Local Goa News

Sunday, September 18, 2016

‘Acche din’ may make comeback for MGP

PANAJI: With political developments unexpectedly tilting the balance in its favour, visions of "acche din" seem to be brightening the horizon for Maharashtrawadi Gomantak Party (MGP), the party that ruled Goa for the first 17 years after liberation.

MGP's senior leader and PWD minister in the BJP-led coalition government, Ramkrishna Dhavalikar alias Sudin may not have expected a surge of good luck so early in the 2017 poll run-up.
Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), that rode piggyback over MGP to open its account in Goa assembly in 1994 and then used its support to move into a position of strength, had been demanding till not long ago that its organization sever ties with its alliance partner. But, in a turn of events, it seems to be caught in a web of its own. The same party is now striving to seal the tie-up for the 2017 polls, political analysts say.
A few recent developments seem to have put the BJP on the defensive. The local BJP leadership, after gauging the ground situation, has worked out new strategy and asked its central leadership to appoint Union minister for transport and coal Nitin Gadkari as the Goa BJP election incharge. His good equation with Dhavalikar brothers has prompted this move, observers say.
Gadkari was BJP's national president in 2011-12 when the party forged an alliance with MGP for the last assembly polls.
With Congress reduced to a single digit in three decades in the 2012 polls, the BJP triumphed with 21 seats and MGP bagged three. This time too, the local BJP leaders expect Gadkari to seal the deal with an irresistible package, which MGP can reap in the post-poll period
BJP assessing situation
Denials notwithstanding, the latest developments triggered by upheavals in Rashtriya Swayam Sevak (RSS) had the BJP in a tizzy. Their leaders may be putting up a brave front, but if the proposed Bharatiya Bhasha Suraksha Manch (BBSM)'s political outfit goes to polls without any subtle understanding with BJP leaders, the saffron party's chances may be dented in hinterland talukas.
Political commentator, advocate Cleofato Coutinho, said BJP is now seen as vulnerable with the first revolt in history in RSS ranks. "Though, the politics of RSS and Subhash Velingkar is of divisive nature, one thing stands out that Velingkar has courage of conviction over his beliefs. He has punctured the myth of party with a difference and finally dumped the BJP in the same basket with other parties. BJP has been exposed as betrayer to their own cause," he said.
Former election commissioner turned politician Prabhakar Timble, said that Goa RSS' anti-BJP tirade is an indicator that it is not just the people and political opposition which is disillusioned with BJP, even their most loyal cadres are rejecting BJP.
Even as it says Velingkar's impact on the party will be nil, the BJP is trying hard to put its act together. Parrikar tried to counter the anti-BJP propaganda with a series of meetings on the weekend. Besides, Gadkari is visiting Goa on September 22, to assess the situation for corrective measures.
BJP's counter measures
Analysts say it is not just Velingkar-BBSM BJP has to face. On Goa's political chessboard, emergence of MGP as a big player is more worrisome for BJP these days. MGP's moves of holding talks with some Congress MLAs and ruling party members as well, seemed to have unsettled the BJP in a few constituencies.
Parrikar has on Saturday reportedly warned MGP without naming them that BJP can contest all 40 seats. Second, it will go on an all-constituency whirlwind tour for a feedback and counter Velingkar & Co's "false propaganda" that the party has cheated people in 2012 polls. A survey is also being initiated. Sources say some BJP supporters are striving to amicably quell the rebellion that has hit the party's image lately
Reversing decisions?
Some in the party feel that the long-time organizing secretary, Satish Dhond should be reinstated. But, whether the senior leaders will agree to this, is to be seen. Taking advantage of some developments post-ZP polls for the Latambarcem seat, Dhond had been shunted out in 2015. Velingkar, Parrikar, and chief minister Laxmikant Parsekar too had turned against Dhond then.
Some party hardliners wary of party's poll prospects in view of latest developments, feel that BJP should withdraw grants to the 127 English-medium primary schools. "This will help us to get majority community's support which at the moment seems divided," said a source. Some senior leaders, who are rooted in RSS ideology, back this argument, but it would be a personal loss of face for Parrikar, analysts say. It is also the question of government stability and BJP's image once again for Parsekar, analysts say.
If done now, the BJP edifice may crack. Not surprisingly, breaking his silence, Parsekar on Saturday blasted Velingkar for calling BJP leaders "cheaters and liars".
BJP knows Velingkar's capacity. For long, he had supported, groomed some of them and all worked together - in and out of power. His speeches are convincing even if you don't agree with his ideology, said a political watcher.
Coutinho feels Velingkar's strong reaction to his ouster as state RSS chief and the choice of words he used to paint the BJP and the way the organization has rallied around him suggests that he would try to cause maximum damage to the party. Velingkar appears to be hurt and a hurt Velingkar is much more dangerous than the original one, Coutinho added
Anti-Parrikar forces
Analysts say the developments with a focus on Velingkar have excited a few in BJP who had been on Parrikar's wrong side for years. They have quietly supported him from the time he attacked Parrikar calling him "foting" (liar). Velingkar has openly charged Parrikar of conspiring to unseat him as RSS chief with Gadkari's support. With Velingkar's removal, Parrikar's clout has grown and a clear message has gone down to the BJP leaders and cadre that he can influence RSS leadership in Nagpur.
Booster dose
All these developments have worked out to Goa's oldest regional party's advantage to expand its wings and roar louder. "Not just 12 or 14, considering the support and people's sentiments now, MGP can do well not only in 20 seats but should even go it alone," MGP's Ponda MLA, Lavoo Mamledar said.
Politicos, uneasy in their respective political parties, seem to be looking at MGP as a game-changer. Even two Congress MLAs are looking at the 'Lion' for a smooth sailing in the 2017 polls. Two independent MLAs and a couple of former BJP legislators are also in touch with the MGP. There is pressure on the MGP leadership to go it alone. And those who look at the party as an alternative see the PWD minister as a chief ministerial candidate. His equations with most politicians from BJP, Congress and other regional parties are very good and he is seen as a preferred candidate for the top post unless luck smiles at Congress in the polls. The recent developments and behind-the-scene parleys have made the political situation in the state fluid.

TOI Goa News

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