers, 15 Asia Premiers and 60 India Premiers. This year World Panorama section presented 15 films which are Oscar submissions from their respective countries.
 
At Master classes and In-Conversations, a host of film personalities interacted with delegates. Two movies, Sholay and Hichki, were also screened at this year’s IFFI as part of a special package for visually impaired persons. 
 
Retrospective section of Ingmar Bergman in connection with his birth centenary celebration was another speciality of the festival. 
 
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Flavours of Indian cinema come alive at 49th IFFI opener

A slight pitter-patter of raindrops here on Tuesday evening made way for a vibrant red carpet roll-out for the 49th International Film Festival of India (IFFI) opening ceremony, which saw a melange of action, romance and music, to bring alive different flavours of cinema, but it failed to touch upon the #MeToo storm.
 
Government dignitaries, Bollywood celebrities like Akshay Kumar, Karan Johar, Rakeysh Omprakash Mehra and Prasoon Joshi, apart from international guests and delegates and an audience full of movie buffs came together at the Shyama Prasad Mukherjee Indoor Stadium for the gala.
 
Information and Broadcasting Minister Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore said IFFI was a platform for the younger generation to showcase their talent and for international filmmakers to see India and explore its talent pool.
 
The festival, he said, delves on the past, present and future, as they are screening not just an evergreen Hindi drama like "Sholay" but also discussing the burgeoning world of OTT platforms and its scope.
 
Karan, who hosted a tete-a-tete with Rathore and Akshay "Koffee With Karan" style -- sans the 'coffee' -- also spoke about the "digital revolution" in India.
 
"There's a lot of content on digital space. Now what we have to do is to empower our writers," he said, citing how "other stars" should emulate Akshay in doing "socially relevant films".
 
Other guests from the Indian film world included Rahul Rawail, Mrinal Kulkarni, Hrishitaa Bhatt, Shaji N. Karun, Prasoon Joshi, Randhir Kapoor, Arijit Singh, Poonam Dhillon and Ramesh Sippy among others.
 
Filmmaker Subhash Ghai, who has been accused of drugging and sexually violating a woman -- a claim he has flatly denied -- took a prominent seat at the ceremony even as other film festivals this year took a strong stand against sexual perpetrators in the wake of the #MeToo movement.
 
IFFI has a string of panel discussions this year, but #MeToo seems nowhere in the picture. It was not even spoken about in the opener even as a book titled "Women in Indian Cinema" was unveiled by Governor of Goa Mridula Sinha, Rathore and Sadhna Raut.
 
Instead, there was a segment on Prime Minister Narendra Modi's vision behind planning the 'Statue of Unity' in Gujarat.
 
From the foreign world, Polish writer-director Robert Glnski, "The Aspern Papers" director Julian Landais -- who showcased the trailer of his opening film -- and actors Chin Han, Barbara Meier, Nicholas Hau, Lois Robbins and Tom Fitzpatrick were present at the opening ceremony.
 
Glinski, head of the international jury at the 49th IFFI, won the audience's heart with his 'namaste', and said Goa is where he had come years ago to find his "hippie roots and had a great time".
 
With Israel as its focus country this year, IFFI felicitated veteran Israeli filmmaker Dan Wolman with a Lifetime Achievement honour.
 
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"This is the highest award I have ever received. For me, it is sweeter and meaningful because this award is given in India, a country which I have become very much a part of -- a country whose people, culture and vibrant and phenomenal cinema I admire.
 
"There is chemistry between nations, and I believe there's chemistry between Israel and India. I hope this friendship will manifest in collaborating, in co-productions in the field of cinema," Wolman said.
 
He added that a well-curated package of Israeli films for IFFI reflect mini voices of his nation.
 
Meanwhile, reflecting various genres of cinema, the ceremony had a dance-based performance which moved from classical style to more popular numbers. A touch of romance was added by playback singer Shilpa Rao, who effortlessly sang melodious tracks in different languages.
 
The action was brought on stage first by a group of aerial act artistes, and then by Bollywood actor Sonu Sood, who paid a unique tribute to the industry's action heroes by dancing on songs and performing iconic dialogues of actors like Amitabh Bachchan and Dharmendra.
 
Anchored by Mandira Bedi and Amit Sadh, the show also saw the launch of the web portal of Film Facilitation Office, which will ease out film shootings for Indian as well as international filmmakers in the country.
 
Over its nine-day duration, IFFI 2018 will showcase 212 films from 68 countries, which consist of 2 World Premieres, 16 Academy Award nominated films, 6 Indian rare language films, 3 Indian films competing with 15 international films for the Golden and Silver Peacock awards and more.
 
IANS
 
 
 
 

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49th IFFI opening ceremony to showcase Indian film industry heritage

The gala opening ceremony of the 49th edition of the International Film Festival of India (IFFI) here on Tuesday will showcase the theme of New India through a variety of genres of cinema. 
 
The 90-minute programme will incorporate elements and narratives of the rich and diverse kaleidoscope of the Indian film heritage and industry.
 
It will also feature on-stage performances by mainstream Bollywood artistes – with Sonu Sood doing an action-packed set, Shilpa Rao, a romantic bit and dancers opening the ceremony with a mesmerising act.
 
The ceremony will be attended by Goa Governor Mridula Sinha, Union Minister of State for Information & Broadcasting Col. (Rtd.) Rajyavardhan Rathore, PWD Minister Sudin Madhav Dhavalikar and Film Certification Appellate Tribunal Chairperson Prasoon Joshi.
 
A host of celebrities will walk the red carpet, giving added colour to the ceremony. They include Akshay Kumar, Karan Johar, Julien Landais, Hrishita Bhatt, Madhur Bhandarkar, Subhash Ghai, Arijit Singh, Ramesh Sippy and Chin Han.
 
The ceremony at the Shyama Prasad Mukherjee Indoor Stadium will go live on DD National at 4.30 pm and will also be streamed live on the YouTube channel of PIB youtube.com/pibindia.
 
The show will witness the launch of the Film Facilitation Office, an initiative by the Ministry of Information & Broadcasting.
 
Glimpses of the festival opening film "The Aspern Papers", which tells a story of obsession, grandeur lost and dreams of Byronic adventures will be screened. The film’s director Julien Landais will address the audience on the occasion.
 
Chairman, International Competition Jury and Polish director Robert Glinski will also share his thoughts. Other jury members -- Adrian Sitaru, Anna Ferraioli Ravel, Tom Fitz Patrick and Rakeysh Omprakash Mehra -- will also be present.
 
IFFI 2018 will have 26 feature and 21 non–feature Indian films selected by the Indian Panorama Jury to be screened as part of this section out of the hundreds of entries sent by filmmakers from various parts of the country. 
 
The feature film jury selected the film Olu directed by Shaji N Karun as the opening feature film of Indian Panorama 2018. The non-feature film jury selected the film Kharvas directed by Aditya Suhas Jambhale as the opening non-feature film of Indian Panorama 2018.
 
This edition of the festival will showcase 212 films from over 68 countries which reflect the diversity of taste. International Competition section has 15 films out of which three are Indian. The Competition section itself represents films produced and co-produced by 22 countries.
 
The Country of Focus will be Israel. Ten films, in collaboration with the Consulate General of Israel in Mumbai, have been selected for the country focus package. The opening film for the Country Focus Section is ‘The Other Story’ by Avi Nesher.
 
A State focus section has been proposed for the 49th IFFI, 2018. This section will focus on the films of one of the Indian States, thus shedding light on the art and culture of that particular state. 
 
Jharkhand has been selected as the State of Focus for 49th IFFI 2018 and Jharkhand Day will be celebrated on November 24, 2018, as part of the festival. Movies in the Jharkhand Package include Death in the Gunj, Ranchi Diaries, Begum Jaan with others.
 
The newly-introduced Sketch on Screen (Animation Film Package) section will screen around three international feature length films in collaboration with Indian studios.
 
Open air screenings have been organized during the festival where a large screen is put up in a vast open area. This year as an extension of the Khelo India Branding, Indian Sports Biopics will be screened at the 49th IFFI. The films included in the section are Gold, Mary Kom, Bhaag Milkha Bhaag, 1983, MSD: The untold story and Soorma.
 
The Masterclasses and In-conversation section will feature several renowned celebrities from the film industry including Prasoon Joshi, Dan Wolman, Sreekar Prasad, Anil Kapoor, Sumit Israni, Boney Kapoor, Arjun Kapoor, Jahnvi Kapoor, David Dhawan, Varun Dhawan, Rohit Dhawan, Jairaj, Kaushik Ganguly, Shaji Karun, Srijit Mukherjee, Sridhar and Sreeram Raghvan, Anupama Chopra, Rajiv Masand, Bhawana Somaaya, Jason Hafford, Meghna Gulzar, Leena Yadav and Gauri Shinde.
 
‘Homages’ section pays tribute to Indian film personalities who have passed away in recent months. This year, homage will be paid to Shashi Kapoor, Sridevi, M Karunanidhi and  Kalpana Lajmi. In the International Homages, tributes will be paid to Terence Marsh, Milos Forman, and Anne V Coates.
 
A Special Package for Visually Impaired Children will be organised with special screenings with audio description. The festival will showcase the movies ‘Sholay’ and ‘Hichki’ under this section. This year there will be a special presentation of Tunisian films.
 
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Parrikar knows a lot about Rafale deal: Surjewala

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Former Defence Minister and current Goa Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar, who is suffering from pancreatic cancer, knows a "whole lot of things" about the controversial Rafale fighter jet deal, Congress spokesperson Randeep Singh Surjewala said on Saturday.
 
Asked to substantiate an allegation levelled by state Congress President Girish Chodankar that the BJP national leadership had not been able to replace the ailing Parrikar as CM because the latter knew "dirty secrets" about the Rafale deal, Surjewala said as the Defence Minister when the deal was being worked out, Parrikar "knows a whole lot of things".
 
"He (Parrikar) had refused to endorse the completely conspiratorial decision to enrich Dassault Aviation at the cost of state exchequer," he said, adding: "Now that the facts are out in the open, questions should be asked to Parrikar and Narendra Modi."
 
The Congress has been demanding the resignation of Parrikar as the Chief Minister on account of his ill health. Chodankar has repeatedly claimed that the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)'s national President Amit Shah and PM Narendra Modi were unable to get Parrikar to resign, as the former Defence Minister knew several secrets linked to the Rafale deal.
 
The All India Congress Committee in-charge of Communications, who was in Goa to address a press conference, also alleged that Parrikar had on several occasions resisted the Prime Minister's attempts to inflate the benchmark price for purchase of Rafale jets from France's Dassault Aviation.
 
Surjewala said Parrikar, as well as the Defence Acquisition Council, which comprises the Defence Minister and the three service chiefs, had refused to endorse the increase in the benchmark price for the fighter aircraft from 5.2 billion euros to 9.2 billion euros, but Modi had powered through with the deal on his own.
 
"The file was sent to Parrikar. He refused to endorse the higher price of 8.2 billion euros. He took it to Defence Acquisition Council which was then headed by Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar and the three service chiefs. They also refused to endorse the increase of three billion euros," he claimed.
 
"Finally, the file was sent, as it is, to the CCS (Cabinet Committee on Security) headed by PM. PM Modi there ensured that the benchmark price was increased by 3 billion euros or Rs 23,000 crore. Why did he do so against the advice of his own Defence Minister, Manohar Parrikar?" Surjewala said.
 
Parrikar served as the Defence Minister from 2014-17.
 
IANS
 

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Union Minister retracts comments on replacing Parrikar

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A day after suggesting that ailing Goa Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar needed to be replaced, Union Minister of State for AYUSH Shripad Naik on Sunday retracted his comments saying that Parrikar was handling the state administration efficiently.
 
Naik had told reporters in Panaji that due to the Chief Minister's prolonged illness, replacing Parrikar was a "requirement" and that the change could happen "today or tomorrow".
 
"Even though the Chief Minister is ill, he is handling administrative affairs well. Therefore, there is no need for a change in leadership. If such a need does arise, the party will take a decision," Naik said in a statement.
 
Naik said that his comment on leadership change in Goa was "misinterpreted" by the media and that the question he was posed at a media briefing on Saturday was an "adventurous" one.
 
On Saturday, when asked whether there was a need to replace Parrikar, Naik had said: "Change will have to be done today or tomorrow. It is a requirement. You know the Chief Minister's health is not good. But he is still working in this condition..."
 
Parrikar is suffering from advanced pancreatic cancer and has been in and out of hospitals in Goa, Mumbai, New York and Delhi for nearly nine months. He returned from New Delhi's All-India Institute of Medical Sciences on October 14 and has not moved out of his private residence for any official event since then.
 
The Opposition and ruling coalition allies have been demanding the resignation of the Chief Minister, claiming that the administration has come to a standstill due to Parrikar's long absence.
 
IANS
 

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Former Goa RSS chief announces plunge into electoral politics

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In what could be a worrying sign for the Goa BJP, former state RSS chief Subhash Velingkar, an arch rival of Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar, on Sunday announced his plunge into electoral politics.
 
The announcement comes at a time when the the state BJP as well as the BJP-led coalition government in Goa are facing immense flak over the continuance of ailing Parrikar as Chief Minister despite being under treatment for advanced pancreatic cancer for the last nine months.
 
"I will be actively working for the Goa Suraksha Manch," Velingkar told reporters in Panaji.
 
Asked if he would be contesting the coming bye-elections in Goa's Shiroda and Mandrem constituencies which have been necessitated due to resignations of Congress MLAs from both seats, Velingkar said the decision would be taken at "the appropriate time".
 
He also said that, considering the political chaos in the state, following Parrikar's illness and comfortable numbers in the Assembly still eluding the BJP, the Goa Assembly would be dissolved and fresh polls would be announced in Goa along with Lok Sabha elections in 2019.
 
Velingkar, 66, has served as the state Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh chief for more than two decades and is considered responsible for the political grooming of the state BJP's top leaders including Parrikar, Union Minister of State for AYUSH Shripad Naik and former Chief Minister Laxmikant Parsekar.
 
He was sacked from the RSS in 2016 after he took on Parrikar, who Velingkar accused of backstabbing the principles of both the Sangh as well as BJP. 
 
Velingkar later founded and mentored the Goa Suraksha Manch, a rightwing conservative political party which considers the BJP its key rival.
 
IANS
 

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Malayalam film Olu to open Indian Panorama at 49th IFFI in Goa

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Malayalam film Olu, directed by Shaji N. Karun, will be the opening film of the Indian Panorama section of the 49th International Film Festival of India 2018 to be held in Goa from November 20-28.
 
In  all, the Feature Films jury headed by well-known film director and screenwriter Rahul Rawail has selected 22 feature films for the Panorama.
 
Four mainstream films have also been selected for the Panorama by an Internal Committee of the Directorate of Film Festivals (DFF) based on the recommendations of FFI and Guild.
 
The 22 films selected by the jury include five other Malayalam films -- Bhayanakam (directed by Jayaraj), Makkana (Raheem Khader), Poomaram (Abrid Shine), Sudani From Nigeria (Zakariya) and Ee Maa Yove (Lijo Jose Pellissery) -- and five Bengali films -- Nagarkirtan (Kaushik Ganguly), Sa (Arijit Singh), Uma (Srijit Mukherji), Abyakto (Arjun Dutta) and Uronchondi (Abhishek Saha).
 
The list also includes four Tamil films -- To Let (Chezhiyan Ra), Baaram (Priya Krishnaswamy), Periyerum Perumal BA.BL (Mari Selvaraj) and Peranbu (Ram); two Hindi films -- October (Shoojit Sircar); Bhor (Kamakhya Narayan Singh) and two Marathi films -- Dhappa (Nipun Avinash Dharmadhikari) and Aamhi Doghi (Pratima Joshi).
 
Other films selected for the Panorama include Sinjar (Jasari, Pampally); Walking With The Wind (Ladakhi, Praveen Morchhale); and Paddayi (Tulu, Abhaya Simha).
 
The four mainstream cinema films are Mahanati (Telugu, Nagashwin); Tiger Zinda Hai (Hindi, Ali Abbas Zafar); Padmaavat (Hindi, Sanjay Leela Bhansali) and Raazi (Hindi, Meghna Gulzar).
 
Other members of the Feature Films jury were Major Ravi, filmmaker & actor; Ahathian, director; Ujjwal Chatterjee, director, producer & screenwriter; Imo Singh, director; Utpal Datta, filmmaker; Sekhar Das, director; Mahendra Teredesai, director & writer; Haidar Ali, actor & screenwriter; KG Suresh, journalist & columnist; Chandra Siddarth, director, producer & screenwriter; Adeep Tandon, cinematographer & director; and S Viswanath, film critic & journalist.
 
The Non Feature Film Jury of seven members, headed by film director and editor Vinod Ganatra, has selected 21 non-feature films for the Indian  Panorama.
 
Kharvas directed by Aditya Suhas Jambhale will be the opening film in the Non-Feature Film segment.
 
The following is the list of selected non-feature films: Kharvas (Marathi, Aditya Suhas Jambhale); Sampurak (Bengali, Prabal Chakraborty); Naach Bhikari Naach (Bhojpuri, Jainendra Dost & Shilpi Gulati); Decoding Shankar (English, Deepti Sivan); Gyamo-Queen Of the Mountains (English, Gautam Pandey & Doel Trivedy); The World's Most Famous Tiger (English, S Nalla Muthu); Bunkar: The last of the Varanasi Weavers (English, Satyaprakash Upadhyay); Monitor (Hindi, Hari Viswanath); Nani Teri Morni (Hindi, Akash Aditya Lama); Burning (Hindi, Sanoj VS); Sword of Liberty (Malayalam, Shiny Jacob Benjamin); Midnight Run (Malayalam, Remya Raj); Lasyam (Malayalam, Vinod Mankara); Happy Birthday (Marathi, Medhpranav Babasaheb Powar); Na Bole Wo Haram (Marathi, Nitesh Vivek Patankar); Silent Scream (Marathi, Prasanna Ponde); Yes, I am Mauli (Marathi, Suhas Jahagirdar); Pamphlet (Marathi, Shekhar Bapu Rankhambe); Aai Shappath (Marathi, Gautam Vaze); Bhar Dupari (Marathi, Swapnil Vasant Kapure); and Malai (Oriya, Rajdeep Paul & Sarmistha Maiti).
 
The other members of the jury were Uday Shankar Pani, filmmaker; Parvati Menon, director & film educationist; Mandar Talaulikar, filmmaker; Padmaraj Nair, film journalist; Ashok Sharan, actor & producer; and Suneel Puranik, actor, director & producer.
 
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ISL: FC Goa thrash Pune City 4-2

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FC Goa climbed back to the top in the Indian Super League (ISL) as they thrashed FC Pune City 4-2 at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium here on Sunday.
 
The game saw six goals in the first 35 minutes and the teams reduced to 10 men each towards the final whistle. 
 
Ferran Corominas' brace (5th minute, 35th) and goals from Hugo Boumous and Jackichand Singh gave the hosts their third win while Marcelinho (8th) and Emiliano Alfaro (23rd) scored for the visitors who remain winless. 
 
Diego Carlos and Corominas were sent off late as both teams finished the game with just 10 men each.
 
Just like he had done against Mumbai, Corominas gave the Gaurs an early lead. A well-worked Goa move in the fifth minute saw Ahmed Jahouh release the Spaniard behind the Pune defence and the striker held off Gurtej Singh before applying a smart finish past Vishal Kaith.
 
The Stallions hit back immediately though, as Marcelinho beat an outstretched Mohammad Nawaz with a brilliant chipped finish into the top-right corner.
 
In typical ping-pong fashion, Goa retook the lead by the 12th minute through another well-worked move, with Coro turning provider this time. Boumous delivered an inch-perfect cross back to the midfielder to head past Kaith.
 
Coro had a second assist to his name just minutes later after he sprung the off-side trap before laying the ball for Jackichand to smash into an empty net.
 
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It was a game of shaky defences as Pune once again responded in kind, this time due to an error by Mohammad Nawaz. The young goalkeeper was at fault after he was beaten at his near post by a fierce Alfaro shot.
 
A frantic first period saw attacks from both sides thrive as chances kept coming with regularity at each end but it was the hosts who extended the lead with Coro bagging his second of the night following a goalmouth melee.
 
The second half started just as frantically, with Alfaro and Marko Stankovic coming close to reducing Pune's arrears on separate occasions.
 
Alfaro then earned a penalty for the visitors when he went down under Chinglensana Singh's challenge after the defender had lost possession. However, Nawaz pulled off a fine save from his spot-kick to preserve Goa's two-goal lead.
 
A goal-line clearance by Ashutosh Mehta at the other end denied Coro his hat-trick as both attacks continued to prosper.
 
The Gaurs frustrated the visitors by keeping a stranglehold on the ball and starving them of goal-scoring chances.
 
The visitors finished the game with 10 men after Diego Carlos was shown a straight red for his knee-high challenge on Seriton Fernandes.
 
Goa's night would be marred towards the end as Coro was also shown a straight red card after he slid into a tackle on Stankovic with his studs raised.
 
IANS
 

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ISL: Goa hammer five past hapless Mumbai

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FC Goa surged to the top of the Indian Super League (ISL) table after a comprehensive 5-0 win over Mumbai City FC at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium here on Wednesday.
 
Star striker Ferran Corominas converted an early penalty (6') to hand the hosts the lead before second half strikes from Jackichand Singh (55'), Edu Bedia (61') made it 3-0. A late brace from Miguel Palanca (84', 90') condemned Mumbai City to a heavy defeat. 
 
The game got off to an end-to-end start and Mumbai should have taken the lead when Arnold Issoko scuffed his effort from a corner. 
 
From the ensuing counter, Souvik Chakrabarti brought down Coro with a horrendous challenge which left the referee no option but to point to the spot. The former Espanyol striker pulled off a Panenka which bewildered Amrinder Singh and handed Goa the lead. 
 
The visitors had several opportunities to score the equaliser as they won several free headers inside the Goa box but just could not test Nawaz. Goa threatened themselves but Amrinder came to Mumbai's rescue on occasions. 
 
The floodgates opened in the second session when Seriton Fernandes' cross into the box was turned into the net by Jackichand who got ahead of Souvik Chakrabarti to make it 2-0.
 
The Gaurs then added one more to the tally through Bedia's stunning outside of the foot shot which sailed into the back of the net.
 
Goa were in cruise control by this time. Miguel Palanca, who came on in the 82nd minute, hammered the final nails in Mumbai City's coffin with a well-taken brace. 
 
First, Palanca took Manvir Singh's cross in his stride and lifted a finish over substitute goalkeeper Ravi Kumar before sending a left-footed finish past the goalkeeper in the 90th minute after bringing Ahmed Jahouh's cross from the right wing. 
 
The victory would be proof for Sergio Lobera that his tiki taka ways were producing results. Goa have now scored 10 goals in their first three matches and will next face FC Pune City in the next home game on Sunday.
 
The win sees Goa climb above Bengaluru FC and NorthEast United on goal difference at the top of the table while Mumbai drop to the seventh spot.
 
IANS
 

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Shah finally begins search for leadership alternatives to Parrikar

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The BJP has formally started its hunt for a leadership alternative to ailing Goa Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar, party leaders as well as an alliance partner said on Thursday.
 
The issue of leadership change had been a taboo subject for most of the Bharatiya Janata Party leadership, including MLAs and state BJP president Vinay Tendulkar, who until late on Wednesday had maintained that there was no question of even discussing possible alternatives to Parrikar's leadership as the Chief Minister, who is suffering from advanced pancreatic cancer, was "recovering" and "governing the state well".
 
The obduracy over the issue of leadership alternatives to Parrikar appears to have given way to a sense of pragmatism in the BJP ranks, especially with their national President Amit Shah formally broaching the subject with leaders from Goa's ruling coalition parties.
 
"Amit Shahji spoke to leaders from our coalition parties today in Delhi. They discussed possible leadership options for the near future. A final decision will be taken after consultation with the party high command and state leadership," a BJP leader told IANS on condition of anonymity.
 
Among the names of leaders discussed as possible Chief Minister alternatives at the meeting held between Shah, Goa Forward party President Vijai Sardesai and Maharashtrawadi Gomantak Party leader Sudin Dhavalikar and other BJP leaders include Union Minister of State for AYUSH Shripad Naik, state BJP president Vinay Tendulkar, Speaker Pramod Sawant and Health Minister Vishwajit Rane, the party official said.
 
Sardesai, who met Shah earlier today, has also maintained that the BJP leadership is "seriously looking" at the leadership issue. "Some names have been discussed," Sardesai said.
 
The failure of Chief Minister Parrikar to attend to day-to-day administrative and political chores due to prolonged treatment of cancer has thrown Goa into a political crisis for several weeks.
 
The BJP earlier this week inducted two MLAs from the Congress into its own party, in a bid to foil a government-toppling plan being engineered by the opposition party. 
 
Ever since Parrikar's health conditioned worsened, allies like Goa Forward as well as the MGP had been in touch with Congress leaders tinkering with a possible regime change, even as they had also been pressurising the BJP to allocate more plum portfolios to ministers from the coalition parties.
 
IANS
 

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Two Congress legislators in Goa quit, join BJP

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Hours after resigning as members of Goa Assembly, Congress legislators, Subhash Shirodkar and Dayanand Sopte, on Tuesday joined the BJP in the presence of Union Minister Piyush Goyal.
 
"Both the strong leaders will strengthen the hands of Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar in Goa. I welcome and congratulate them for joining BJP," Goyal said.
 
Union Minister Shripad Yesso Naik, Goa BJP President Vinay Tendulkar and Health Minister in the BJP-led coalition government in Goa Vishwajit Rane were also present at the party headquarters.
 
The two Congress MLAs earlier met BJP chief Amit Shah and soon after resigned from the state Assembly. 
 
Goa Assembly Speaker Pramod Sawand accepted their resignations after talking to them on phone as they had faxed their resignations.
 
The latest spell of political instability in Goa has been triggered by an ailing Parrikar, with coalition allies beginning to clamour for meaty portfolios and the BJP readying alternatives to the former Defence Minister, who is suffering from advanced pancreatic cancer.
 
The resignations also dulled the Congress' strategic advantage as the single largest party in the 38-member Goa Legislative Assembly, bringing its legislative strength at par with the BJP's 14.
 
The incumbent BJP-led coalition government has 14 BJP MLAs, supported by three MLAs each from the Goa Forward, Maharashtrawadi Gomantak Party, three Independent MLAs and Nationalist Congress Party MLA Churchill Alemao.
 
IANS
 

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Parrikar arrives in Goa after being discharged from AIIMS

Manohar Parrikar
Manohar Parrikar
Goa Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar on Sunday returned to the state, after being discharged from Delhi's All India Institute of Medical Sciences, where he was being treated for advanced pancreatic cancer.
 
Parrikar arrived in Goa by a special flight and headed straight to his private residence, near Panaji, where a government-operated ambulance and a medical crew were kept on a stand-by.
 
The former Union Defence Minister was ferried, under a police escort, by an ambulance from the airport and was taken inside his residence with the help of a stretcher.
 
Parrikar was admitted to AIIMS on September 15. He has been in and out of hospitals in Goa, Mumbai, New York and now Delhi for the last seven months.
 
On Friday, Parrikar held a meeting of his Cabinet Ministers and senior members of the BJP State Executive Committee at AIIMS.
 
The Congress has been demanding Parrikar's resignation on account of his prolonged illness and his absence from office.
 
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SpiceJet connects Amritsar with Bangkok and Goa

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Low-cost carrier SpiceJet today said it would launch new daily flights from Amritsar to Bangkok in Thailand and Goa -- the only airline to offer direct connectivity on these routes.
 
The new flights will be effective from November 6, a press release from the airline said.
 
Bangkok is the second international destination after Dubai that SpiceJet will be connecting via a direct flight from Amritsar.
 
Bangkok is one of the most preferred international destinations for Indian tourists with record numbers of tourists visiting the Thai capital every year. Goa is also one of India’s favourite travel destinations. 
 
Earlier passengers from Amritsar had to travel to Delhi to board flights for both the destinations. The new flights will enhance customer convenience manifold, the release said.
 
The announcement was made in the august presence of Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh. On the occasion, Mr. Kamal Hingorani, Chief Customer Service Officer, SpiceJet handed over the first ticket to Capt. Amarinder Singh, thereby marking the formal announcement of the launch of the new flight service.
 
Shilpa Bhatia, Chief Sales and Revenue Officer, SpiceJet said, “Both Bangkok and Goa are among top picks for leisure travelers and we see immense potential in these routes. SpiceJet is proud to be the only Indian carrier to offer direct connectivity from Amritsar to Bangkok and Goa. We are constantly scaling up our network in both domestic and international markets and we will continue to eye new growth markets offering enhanced convenience for our customers.”
 
SpiceJet will deploy its Boeing aircraft on both the routes, the release added.
 
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Congress stakes claim in Goa, BJP-led alliance ponders on next CM

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Political activity in Goa gathered steam on Monday in the absence of an ailing Manohar Parrikar, with the Congress staking claim to form a government in Goa even as leaders of the BJP-led alliance discussed leadership options to replace the Chief Minister who is currently being treated for pancreatic cancer at the AIIMS in Delhi.
 
In a letter submitted to Raj Bhavan, Leader of Opposition Chandrakant Kavlekar demanded that in view of the political instability arising out of Parrikar's absence from office, the state Assembly should not be dissolved or held in suspended and instead the Congress, the single largest party, should be invited to take power.
 
"We have requested the Governor that the government should not be dissolved and put the state on the path of elections. We have also asked her not to impose President's Rule or keep the House in suspended animation. People have elected us for five years. Imposing an election after a mere 18 months is not good for anybody," Kavlekar said.
 
"We also apprehended that false letters or statements may be attributed to Leaders of INC (Indian National Congress), claiming there is a desire on the part of the INC to accept recommendation for dissolution of the Goa Assembly. This is not true and should not be accepted without adverting to a floor test," the letter signed by 16 Congress MLAs also said.
 
Governor Mridula Sinha is not in Goa. The Congress MLAs are expected to meet her when she returns on Tuesday.
 
Earlier, a team of Bharatiya Janata Party central observers, including General Secretary in charge of the organisation Ram Lal, who on Sunday had met BJP MLAs and leaders from alliance parties and independent lawmakers, conversed with senior BJP leaders from the party's core committee as well as former MLAs in a bid to draw up a list of potential alternative options for the post of Chief Minister, in place of Parrikar.
 
From Monday morning till afternoon, Ram Lal met former Chief Minister Laxmikant Parsekar, former Speaker Rajendra Arlekar, former Power Minister Mahadev Naik and former Tourism Minister Dilip Parulekar among others.
 
"We have said that the CM (Parrikar) should continue. It will be for the good... He is undergoing treatment. He will recover sooner or later. There was no discussion on whether someone else should be appointed in charge. The High Command will decide that," Mahadev Naik told reporters.
 
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Ram Lal, however, initially tried to play down the discussions on leadership change, later insisting that the final call could be taken by BJP President Amit Shah.
 
"The government is strong and has the full majority, what is going to happen? It is not for me to decide (on a permanent solution). Whatever everyone has said I will place before the national president. What decision has to be taken will be taken. The government has to function," Ram Lal said, adding that there was no proposal for merger of any of the supporting alliance parties into the BJP.
 
Ram Lal's comment came on a day when Amit Shah also called on Parrikar at AIIMS.
 
Meanwhile, both key allies the Goa Forward and Maharashtrawadi Gomantak Party have put the ball in the BJP's court as far the decision of leadership is concerned.
 
"We want common solution from the BJP, which will be agreeable to all alliance partners," MGP President Dipak Dhavalikar said, even as party sources suggest that the party has already pitched for Public Works Department Sudin Dhavalikar to be appointed as Chief Minister in Parrikar's absence.
 
Goa Forward President Vijai Sardesai has opposed Parrikar's proposal to appoint Dhavalikar as Deputy Chief Minister and has insisted on a "permanent solution" to the leadership issue, rather than opting for an ad hoc route.
 
IANS
 

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As BJP searches for Parrikar's successor, Congress stakes claim to form government

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Even as the ruling BJP-led coalition alliance looks for a new leader to replace ailing Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar, Congress MLAs on Monday staked claim to form a government in Goa.
 
Leader of Opposition Chandrakant Kavlekar visited Raj Bhavan and submitted a letter to Governor Mridula Sinha's office signed by all 16 Congress MLAs, demanding that she should not dissolve the Assembly and pave way for a fresh election.
 
This follows the political turmoil following Parrikar's airlift to a Delhi hospital last week. The Congress urged the Governor to instead invite the Congress, the single largest party, to form a government.
 
"We have requested the Governor that the government should not be dissolved and put the state on the path of elections. We have also asked her not to impose President's Rule or keep the House in suspended animation. People have elected us for five years... Imposing an election after a mere 18 months is not good for anybody," Kavlekar said.
 
In a formal demand to Sinha, Kavlekar has said: "That any recommendation for dissolution of the Goa Assembly ought not to be accepted... That the Congress being the single largest party, ought to be invited to form the government."
 
Kavlekar said he feared that a false letter or statement may be submitted to the Governor claiming the Congress recommended dissolution of the state Assembly.
 
"We also apprehended that false letters or statements may be placed attributed to Leaders of the INC (Indian National Congress), claiming there is a desire on the part of the INC to accept recommendation for dissolution of the Goa legislative assembly. This is not true and should not be accepted without adverting to a floor test," the letter said.
 
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Sinha is currently not in the state and is expected to return to Goa on Tuesday.
 
Kavlekar's staking the claim comes at a time when BJP central observers are in the state meeting leaders of their own party and allies to finalise an alternative for Parrikar who has been fighting advanced pancreatic cancer for several months.
 
He has been shifted to the All India Institute of Medical Sciences in Delhi.
 
State Congress President Girish Chodankar in a letter to the Governor last week also warned her against dissolving the House, seeking an opportunity for the Congress to form a government.
 
The Congress is the single largest party in the 40-member Goa Assembly with 16 MLAs, while the BJP, with 14 MLAs, is supported by three members each of Goa Forward and Maharashtrawadi Gomantak Party, a Nationalist Congress Party legislator and three independent MLAs.
 
What queers the pitch in the number game, however, is the health conditions of three BJP MLAs. While Parrikar is severely afflicted by cancer, Urban Development Minister Francis D'Souza is currently taking treatment for cancer in New York and Power Minister Pandurang Madkaikar, who suffered from a brainstroke some months back, is bed-ridden at his private residence near Panaji.
 
IANS

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Goa: Allies step up pressure on BJP over leadership crisis

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The Goa Forward MLAs and independent legislators stepped up pressure on BJP leaders on Sunday to demand a permanent solution to the leadership crisis, even as BJP MLAs queued up to meet representatives of the High Command in a bid to decide future course of political action in view of Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar's hospitalisation.
 
Speaking to reporters before meeting BJP's central team comprising  General Secretary Ram Lal, B. L. Santosh and Vijay Puranik, Town and Country Planning Minister and Goa Forward President Vijai Sardesai said that he had the support of five other MLAs and that all of them in one voice were going to demand a permanent solution to the current crisis.
 
"We six want a permanent solution. We do not want a temporary arrangement. This is what we are going to tell them," Sardesai said.
 
The six lawmakers include three Goa Forward Ministers (including Sardesai) namely Fisheries Minister Vinod Palienkar and Housing Minister Jayesh Salgaokar, two Independent Ministers Rohan Khaunte and Govind Gaude and another Independent MLA Prasad Gaokar.
 
Representatives of the Maharashtrawadi Gomantak Party, which has three MLAs in the 40-member Goa Assembly, are expected to meet the BJP central leaders later this evening.
 
A proposal to make senior MGP leader and Public Works Department Minister Sudin Dhavalikar a Deputy Chief Minister officiating as Chief Minister has been opposed by Goa Forward.
 
The three central leaders are in the state to find a solution to a leadership crisis, which has arisen after Parrikar was shifted to the All India Institute of Medical Sciences in Delhi on Saturday, creating a leadership void in the coastal state.
 
The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) currently have 14 MLAs in the 40-member state assembly, of which three are severely ill. And therefore, support of allies is critical to the survival of the government.
 
BJP MLAs, who met the central observers all through Sunday afternoon, have reposed their faith in Parrikar's leadership for now and have insisted that a new leader, if needed, should come from the BJP ranks.
 
IANS

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Goa CM Manohar Parrikar admitted to AIIMS Delhi for treatment

Manohar Parrikar
Manohar Parrikar
Goa Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar, who is suffering from advanced pancreatic cancer, was on Saturday admitted at the All India Institute for Medical Sciences (AIIMS) for further treatment and examination.
 
Sources said Parrikar, 62, came to Delhi by a special chartered flight and reached AIIMS around 1.10 p.m. He will be under observation of Dr Pramod Garg, Professor of Gastroenterology and Associate Dean (Research). 
 
No medical bulletin has been issued by the premier medical institute.
 
Parrikar has been in and out of hospitals in the US, Mumbai and Goa since February.
 
The Goa CM also held meetings with Speaker Pramod Sawant and Deputy Speaker Michael Lobo amid talks of distribution of some portfolios currently being looked after by him.
 
"Portfolios would be distributed today to existing ministers so that the administration of Goa can run smoothly and ministers can take decisions on any files. He will distribute 48 portfolios, but will keep two or three like Home, Finance, GAD for himself," Lobo told reporters after meeting Parrikar at a private hospital in the beach village of Candolim, located 15 km from Panaji.
 
Apart from key portfolios, Parrikar also holds charge of ministries allocated to Francis D'Souza and Pandurang Madkaikar, both of whom have been hospitalised due to severe ailments.
 
A central team of Bharatiya Janata Party observers is also expected to arrive in Goa and meet legislators and representatives of allied parties, while also finalising an alternative leader of the BJP-led coalition government in Parrikar's absence.
 
Lobo said that the decision of change of leadership has not been taken yet and that Parrikar would continue as the Chief Minister. 
 
"This can be only discussed at a time when he cannot continue anymore. Till then it is not right to discuss. The national leaders will discuss with the core committee. If that need arises, only then a decision on change will be taken," he added.
 
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Parrikar heads to AIIMS Delhi for medical treatment

Manohar Parrikar
Manohar Parrikar
Ailing Goa Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar on Saturday headed to the national capital via a special chartered flight for further treatment and examination at the All India Institute for Medical Sciences (AIIMS).
 
Parrikar, who is suffering from advanced pancreatic cancer, also held meetings with Speaker Pramod Sawant and Deputy Speaker Michael Lobo amid talks of distribution of some portfolios currently being looked after by him.
 
"Portfolios would be distributed today to existing ministers so that the administration of Goa can run smoothly and ministers can take decisions on any files. He will distribute 48 portfolios, but will keep two or three like Home, Finance, GAD for himself," Lobo told reporters after meeting Parrikar at a private hospital in the beach village of Candolim, located 15 km from Panaji.
 
Apart from holding key portfolios, Parrikar is holding charge of ministries allocated to Francis D'Souza and Pandurang Madkaikar, both of whom have been hospitalised due to severe ailments.
 
A central team of Bharatiya Janata Party observers is also expected to arrive in Goa and meet legislators and representatives of allied parties, while also finalising an alternative leader of the BJP-led coalition government in Parrikar's absence.
 
Lobo also said, that the decision of change of leadership has not been taken yet and that Parrikar would continue as the Chief Minister. 
 
"This can be only discussed at a time when he cannot continue anymore. Till then it is not right to discuss. The national leaders will discuss with core committee. If that need arises, only then a decision on change will be taken," he added.
 
Parrikar has been in and out of hospitals in the US, Mumbai and Goa since February.
 
The Chief Minister's continued absence from office has been a subject of criticism among the Opposition as well as civil society.
 
IANS
 

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Parrikar steps out of hospital to join Ganesh festival at home

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Ailing Goa Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar on Friday evening left a private hospital, where he was admitted for the last two days, to attend Ganesh Chaturthi celebrations at his ancestral home in Parra village, located about 10 km from Panaji.
 
Parrikar, who is being treated for advanced pancreatic cancer, surprised waiting journalists by walking out of the clinic in Candolim beach village, wearing a non-customary full-sleeved white shirt and stepping into the front seat of a waiting car, which drove straight to his ancestral residence, where other members of his family were awaiting him.
 
Sources said he is expected to head back to the clinic, after paying his respects to the Ganesh idol at his ancestral residence.
 
Parrikar's emergence from the clinic came minutes after a core committee meeting of the state Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leaders got underway here, to deliberate on the prevailing political situation in Goa, with the Chief Minister hospitalised for several days now.
 
The 62-year-old former Defence Minister, who had been resting at his private residence near Panaji ever since his return from the US on September 6, was admitted to this very clinic operated by a relative last week, before being admitted a second time, two days back, after sources said he had developed fever.
 
The Chief Minister earlier this month, returned from the US -- for the third time in six months -- where he was undergoing treatment for this ailment. He has not attended office since his return from New York, inviting criticism from the Opposition as well as the civil society.
 
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Parrikar admitted to private clinic, skips Ganesh Chaturthi celebration

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Ailing Goa Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar, who is being treated for advanced pancreatic cancer, was on Thursday admitted to a private clinic in the beach village of Candolim in North Goa, after he developed fever.
 
Deputy Speaker of Goa Legislative Assembly, Michael Lobo told reporters that Parrikar had been admitted to the clinic, but refused to divulge details about his health.
 
"He has been admitted to the clinic for treatment," said Lobo, who is a legislator from the Calangute assembly constituency, where the village of Candolim is located.
 
Sources said that Parrikar, who has been resting at his private residence near Panaji, ever since his return from the US on September 6, had been admitted to the same clinic in Candolim once before earlier this week.
 
Parrikar also did not attend the traditional Ganesh Chaturthi puja at his ancestral home in the village of Parra in North Goa, a ritual he has been observing for decades.
 
The Chief Minister earlier this month, returned from the US -- for the third time in six months -- where he was undergoing treatment for this ailment. 
 
He has not attended office since his return.
 
IANS
 

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Congress, BJP spar over Mallya; Rahul seeks Jaitley's resignation

A fresh war of words broke out between the BJP and Congress over Vijay Mallya on Thursday with Congress President Rahul Gandhi seeking Finance Minister Arun Jaitleys resignation over "free passage" given to the fugitive businessman and the BJP hitting out by alleging that UPA government gave "sweet deals" to him.
 
Jaitley-Mallya meet: Rahul demands FM's resignation
 
 
A fresh war of words broke out between the BJP and Congress over Vijay Mallya on Thursday with Congress President Rahul Gandhi seeking Finance Minister Arun Jaitleys resignation over "free passage" given to the fugitive businessman and the BJP hitting out by alleging that UPA government gave "sweet deals" to him and that Gandhi family "partially owned the now-defunct Kingfisher Airlines through proxy".
 
The ruling party rejected the demand for Jailtley's resignation and instead sought to turn the tables on the Congress by asking Gandhi to quit in view of his involvement in National Herald case. 
 
The day saw two press conferences each by the Congress and BJP with Gandhi coming to party's central office to attack Jaitley. 
 
It came a day after Mallya said he had met Jaitley and the Union Minister rubbished the claim, saying there was no formal meeting.
 
Gandhi accused Jaitely of "colluding" with Mallya who is facing charges of fraud and money laundering amounting to around Rs 9,000 crore.
 
He asked why Jaitley did not inform the investigating agencies about Mallya's plans to leave India.
 
"There is a clear-cut collusion. He (Jaitley) should have confessed (about the meeting) and he should resign. The Finance Minister talks to an absconder (Mallya) and the absconder tells the Finance Minister that I am going to London. The Finance Minister neither told the CBI, the ED or the police, why?
 
"He was given a free passage to leave the country by the Finance Minister. There was a lookout notice against Mallya which was diluted to an inform notice. Who changed it? This can be done only by one who controls the CBI," he alleged. 
 
Gandhi also demanded to know if the decision was taken by Jaitley himself or the "order came from the top".
 
"The Finance Minister has colluded with a criminal running away from the country. He was told by the criminal that he is going to run away but the Finance Minister did nothing. The government is lying on Rafale, they are lying on Mallya".
 
At the media conference, Congress MP P.L. Punia claimed he was an eyewitness to the meeting between Jaitley and Mallya in the Central Hall of Parliament a day before the businessman fled the country on March 2, 2016. 
 
Punia claimed the meeting between Jaitley and Mallya lasted 15-20 minutes and asked if Mallya had taken permission from Jaitley about his planned flight abroad.
 
Hitting out at the Congress, BJP spokesperson Sambit Patra alleged that there were documents that show how RBI and UPA under Sonia Gandhi and Manmohan Singh had given sweet deals to Kingfisher Airlines.
 
"And it appears through these chain of documents that Kingfisher Airlines was owned not by Mallya but by the Gandhi family through proxy," he alleged showing the letters written by RBI to SBI requesting for the restructuring of the loans of Kingfisher Airline
 
The accuracy of the documents could not be ascertained. There was no immediate response from Rahul Gandhi's office.
 
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Patra also alleged that the party has enough evidence which shows that Rahul Gandhi was "using black money" and the Gandhi family was helping Mallya with sweet deals. 
 
He claimed that Rahul Gandhi travelled free in Kingfisher Airlines, which was once owned by Mallya.
 
"Rahul Gandhi took one crore loan from a shell company, we have the confession of the company director," Patra alleged. 
 
At another press conference, Congress Communications In-charge Randeep Singh Surjewala posed specific questions to the Modi government. 
 
"Why was no action taken against Vijay Mallya for bank fraud despite registration of an FIR by CBI on July 29, 2015? Who asked CBI to change its look-out notice of October 16, 2015 into a mere 'inform notice' on November 23, 2015? Who directed the banks to delay filing of the case in the Supreme Court," he asked.
 
Earlier in the day, Union Law Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad told reporters that all the allegations against Jaitley were "false". 
 
"All these remarks are being made after Rahul Gandhi's London visit. Is there anything common between them (Mallya and Rahul Gandhi)?" he asked. 
 
Railways Minister Piyush Goyal, who addressed a press conference at the BJP headquarters, said Rahul Gandhi was "facing serious criminal charges" and that he "should first resign."
 
"Those who took loans from hawala companies and accumulated wealth by taking government land free of cost or at lower rate from National Herald and whose case was rejected by Delhi High Court, should resign first," he said. 
 
He also dismissed the claims of Punia about Mallya meeting Jaitley in the Central Hall of Parliament. 
 
IANS
 

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Manohar Parrikar, being treated for cancer, returns from US

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Goa Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar on Thursday returned from the US two days ahead of schedule, and headed for his private residence near here.
 
Parrikar, who is being treated abroad for advanced pancreatic cancer, had gone to the US on August 30, the third time in six months.
 
The Chief Minister arrived at the Dabolim International Airport around 5.30 p.m. and did not speak to the media gathered outside.
 
Parrikar's early return coincides with murmurs about the possibility of some Congress MLAs joining the ruling party ranks. The Congress has however dismissed media reports to this effect and blamed the Bharatiya Janata Party's "fake news factory".
 
Parrikar's absence from Goa has attracted flak from the opposition that claims that governance has come to a standstill in the coastal state.
 
IANS
 
 

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Parrikar heads to US for treatment

Manohar Parrikar
Manohar Parrikar
Amid demands for dismissal of his government by the opposition and confusion in the state BJP ranks over leadership issues, Goa Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar left for the US from Mumbai early on Thursday for treatment of advanced pancreatic cancer.
 
"The Chief Minister left by a 1.30 a.m. flight. He is expected to be back in a week's time," sources close to Parrikar said.
 
Parrikar was admitted to Mumbai's Lilavati Hospital last week, hours after he returned to Goa from a New York medical facility, following a second round of treatment abroad.
 
The Congress in the state has appealed to Goa Governor Mridula Sinha to dismiss the BJP-led coalition government in the coastal state due to the severe health crisis that has hit the state cabinet. 
 
Four out of the 12 cabinet ministers including Parrikar, have been suffering from serious ailments, which has forced them to abstain from discharging their official duty to full capacity.
 
On Wednesday, there was confusion in the ranks of the Bharatiya Janata Party, as well as alliance partners, over facilitating an "alternative arrangement" in the absence of Parrikar.
 
While Union Minister of the State for AYUSH and North Goa MP Shripad Naik told reporters on Wednesday, that he would be meeting party chief Amit Shah along with the members of its state core committee to form an alternative arrangement, some members of the committee later said that there were no such plans on the anvil.
 
The Chief Minister's Office was later forced to issue a statement saying Parrikar himself would be overseeing functioning of the coalition government from the US.
 
Parrikar was diagnosed in February and was treated in a New York medical facility from March to June. On August 10, Parrikar had again left for the US for review of his treatment.
 
IANS
 

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