Local Goa News

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Two ‘minister’ constituencies on BJP’s worry list

Doubts over Arlekar and Tawadkar’s winnability surface in BJP’s internal survey; Porvorim and Savordem on watch list too

PANJIM: While the uneasy and yet to be firmed up alliance with the MGP is one of the urgent boxes the BJP needs to tick, to finalise its preparations for 2017, it has a few worries of its own it needs to sort out.
In the latest internal stock taking of the BJP, the party is looking at its vulnerable constituencies and looking at certain other worrisome areas, in an election where not a single seat can be left to chance. With the latest ground survey having been completed and with their state wide “melavas” – public meetings – taking place, some crucial team changes may be in the offing which could even include a couple of senior ministers in the current Parsekar government, who may be dropped or their seats changed.

The two immediate concerns are Rajendra Arlekar and Ramesh Tawadkar.  While Arlekar in Pernem is struggling with his personal base shifting, he will need an over the top party push and heavyweight campaigning. The presence of BBSM in the area has queered the pitch. According to BJP sources, he will not be denied a ticket given his seniority, but as a very senior BJP leader said, “Some permutations and combinations have to be worked out in Pernem.”
In Canacona, the party may have to take the unkind but important decision to deny a ticket to its incumbent minister Tawadkar. However, no decision has been taken as yet. But at the same time veteran Congressman Vijai Pai Khot is moving around in the constituency informing locals that he is going to be the BJP candidate. On Monday evening he was at the Cotigao panchayat and told the village sarpanch and others this. When contacted, Khot told Herald, “I’m busy now and will disclose my political plans in a few days time.”
There has been a change in Tawadkar’s own public posturing on the issue. He told Herald a week ago that the party is not looking beyond him and he would win with a thumping majority. When contacted on Tuesday evening he said, “I will seek public opinion on the development work I have done in Canacona. I do not wish to speak further on the issue.”
The ground reality is that Tawadkar’s candidature is far from being finalised. An organisation heavyweight indicated as much, when he said, “We have not said all ministers or MLAs will get party tickets.”
The third seat is St Andre, where the ailing Vishnu Wagh is not at all likely to contest. In any case, the organisation and party big wigs, confided to Herald, that notwithstanding his prolonged hospitalisation, which everyone hopes he will recover from soon, the seat has been virtually written off.
Meanwhile, Porvorim has thrown up an interesting challenge. Though the BJP did not win the seat, Independent MLA Rohan Khaunte, backed the ruling alliance officially. For 2017, Khaunte, who is still officially the “mentor” of the Goa Forward Party, has made serious overtures to the BJP. However, the BJP top brass do not want further “imports”. However, insiders say that if Khaunte does contest against the BJP, the battle will be tough. It may be recalled that in the Lok Sabha elections, Shripad Naik got 15,000 votes from the Porvorim segment when Khaunte was backing the BJP. Subsequently in the Zilla Parishad elections, with Khunte not backing the BJP, it lost in Penha de Franca and Succour.
But it just doesn’t end here. Sanvordem is also on the BJP’s radar, with internal sources from the party confirming that senior leaders are backing Ganesh Gaonkar in the race for the Sanvordem seat, which the BJP earlier had given a hint that BJP Goa State President Vinay Tendulkar would be contesting. But there is a hint of a division within the party ranks there and if this is allowed to fester, the seat might see some trouble.

Herald Goa News

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