BJP’s Got Eyes On State’s Two Lok Sabha Seatsby Opinion Express September 20, 2018 0 comments
As Parrikar fell ill, BJP’s strategy is to focus mainly on the State’s two Lok Sabha seats.
Those in the know knew, the moment Nitin Gadkari went to Nagpur instead of Panaji over the weekend, that it is BJP president Amit Shah who would be calling the shots in the unfolding political crisis in the tiny State of Goa. The former, who was the party’s pointsman when the Manohar Parrikar headed coalition Government in the State was sworn in last year, has a fantastic network in the State. He ensured Parrikar’s return to the State to helm a coalition which, till he fell seriously ill and told the party leadership he would not be able to continue, comprised the BJP with 14 MLAs supported by two regional parties — MGP and Goa Forward with three seats each — along with three Independent MLAs. The Opposition Congress has 16 MLAs and has already staked claim to form the Government while the NCP has one. Today, the scene is very different. Not only Parrikar but two other senior BJP MLAs are hospitalised with serious ailments. And with the Speaker Pramod Sawant, said to be Parrikar’s choice for the Chief Minister’s post, eligible to vote in a no-trust motion if moved by the Opposition only in the case of a tie, the party’s position in the House is precarious. At the State-level, Shah’s gambit is to ensure the Government lasts at least till the Lok Sabha poll especially as his primary concern nationally given the country-wide Opposition alliance taking shape is to ensure that both MPs from Goa are from the BJP.
The party brass is inclined to opt for Union Minister Shripad Naik, MP from North Goa, as Parrikar’s replacement but the ailing CM will need to be brought around to accepting his name given these two senior-most leaders of the BJP in Goa have been in an adversarial role for years now. The logic behind the BJP’s thinking is that they need to shore up support among the Bahujan community apart from retaining its traditional Saraswat Brahmin/Kshatriya votes and Naik holdssway over the former while being acceptable to the latter. With North Goa seat thus sown up, the BJP would need to find a way of preventing the dominant Catholic vote in the South Goa Lok Sabha seat from consolidating against it. It is here that Goa Forward leader and minister Vijay Sardesai, whose acceptability among Catholic voters is the highest from among those in the ruling coalition, will come into play. But he will drive a very hard bargain. The offer to him is reportedly that he should merge his outfit with the BJP and he would be made Deputy Chief Minister. Sardesai, however, seems to be gunning for the top job and then the Congress of which he was a former leader and stormy petrel, the three Independents who he already has on-side, the NCP MLA and even two of the three MGP legislators save its leader Sudin Dhavalikar, all come into play.
Writer and Courtesy: The Pioneer