Goan politics always throws up interesting characters.
One of the trademarks of being an interesting politician in the state is ‘being a nuisance’.
To the BJP last week, Michael Lobo was an absolute nuisance according to senior BJP leaders in the state.
It is not the first time Michael has attacked his own party and government – the BJP.
But it was certainly the first time he directly trained his guns on Goa’s Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar and spoke openly about the impact of his absence on the governance in state due to his unfortunate illness.
I like Michael Lobo. He is a self-made man.
He is a true rags to riches story in Goa, even before becoming a politician.
I think his growth in his hospitality business has come from tremendous hard work and dedication.
He did not chose politics, politics chose him. And he chose BJP, when Congress was trying to open their doors to him seductively but not assuredly.
He took one of Congress’s strong MLA Agnel Fernandes in Goa’s most popular tourism belt – Calangute constituency.
He beat him in 2012, he beat him in the 2017 Assembly election.
More importantly during the government formation in 2017, when BJP faired poorly; it was Michael that was a key pivot in stitching the alliance partners together.
It is very unfortunate and absolutely demotivating that a strong BJP leader from the Christian community that has a lot of goodwill with people at a grassroots level, is not considered for a ministerial position, during the government formation in 2017 and now when a Cabinet reshuffle took place.
Instead BJP decided to upset two of its most prominent Christian leaders – former Deputy Minister Francis D’Souza and Michael Lobo.
BJP removed Francis D’Souza on grounds of illness and did not even bother to inform him about the decision. In fact Parrikar conveniently pushed the blame on BJP National President Amit Shah.
Francis D’Souza is expected to quit on his return from US, next week.
Nilesh Cabral – a Christian MLA was selected over Michael Lobo.
Nilesh is also a good man but in my personal opinion, his contribution to BJP has not been prominent and decisive. He has been a good executor of the government ideas especially Parrikar.
He unlike Michael will not question Parrikar or his decision. He is obedient.
Michael is also obedient, but to the point that the government decisions are not biased, poorly planned or not in what he thinks is not right for his constituency or state.
The Core Committe of BJP Goa will be meeting to take a decision on a disciplinary action against Michael Lobo’s recent outbursts against the government.
His outbursts last week, were justified.
It is the truth that governance in Goa has almost come to a standstill, irrespective of the PR messages being circulated in media, that Parrikar is clearing files from the hospital.
He spoke against the government on behalf of the mining dependent people, who have been pleading for the last several months to a way forward to the mining imbroglio in the state.
Both Centre and state have only been giving assurances but no concrete steps have been taken to arrive at a closure to the mining conundrum in Goa.
Interestingly, it was not Nilesh Cabral who is an MLA from a constituency within the mining-belt of Goa that decided to fight for the mining dependent people, but a coastal MLA like Michael Lobo.
The second point raised was on the fact that government has not created enough jobs for Goans and even the 3000 jobs created are not being filled. That is the brutal truth.
The intriguing bit is Goa’s President Vinay Tendulkar is pontificating about the resignation of Michael, stating that if Michael wants to resign, then he should and then go the public with his decision.
When only recently it was Vinay Tendulkar with 4-core committee members of BJP, who were to go to Delhi, to talk to Amit Shah about change in leadership. BJP National President Amit Shah asked them to go back and come back with the entire core team.
Tendulkar was angling his way to occupy the Chief Minister’s position cunningly, backed by an alliance partner.
Parrikar saw the game being played to outsmart him, Amit Shah saw it too. Status quo was decided to be maintained.
The sad irony is BJP leaders like Francis D’Souza and Michael Lobo have always put party and Parrikar first. And Parrikar has always used them and never gave them their due when it mattered.
He trusted people in his coterie of ‘yes men’ more than the loyalists.
Parrikar in telephone call to Michael a few days ago expressed his displeasure at Michael’s outbursts.
But the truth is Parrikar has treated both Francis D’Souza and Michael Lobo unfairly.
It is your true friends who tell you what you are doing wrong, not ‘yes men’. It is something Parrikar has so far never learned to see.
To me Michael is an angel in BJP while those who tried to change the leadership of Parrikar cunningly are the devils in the BJP.