In a dramatic twist to the elections of the board of directors of the Goa state cooperative bank on Sunday, the government wrested control of the apex financing agency in the cooperative sector in Goa and Daman and Diu. The bank has total deposits of Rs 1,100 crore.
The government-supported panel headed by Sanguem BJP MLA Subhash Phaldesai actually lost to the panel led by GSCB chairman Ramchandra Mule. The board has a total of 16 directors. Mule’s panel fielded 15 candidates and won nine seats while the Phaldesai panel fielded seven candidates and won six.
Hardly two hours after the election results were declared at 5.30pm, two victorious candidates from the Mule panel and one independent pledged support to the Phaldesai group taking their tally to nine. The two candidates who switched sides are Datta Hari Bhat and Umesh Balkrishna Shirodkar. The independent candidate who extended support to the Phaldessai group is Premanand Vasu Chawdikar. Officially, the bank elections are not fought between panels.
Though the elections to the posts of chairman and vice-chairman were scheduled to be held soon after the election results were declared, none of the elected members attended the meeting. Returning officer HP Gemini told TOI, “Notices were served to all newly-elected board members but they did not come for the meeting to elect the chairman and the vice-chairman. I waited from 6.30pm to 7.30pm and then I had no option but to postpone the elections till August 28.”
In a hurriedly-called press conference at his official Altinho residence at 8.15pm, chief minister Manohar Parrikar said nine victorious candidates had called upon him and expressed their keenness to resurrect the bank. Parrikar said another two victorious candidates will soon support the Phaldesai group. Sources said one is Vidhya Ramkrishna Parab and the other is yet unknown.
Parrikar pledged the government’s support to the new board of directors. “I have told them to stay united and to work to restore to the bank its original glory. The government will support it fully,” Parrikar said, adding that Sunday’s elections were manipulated.
Parrikar said the newly-elected directors have requested him the government’s support in terms of agricultural schemes and to finance the government’s Laadli Laxmi scheme through the bank. Parrikar said the government will consider the request.
The chief minister promised action against the outgoing board of directors led by Mule, blaming it of looting the bank for seven years. Parrikar said officials of the Reserve Bank of India had informed the government about various irregularities in the GSCB and the need to save it. Parrikar said bank is in a precarious condition with high NPA and a very poor capital adequacy ratio.
Asked about the Rs 46-crore loan the government-owned Kadamba transport corporation owes GSCB, Parrikar said the government will work out the issue with the new board once it takes over. The government will also address employees’ grievances once the new board takes over, Parrikar said.
Closeted in the chairman’s chamber till late in the evening, a tired-looking Mule declined to comment. Going to the returning officer’s chamber, he made a forceful demand to hold the elections to the post of chairman and vice-chairman within seven days. Said a member of the Phaldessai group, “We are nine now. But many days are left for the election of the chairman and vice-chairman. More candidates may support our group considering that we have government support.”
After the BJP won the assembly elections in March, the government never hid its intentions to take over the apex bank. Hurling charges of scams and irregularities against the Mule-headed board of directors, the BJP government even demanded the Mule-group’s resignation. In June, Mule refused, even accusing the government of causing the bank’s downfall and asking it to pay the Rs 46-crore loan.
CONSTITUENCY-WISE LIST OF ELECTED CANDIDATES
- Ramchandra Govind Naik Mule (Mule group)
- Avelino Marcos Sebastiao D’Silva (Phaldessai group)
- Prabhakar Krishna Gauns (Mule group)
- Krishna Vasudev Kudnekar (Phaldessai group)
- Dattatraya Atmaram Naik (Phaldessai group)
- Datta Hari Bhat (switched from Mule group to Phaldessai group after elections)
- Sanjay Prabhakar Sawant Dessai (Phaldessai group)
- Ulhas Baban Phaldessai (Phaldessai group)
- Narayan Vasudev Mandrekar (Phaldessai group)
- Premanand Vasu Chawdikar (Earlier Independent, now supporting Phaldessai group)
- Baburao Shrikant Fotto Desai (Mule group)
- Umesh Balkrishna Shirodkar (switched from Mule group to Phaldessai group after elections)
- Mohanbhai Premabhai Tandel (Mule group)
- Rameshbhai Jivabhai Bamania (Mule group – elected unopposed)
- Gopal Atmaram Parab (Mule group)
- Vidhya Ramkrishna Parab (Mule group – elected unopposed)