Panaji, March 1: Goa Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar Saturday that information relating to funding for political parties should come under the Right to Information (RTI) Act.
Participating on a debate on Headlines Today channel, Parrikar said he was in favour of bringing income source of political parties under scrutiny of RTI in a “restrictive way”.
“I support political parties being brought under RTI in a restrictive way. I don’t agree internal party matters must be in public domain, but funding should be. I am a big supporter of RTI,” he said.
The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader’s comments are significant since all parties have ruled out coming under the RTI ambit.
He, however, refused to be drawn into giving a reaction on Arvind Kejriwal’s demand the BJP must come clean on who was funding the party’s prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi.
Parrikar, who last year caused flutters in the party with his remark that the 2002 post-Godhra riots in Gujarat were a blot on Modi’s career, deftly fielded several questions on what he now thought about the Gujarat chief minister.
To a question on why Modi was not still apologising for the way the Gujarat riots were handled, he said: “You should ask Modi. But he’s pained by it. Whether he should apologise, that depends on the temperament of a person. I don’t think he needs to apologise.”
Asked how he would have handled the situation had the riots taken place in Goa, he said: “If a similar situation would have happened here, I would have acted on it.”
The Goa chief minister added that 12 years have passed and people learn from past experiences. Modi is an able administrator and there was no law or order problem now.
Parrikar said Modi was not dictatorial but assertive. And he was sure that as the scope of his role expanded, the latter would be more consultative in nature on issues.
In a tongue-in-cheek comment on Modi, he said: “He’s a good learner. He has picked up from the Goa model.” The Goa model being that the BJP government is not seen as one with a Hindutva agenda.
He defended Modi for not appearing before the media, saying: “He’s busy connecting with the people now, and when he will give an interview, it won’t be like Rahul Gandhi’s.”
Defending the cult within the party vis-a-vis Modi, Parrikar said right from the times of the Ramayana, Indians have loved being led by individuals.
“Cult is not a new phenomenon for this country… You take it from Ramayana time. You will find (that) being led by one person was always liked by people,” Parrikar said, when asked why a cadre-based outfit like the BJP was succumbing to Modi’s personality cult.
On Kejriwal, another ex-IITian who became chief minister of Delhi even if it was for 49 days, Parrikar said: “Dreams don’t become a reality unless you have executive abilities. My personal opinion is that had the BJP announced Harsh Vardhan’s name four weeks before it actually made him chief ministerial candidate, the saffron party would have got at least 40 seats.”
The Goa chief minister denied he had taken special interest in the Tarun Tejpal case. “I didn’t take centrestage on the Tejpal case. I don’t interfere with police work. I only told police that don’t get influenced by anyone. If a highly place media personality does something wrong, then the punishment should be quick and harsh.”