BJP in ‘Political ICU’ in Goa
| Ashok Dixit - 20 Nov 2018

BJP in ‘Political ICU’ in Goa

 

By Ashok Dixit  

New Delhi, Nov 20, 2018: The ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in Goa, India’s smallest state, appears to be in “political intensive care”, given the rumblings and grumblings surfacing in the public domain from its rank and file.

Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar’s secretive yet ongoing illness-cum-hospitalisation, both at home and abroad, and his desire to run affairs of state from his hospital bed, has apparently not sit  well with the state BJP brass, though no one is saying so directly.

Last Sunday (November 4), we saw former state government minister Mahadev Naik strongly opposing the induction of two rebel Congress leaders, including former Shiroda constituency MLA Subhash Shirodkar Naik, and Dayanand Sopte of Mandrem constituency, into the party.

Naik’s statement then that the “BJP doesn’t trust us. The BJP did not ask a single karyakarta (worker/activist) from Shiroda before taking the decision…” is indicative of a very high level of discontent and discordance prevailing within the ruling party in the state, as also disappointment with the central leadership of the party over recent decisions taken.

I have just returned from a week-long visit to Karnataka and Goa and can vouch with certainty that the BJP in Goa under the leadership of an ailing Parrikar and by extension Vinay Tendulkar (president of the party in the state) have their backs to the wall, and are under enormous pressure to answer some very uncomfortable questions, both from party rank and file and the opposition Congress Party.

In fact, the Congress is on record as saying that Parrikar is being “used by the BJP to garner ‘cow and milk’ votes for the 2019 general elections.”

State Congress spokesman Jitendra Deshprabhu said the BJP’s central leadership is blatantly seeking sympathy votes in Parrikar’s name and is guilty of indulging in and promoting unconstitutional official acts.

The past three weeks has seen a major political churning going on in India’s smallest state, leading the Deputy Speaker of the Goa State Assembly and Calangute MLA, Michael Lobo, to say in utter anguish that “There is complete unrest in Goan society, especially among politicians, about the state of affairs in the Goa government…”

He has predicted that the state assembly is in clear danger of being dissolved before completing its term and warned that “politicians are taking the people for granted”, and must refrain or face major change sooner than later.

He has further cautioned that the anti-defection law could kick in as members of various parties are crossing over in a most undemocratic and unprincipled manner.

Mahadev Naik has raised the pitch of discontent within the BJP by squarely blaming Tendulkar and other leaders for the fall in the number of BJP seats in the state assembly to 13 post the 2017 elections.

Many say that Town and Country Planning (TCP) Minister and leader of the Goa Forward Party (GFP), a coalition partner, Vijai Sardesai is a “dark horse” for the chief minister’s post should Parrikar opt out of politics due to his life-threatening illness.

Sardesai has been using this current state of political uncertainty to attempt to cobble up support for his chief ministerial aspirations. He strongly believes that the common Goan is being deprived of justice because of bad governance and an over ambitious state bureaucracy, which he believes, “has enough power to disturb the equilibrium….”   

His GFP is gradually making inroads into BJP bastions in Goa, leaving the ruling party worried.

It is believed that the 11-member core committee of the BJP in Goa met recently to “discuss the (alarming) political situation in the state brought on by “wrong doings and wrong decisions” of the party.

Former chief minister Laxmikant Parsekar succinctly said, “When the party takes wrong decisions, we senior leaders have to meet and discuss the political situation.”

Others involved in these critical deliberations include former deputy chief minister Francis D’Souza, Goa BJP founder member Rajendra Arlekar, former ministers Dayanand Mandrekar and Mahadev Naik. They are of the unanimous view that Vinay Tendulkar should be removed and the party structure in the state be revamped on priority.

There is more trouble lining up for the BJP in the form of former Goa Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) chief Subhash Velingkar. Two days ago he announced his entry into electoral politics. His supporters have indicated that he may contest from the Mandrem constituency on a Goa Suraksha Manch (GSM) ticket.

Since Parrikar took ill, there is a growing schism within the Goa BJP, forcing a beleaguered party leadership to look for ways to pacify disgruntled veterans who have been unceremoniously ousted from office or party because of differences over policy matters.

Other issues dominating the political, economic and media landscape in Goa include the demand for the lifting of the ban on mining, the state government’s insistence that fish vendors abide strictly by Food and Drug Administration (FDA) norms for use of the embalming chemical Formalin in dead marine produce, demand for coal blocks under the government or captive route for generating required power and the redevelopment of Miramar Beach, a popular tourist spot in Panaji to name a few.

Meanwhile National RTI award winning social activist Rajan Ghate has sit on an indefinite hunger strike at Azad Maidan, Panaji.

Rajan's demand is that the Chief Minister Mr. Manohar Parrikar who is ailing for the past 8 months must hand over his portfolios to some other able person so that the Government can start functioning in a better manner and people benefit from governance. He has said, “the Government must be for, of and by the people and not entirely dependent upon a single or a handful of individuals for its efficient functioning.”

Several organizations have expressed their solidarity with fellow RTI Activist Rajan Ghate, saying, “his demands are valid, reasonable and in the interest of the state.”

“For past several months, Governance in Goa has suffered with no proper alternate arrangements being made to improve the administration and it is high time the Government addresses this issue seriously, said Aruna Wagh, wife of ailing former BJP MLA and Deputy Speaker Vishnu Wagh in a statement. 

 

(The writer Ashok Dixit is a senior journalist with 24 years of rich cross-editorial functional experience in covering and reporting on developments in South Asia. He had been associated with ANI as a Senior Editor for more than two decades. He can be contacted at ashok.dixit26@gmail.com)


Browse By Tags

#BJP
# Goa