Swearing-in-ceremony of the cabinet is an official function, where members of the Cabinet are inducted with a solemn pledge to be faithful to the Constitution of India and to serve the people. This affirmation of allegiance cannot be reduced to a public meeting and still worse as a congregation of the ruling party.

In keeping with the established protocol, in Goa the swearing in ceremony has always been at the Cabo Raj Niwas when Goa was a Union territory and later at the Goa Raj Bhavan after Goa attained Statehood.

The only exception was when the swearing in ceremony of the BJP government on 9th March 2012 was held at Sports Authority of Goa (SAG) grounds at Campal costing the State exchequer a total of Rs 10, 91,782 of which Rs 66,000 was spent on 222 kgs of peddas, Rs 93,120 on waterbottles while Rs 48,000 on 6000 batata vadas and another Rs 48,000 on 6000 vegetable patties. It was felt then that it was a huge needless expense.

But the swearing in ceremony of the Pramod Sawant cabinet held on 28th March which had the appearance of a mela dedicated to only the BJP party is expected to have cost Rs seven crores when all the expenses are added up. So compared to the 2012 swearing in ceremony, the cost is 62 times more and in terms of percentage it has increased 6262%. What a crying shame that at this time of rising inflation the poor taxpayer was forced to incur extortionate expenditure that we can ill afford. A solemn occasion that should have incurred minimal expenditure and shown respect to the State and the electorate was hijacked by the incoming Government and turned into a raucous personal celebration for self-praise and to impress their party high command and political masters in Delhi.

If Satya Pal Malik was the Governor, he would have never allowed such a criminal waste of taxpayers’ money. No wonder on August 18th, 2020, Pramod Sawant while on his first innings as Chief Minister managed to get Governor Malik shunted out of Goa overnight.

How we all wish the incoming Cabinet had subjected their egos to the great cause of a solemn swearing in ceremony to only pledge allegiance to the state and the people, without the inflated and uncalled for festivities for the privileged few and a waste of financial resources.

The late Martin Luther King Jr was right to stress ‘the need for leaders of sound integrity, leaders not in love with publicity but in love with justice. Leaders not in love with money but in love with humanity. Leaders who can subject their egos to the greatness of the cause’.

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