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Goa India News

Int’l tourists, labourers bring drugs to Goa: Sawant

“Our nation should be drugs-free. For zero tolerance towards drugs, we should work as Team India,” Sawant told reporters here…reports Asian Lite News

Stating that international tourists and labourers bring drugs to the coastal state, Goa Chief Minister Pramod Sawant said on Wednesday that the state government is using the best practices to crack down on narcotics rackets.

After attending a virtual meeting with Amit Shah, Sawant said the Union Home Minister has taken cognisance of Goa’s detention centre and deporting process and has asked other states, which attended the meeting, to implement similar practices.

“The Anti-Narcotic Cell (ANC) is working in the best way to control drug trafficking. Migrant labourers bring drugs (like ganja, charas egtc.) in buses and trains. International tourists also bring drugs to Goa. The government is taking the necessary steps to crack down on this,” Sawant said.

“The Union Home Minister guided us during the meeting on controlling drug trafficking. Discussions took place on the best practices and views of all states were taken,” Sawant said.

“Our nation should be drugs-free. For zero tolerance towards drugs, we should work as Team India,” Sawant told reporters here.

“The Home Minister has taken cognisance of Goa’s detention centre and told the other states to create similar detention centres and deport foreigners (staying illegally) like the way Goa does,” he said.

Sawant said that last year, 161 cases (drugs related) were registered and narcotics worth more than Rs 4.5 crore were seized.

“We will not tolerate drugs in the state. We want a drug-free Goa. The ANC is spreading awareness against drugs,” Sawant added.

“Since 2019, we have deported 129 foreign nationals. Earlier, 700 Nigerians were staying illegally, now only 50 are remaining. We have deported 650 of them,” the Chief Minister said.

In 2013, the state government had started acting against foreign nationals staying illegally in Goa after over 200 African nationals had blocked NH 17 at Porvorim, 5 km from capital Panjim, for nearly an hour. They were trying to take away the body of a Nigerian who was found murdered from an ambulance.

The incident took place after the body was found in Parra, a village adjoining the beach village of Calangute, which is notorious for being Goa’s narco-tourism capital.

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MHA to resolve issue of UK visas soon: Goa CM

Sawant had met Amit Shah in Delhi on Wednesday…reports Asian Lite News

Goa Chief Minister Pramod Sawant on Thursday said that the Union Home Ministry has given an assurance to resolve the issue of the United Kingdom visas as soon as possible.

“I have discussed UK visa issue with Home Minister Amit Shah. It will be sorted out soon. There were some foreign ministry related issues, hence it was getting delayed. But he has assured to resolve it as soon as possible. Various other issues related to the state were discussed,” Sawant told reporters here.

Sawant had met Amit Shah in Delhi on Wednesday.

Expressing concern about the low footfalls of foreign tourists due to Covid and other issues, the Travel and Tourism Association of Goa (TTAG) had also urged Chief Minister Sawant to convince the central government to include the UK for issuance of e-visas.

Goa Forward Party president and MLA Vijai Sardesai had on Tuesday claimed that the coastal state will face a loss of Rs 500 crore if tourists from the United Kingdom don’t visit the state on account of hindrances in getting a visa.

“I want to appeal to Tourism Minister Rohan Khaunte and Chief Minister Pramod Sawant to take up the issue with Prime Minister Narendra Modi to lift the visa restrictions. We can come together and meet the PM over the issue,” Sardesai had said.

Sardesai had said that Goa is facing cancellation of 7 to 8 bookings per day in small and medium hotels, due to the new visa restriction by the Ministry of External Affairs, where British tourists have to seek a visa from nine centres (Visa Processing) in England.

“This (lifting restriction) is important because in Goa annually minimum 40,000 to 50,000 tourists arrive from the UK. As per statistics of pre pandemic period each tourist spends around Rs 98,000, which means around a Rs 500 crore turnover takes place from this area,” Sardesai had said.

Wellness tourism

Goa Chief Minister Pramod Sawant on Thursday said that the coastal state is drawing up plans to become a prime Ayurveda and wellness tourism hub.

He said this while speaking after inaugurating the curtain raiser of the 9th World Ayurveda Congress (WAC) and Arogya Expo, to be held here from December 8 to 11.

Sawant said that the state is eager to harness the benefits of Ayush visa announced by Prime Minister Narendra Modi to develop tourism, health and wellness centres and make Goa as the best in health tourism sector.

Sawant said medical and wellness tourism will be ramped up in the state by involving all Ayurvedic doctors and practitioners, besides setting up exclusive health and wellness centres on the lines of primary health centres (PHCs) and Community Health Centres (CHCs).

He said about 41 such health and wellness centres will be set up where services of Ayush doctors will be available.

“Two 50-bedded Ayush hospitals under the National Ayush Mission (NAM) scheme will be set up soon. An Ayush hospital will be inaugurated on December 8 at Dhargal in North Goa,” Sawant said.

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Salgaocars pioneer new laser therapy to alleviate health suffering in Goa

The Private Healthcare sector is fiercely competitive in Goa. Top hospitals eye a tiny population of approximately 1.5 MN populations in the state plus patients from neighbouring states of Karnataka and Maharashtra and Belgaum. In light of this background to adopt and accelerate innovative laser therapy for ano-rectal problems, the Shivanand Salgaocar managed SMRC ‘S VM Salagaocar 118 bedded state-of-the-art hospital has pioneered laser therapy to alleviate suffering and pain of patients in Goa, reports Rahul Laud 

Keeping in line with its tradition of innovation and research since 1981, the Salgaocars who have a diverse portfolio have invested in new equipment in its hospital recognising the demand and need of high quality sophisticated healthcare.

Dr. Santosh Koppal, Laparoscopic & GI Surgeon, Laser Proctologist at SMRC’s V.M. Salgaocar Hospital, Goa, who is a skilled specialist explained to Asian Lite  that the Ano–rectal conditions are haemorrhoids (or piles), fissure and Fistula in ano. According to an expert, approximately 50% of the population would have suffered from haemorrhoids in their life probably by the time they reach 50 years. About 5% of the population suffer from piles at a given point.

Dr. Santosh Koppal

Laser equipment used for proctology therapy ranges from Rs 8 lakhs to 14 lakhs depending on individual companies and their need for up-gradation in the equipment. The laser therapy is a bit expensive compared to conventional surgery because of special equipment used.

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Goa India News Politics

Close to 79% turnout in Goa panchayat polls

A total of 5,038 candidates were in fray from 1,464 wards. While the 186 panchayats have a total of 1,528 wards, 64 candidates have won unopposed…reports Asian Lite News

The elections for 186 panchayats in Goa recorded a turnout of 78.70 per cent, officials said on Wednesday.

The counting will be held on August 12.

Ward No 9 from Calangute village will go for fresh polls on Thursday, as authorities were forced to declare the voting void, allegedly due to some technical reasons.

Addressing a press conference, Goa State Election Commission Secretary Brijesh Manerikar said 78.70 per cent voting had been recorded, when the voting process ended at 5 p.m.

“The election process was peaceful. No untoward incident was reported. In spite of heavyA ain, voters exercised their right (to franchise),” he said.

A total of 5,038 candidates were in fray from 1,464 wards. While the 186 panchayats have a total of 1,528 wards, 64 candidates have won unopposed.

Manerikar said that about 7,96,070 voters were eligible to cast votes, out of which 6,26,496 voters exercised their franchise.

“Male voters were 2,99,707, while female voters were 3,26,788 and one of third gender. In North (Goa district) the voting percentage was 81.45, while in the South, it was 76.13 per cent,” he said.

He said that the highest voting of 89.30 per cent has been recorded in Sattari Taluka, while lowest was 68.33 percent in Salcete taluka.

The GSEC had reserved 21 seats (1.37 per cent) for Schedule Castes, 187 (12.32 per cent) for Schedule Tribes and 307 (20.1 per cent) for OBCs.

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Goa India News

Saraswat community entrepreneurs to meet at global Annual Conclave in Goa

Saraswat community entrepreneurs and professionals across the globe will assemble to attend the third Annual Conclave of Global Chamber of Saraswat Entrepreneurs (GCSE) on September 17 in Panjim, Goa at the Panjim Gymkhana, reports Rahul Laud

At a one day conference In Goa, the GCSE members will rub shoulders speaking Konkani and English representing different Saraswats form Kashmir to Kanyakumari. The Saraswat Bank is the obvious choice to be the lead sponsor of the one day conclave. Indian hoteliers Vithal Kamat and Natural Ice Creams owner Raghunandan Kamat are among some top business tycoons likely to attend the Conclave, Goa based renowned President of MAIT, Nitin Kunkolinkar and ALCON’s entrepreneur Anil Couto are among those actively interested and promoting the conclave in Goa. Upendra Pai Raikar who owns Conquer Events in Goa and who is a member of GCSE will offer his professional services to ensure that the Conclave will be smooth, effective and successful.

Entrepreneurs and management professionals from different Industries based in cities like Mumbai, Pune, Goa, Kolhapur, Belgaum, Banglore, Mangalore, Nagpur, Indore etc. and members from cities like Dubai, Singapore ,London , Australia and USA are likely to participate in the one day Conclave. The registration fees are Rs. 3000 for Non-members and Rs. 2500 for Members.

Led by Founder Director Siddharth Sinkar an active team is travelling to different parts of India to encourage Saraswats to join GCSE and participate in the Conclave. Recently the team from Mumbai visited Pune and other parts in Western Maharashtra and also travelled to the state of Karnataka to meet the Pai Empire there. Board of Directors at GCSE who volunteer to strengthen Chamber’s activities include: BHUSHAN S. NEMLEKAR, PRASANNA PRABHAKAR REGE, AMIT A. PANDIT, VAIBHAV RAJEEV WARERKAR, DR. AJIT GUNJIKAR, KISHORE MASURKAR, GAUTAM DANGI, AJAY BHALCHANDRA PINGE, GIRISH TELANG, SAMIT SUBHASH SARAF, DR.RIA HRUSHIKESH VAIDYA,     

According to the members of GCSE community business leaders from different parts of India and outside had joined hands to form the Global Chamber of Saraswat Entrepreneurs (section 8 company registered in India with the Ministry of Company Affairs as Non-Profit Organisation) on 12 September 2019 and restructured the nearly 30 year old defunct Saraswat Chamber of Commerce which was earlier formed by the powerful politician Suresh Prabhu. Main objective of Saraswat Chamber is to promote entrepreneurship amongst community members and create a platform for connecting all community members across the globe.

With a membership fee of Rs 4500 for three years the GCSE has mustered a support of 250 odd members despite Covid conditions in the last two years. With a vision “to build a wise, vibrant and prosperous community ecosystem for Saraswats in Business or Profession providing maximum opportunity and value” the GSCE is dedicated, “to serving Saraswat business community growth and prosperity through advocacy, enabling effective access to opportunities and resources, capacity building, economic development, connectivity and business education,” says Siddharth Sinkar, a Mumbai resident.

The Saraswat community is largely comprehended as an ethical and philanthropic community, channelling and harnessing our energies for the collective excellence of society. In business and commerce field the community has been a frontrunner in Banking and cooperatives sector. As an ethnic group Saraswats have lot of cultural and support organisations effectively running for over a century. Predominantly the community are known as seekers of knowledge and have made significant contribution in education, trade and commerce and service sector and showcased an exemplary entrepreneurial spirit fine-balancing wisdom and wealth with grace and élan.

For more information visit www.saraswatchamber.com or write to info@saraswatchamber.com

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Goa India News

Goa to be the knowledge and tech hub of India

The government has shown readiness to provide land to educational institutions. Along with engineering colleges like the Goa Engineering College, NIT, IIT and others, Goa has a footprint in medical colleges also…reports Sanjay Borkar

While the Goa government is fast tracking the completion of the National Institute of Technology (NIT) campus at Cuncolim in South Goa, it has also identified 7.50 lakh square metres of land in Sanguem constituency of South Goa for setting up an Indian Institute of Technology (IIT).

With this the government is trying to achieve the goal of making Goa the knowledge and technology hub of the country.

Goa will also start a National Forensic Science University, the campus of which would come up in Dharbandora, twelfth taluka of the state. The university has already started operating from a temporary campus at Ponda in South Goa.

Chief Minister Pramod Sawant has said that he wants to make Goa the knowledge and technology hub of the country. He has also made a budgetary allocation to implement the National Education Policy 2020.

Sawant stated that government land was encroached upon and slums were seen mushrooming there. This land can be utilised to make Goa the educational hub and innovation centre under the Public Private Partnership model.

The government has shown readiness to provide land to educational institutions. Along with engineering colleges like the Goa Engineering College, NIT, IIT and others, Goa has a footprint in medical colleges also.

Amid the sustained criticism of the Portuguese for carrying out forcible religious conversions in Goa, Sawant had a rare moment of praise for the colonisers for building the first medical college in Asia in Goa in 1847.

“No doubt the Portuguese committed atrocities, but we should mention that they constructed Goa Medical College in 1847, which was the first in Asia,” Sawant said.

Now, an AYUSH hospital will be inaugurated in Goa under the AYUSH ministry, giving scope to students to learn Ayurveda. The 250-bed hospital will also enable around 500 students to pursue undergraduate, postgraduate and PhD degrees.

However, the government also faced an agitation while providing land for such big educational projects. When land for the IIT project was identified in Shel-Melauli in Sattari taluka of North Goa, the affected people agitated saying it would destroy the environment.

Bowing to the people’s pressure, it was cancelled and now land for the IIT has been identified in Sanguem.

“We will take care that no destruction of the environment takes place here,” Social Welfare Minister and Sanguem MLA Subhash Phal Desai said.

Speaking to IANS, Phal Desai said that it is government land and there are a few encroachments in the area. However, he will speak to the encroachers and will try to rehabilitate them elsewhere.

“We will see that such things do not happen here and this project is not objected to. I will take all into confidence, before going ahead with this project,” Phal Desai said.

While welcoming projects like the NIT and IIT in the coastal state, Phal Desai noted that the government must also ensure that seats are reserved for local students, besides assuring them employment.

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Goa’s tourism reboot brings in tourists and litter

The research also states that since most of the beach litter results from tourism-related activities, this study will be an eye opener for the government departments for taking necessary, timely initiatives while protecting the tourism industry, which contributes largely to Goa’s economy…reports Asian Lite News

The post-Covid resurgence of tourism in Goa, one of the best-known beach destinations in India, has brought a sigh of relief to the state’s tourism industry stakeholders.

But a recent study conducted by multiple research agencies, has outlined just how the lifting of travel restrictions and resumption of mass tourism has led to copious quantities of garbage being dumped back on to the beaches and the seas alongside, with the increased footprint of locals , as well as tourists on the state’s eight popular beaches, post-lockdown.

“The quantification of litter found on eight selected Goa beaches (Morjim, Calangute, Miramar, Siridao, Baina, Velsao, Colva and Palolem) was undertaken during the beginning of lockdown (May 2020) and unlock (January 2021) periods suggests an increase in the litter quantity during unlock period when the Covid-19 lockdown restrictions on tourism are lifted, facilitating tourist inflow,” the researchers noted.

The study was conducted under the supervision of Goa University’s School of Earth, Ocean and Atmospheric Sciences by researchers from the Goa-based National Centre for Polar and Ocean Research (NCPOR), National Institute of Oceanography, Dona Paula and Canada’s Ryerson University.

According to the research study titled “Spatio-temporal assessment of Covid-19 lockdown impact on beach litter status and composition in Goa”, India’ littering on beaches increased as much as 1032.60 percent at Palolem beach, a popular location with tourists as well as the local population.

“Per capita litter reduction during the lockdown in comparison to the post-lockdown period was found to be highest for Palolem (1032.60 per cent), Calangute (558.62 per cent), Baina (276.92 per cent), Miramar-Caranzalem (229.03 per cent), Morjim (226.66 per cent), Velsao (137.47 per cent), Colva (135.06 per cent) and Siridao (6.77 per cent),” the study said.

The classification of beach litter has been made under six broad sections which includes nylon ropes and rubber (fishing gear), plastic (polythene bags, sachets, snack boxes, bottles, etc), footwear (other than leather items), glass (liquor bottles, glasses, bulbs), metal (any metal items) and thermocol (single-use packaging products).

“For Velsao beach, the glass litter was highest (4,818 per cent), followed by thermocol (621 per cent) and footwear (85 per cent)… Colva beach exhibited an increase in all the categories of litter ranging from 8 per cent (plastic) to 429 per cent (footwear). Glass litter increased (3,103 per cent) followed by rubber (2,140 per cent) and footwear (213 per cent) for Palolem beach, while metal and thermocol showed a decrease by more than 70 per cent,” the study says, adding that the decrease in thermocol, metal and rubber items could be attributed to the slowdown in the fishing industry during the lockdown and immediately after it.

The research also states that since most of the beach litter results from tourism-related activities, this study will be an eye opener for the government departments for taking necessary, timely initiatives while protecting the tourism industry, which contributes largely to Goa’s economy.

“Covid-19 pandemic-related lockdown is an opportunity to understand the positive effects visualized due to lockdown restrictions. Though it is not practical all the time to close down businesses, local administration, with the help of social activists and NGOs, can attempt to campaign at the village level and introduce temporary lockdowns regularly without hindering industrial and economic growth,” the study states.

“Implementation of such a campaign is possible for the small coastal states like Goa, and subsequently, these can be cited as good examples for the larger states to follow,” it adds.

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AAP cabinet to be sworn in at Bhagat Singh’s ancestral village

Mann said those who did not vote for “us need not have any kind of doubt or fear. I am their chief minister too. I have the same love and empathy towards everyone. We will work make Punjab prosperous again”….reports Asian Lite News

After the historic victory of the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) in Punjab, Bhagwant Mann on Thursday said the oath-taking of the state’s new cabinet would be held in martyr Bhagat Singh’s ancestral village.

Addressing the people outside his house in Sangrur, Mann thanked all the Punjabis, and said: “You have fulfilled your responsibility very well, now it is my turn to fulfil the responsibility.”

“We have good intentions and that is why the people of Punjab have trusted us. Trust me, change will be visible in a month. Now you will not have to go to offices of government employees. Government officers won’t hinder your works by making excuses. Now the public servants will come to your houses and localities to do their job.”

Taking a jibe at the opposition parties, Mann said they abused “us, tried to defame us. But we have forgiven everyone, provided they start respecting the three and a half crore Punjabis now”.

Mann, who won the Dhuri seat with a margin of 58,206 votes, said during the Congress-Akali Dal governments, decisions regarding Punjab used to be taken in Moti Mahal, Siswan farm house and big ‘havelis’.

“Now the government of Punjab will run from villages and mohallas.”

Mann said those who did not vote for “us need not have any kind of doubt or fear. I am their chief minister too. I have the same love and empathy towards everyone. We will work make Punjab prosperous again”.

Mann said he was worried about unemployment. “Unemployed youth are forced to go abroad or struck in the quagmire of drugs. Punjab keeps losing money and talent due to expensive higher education and lack of employment. After assuming the responsibility of Chief Minister, on the very first day itself, I will use my position to eradicate unemployment from Punjab.

“We are committed to provide adequate opportunities and employment in Punjab.”

Mann reiterated that the pictures of the Chief Minister and leaders will not be in the government offices of Punjab. Shaheed-e-Azam Bhagat Singh and Babasaheb Bhimrao Ambedkar’s pictures will be displayed in government offices.

“Bhagat Singh fought for our freedom and sacrificed his life and after independence Baba Saheb gave us the right to freedom and equality by writing the constitution of the country. It is our duty to follow their values and fulfil their dreams.”

Mann concluded that he is proud of Punjabis who are keeping alive the revolution of Bhagat Singh.

“As a Punjabi, it is our duty to follow the path of Bhagat Singh and give him respect. Earlier chief ministers of Punjab used to take oath at the Raj Bhavan. I will take oath as Chief Minister at the village of Bhagat Singh, Khatkar Kalan,” he said.

Mann’s mother Harpal Kaur got emotional.

Before Mann, his younger sister Manpreet Kaur and his mother Harpal Kaur addressed the gathering and thanked the people for electing Mann as the Chief Minister.

Addressing the people, Mann’s mother Harpal Kaur hugged Mann and got emotional.

Rising from the ashes like the phoenix, the Arvind Kejriwal-led AAP, in a maiden emphatic win, crushed the traditional players that ruled the border state of Punjab for over seven decades with its stunning victory largely by its greenhorns on 92 of the 117 seats of the legislative assembly.

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GOA: BJP secures 20 seats, set to form govt

Fadnavis said that the party would not poach a single Congress MLA in its bid for power this time round, adding that the swearing-in of the new government would be held in co-ordination with party leaders in three other states…reports Asian Lite News

 Handicapped by anti-incumbency and infighting, a wide split in opposition votes may have paved the way for the BJP to form a government in Goa, with the party winning 20 seats in the February 14 state assembly polls.

According to Bharatiya Janata Party’s Goa election in-charge Devendra Fadnavis, the party had already secured letters of supports from five newly elected MLAs, including three independents and two from the Maharashtrawadi Gomantak Party, which would take the ruling party and its associates beyond the crucial 21 mark in the 40-member state legislative assembly.

The Congress and the Goa Forward party which contested the polls in alliance won 11 seats and one seat each respectively, even as the Aam Aadmi Party won two seats, Revolutionary Goans, a debutant regional party won one seat. The Trinamool Congress failed to win a single seat in the polls.

“Three independent candidates have extended support to the BJP. We had said yesterday that even if we win 21 seats, we will take some more people along with us. In keeping with the assurance, these three independents and the MGP have given letters of support to the BJP. They are going to be with us,” Fadnavis told a press conference in Panaji.

The BJP leader also said that the party would not poach a single Congress MLA in its bid for power this time round, adding that the swearing-in of the new government would be held in co-ordination with party leaders in three other states in which the party also won the polls as well as the state leadership, adding that considering the comfortable nature of the mandate in Goa, there was no need to hurry to stake claim to power.

The BJP was facing severe anti-incumbency as well as severe infighting in its ranks in the run-up to the polls, which led to several rebellions. The most high profile rebels were former BJP CM Laxmikant Parsekar and Utpal Parrikar, former Defence Minister late Manohar Parrikar’s son, but both lost as independent candidates from Mandrem and Panaji assembly constituencies respectively.

Congress senior observer for Goa P. Chidambaram said that the split in the opposition ranks had given the BJP advantage in the polls.

“The overwhelming majority voted against the BJP but those votes were split across many parties which gave the BJP the opportunity to win 20 seats,” Chidambaram told reporters. State Congress president Girish Chodankar has offered to resign over the debacle.

Congress MLA and former Ports Minister in the BJP-led coalition government Michael Lobo said that the Congress lost as many as seven seats because of the split in opposition votes.

“Congress lost seven seats because of the split. We did not expect such a split in votes. People of Goa wanted a major change, but they voted for different parties,” Lobo said.

The Trinamool Congress which failed to win a single seat said in a statement: “We accept this mandate with all humility. We commit ourselves to work harder to earn the trust and love of every Goenkar. No matter how long it takes, we will be here and we will continue to serve the people of Goa”.

The Aam Aadmi Party made its debut in the state assembly with two wins namely Venzy Viegas from Benaulim and Cruz Silva from Velim.

ALSO READ: BJP nearing halfway mark in Goa

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BJP nearing halfway mark in Goa

While the Election Commission has not formally declared any winners so far, several contests are witnessing a close battle, with margins in some cases down to two digits….reports Asian Lite News

The BJP claimed victory in the state Assembly polls, with the party which is contesting the elections on its own, leading trends on 19 seats and the Congress-Goa Forward alliance leading in 11 constituencies, according to the Election Commission of India statistics.

“This is a victory of Goan people and a victory for the government, a victory of the Prime Minister,” BJP national general secretary C.T. Ravi told reporters in Panaji.

While the Election Commission has not formally declared any winners so far, several contests are witnessing a close battle, with margins in some cases down to two digits.

When asked if the BJP would be speaking to other parties like the Maharashtrawadi Gomantak Party for support to reach the magic number of 21, Ravi said that the decision would be taken after the final results are announced.

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