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Thursday, April 25, 2024

Kamat: The prodigal son of BJP returns!


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The decision of eight Members of the Legislative Assembly (MLAs) from the Goa Pradesh Congress Committee (GPCC) to join the BJP has come as yet another shock to some people in Goa.

Congress both at the state and Centre have been left stumped and have been sent on an overdrive pontificating about the morality and ethics of politics.

BJP state leadership too was taken by surprise. In fact, BJP state president Sadanand Shet Tanawade told certain sections of the media, “Those 8 MLAs met our central leadership in Delhi, after which we got instructions from the Centre to induct them into the party; if the proposal was before me to decide, then I would have opposed it.”

In 2019, BJP inducted in a similar fashion 10 Congress MLAs and 2 MLAs from the Maharashtrawadi Gomantak Party (MGP). BJP faced massive criticism from the people of Goa.

The strategy to avoid anti-defection laws is to merge 2/3rd of the legislative wing of a party with the ruling party. BJP has mastered this art, rather well. We saw a similar modus operandi applied in Maharashtra.

In politics, I have been told by many political pundits, that there is no right or wrong decision just the most appropriate decision at that point of time.

The induction of the eight Congress MLAs into the BJP at this point of time is in my personal opinion is the most definite political and strategic move of the BJP in Goa. It can make and break BJP in the long-run. Politics in Goa is 50 percent about the individual and 50 percent about the political party the politician represents.

The move of the central leadership is based on the logic that it is better to wipe out the political opposition in totality, rather than give it an opportunity to rise. Or atleast, leave the opposition with some insignificant MLAs that will be no threat to BJP’s order in the state.

BJP in the last two assembly elections faced a tough fight but managed to form the government in 2017 with its swift political machinations and then it outsmarted the Congress in 2022. Each time Congress could have dislodged the power position of the BJP in Goa but the party and its self-centred leaders could not stand united to take on the BJP.

Intriguingly, Congress before the elections made its leaders visit different religious places and take a pledge not to defect to the BJP if they do not come in the ruling. Many now see this ‘Congress Pledge’ drama as a mockery of their religious beliefs and little integrity that is expected out of politicians. Taking a pledge in God’s name and relegating on it does not go down well with many people of different faiths. But to a Congress politician, a pledge to God and people has little or no value to their personal political survival.

Digambar Kamat, former Congress Chief Minister and even more former BJP State Finance Minister told media in jest, that he indeed took a pledge and that he is a God-fearing man. But when he was troubled over the inability to develop his constituency being in opposition for the third time, he asked God for advice and God told him to do what he thinks is right and beneficial to the people of his constituency. Therefore, he joined BJP. I have never such a witty tongue-n-check answer from a politician in a long time. He single-handedly turned the entire ‘Congress Pledge’ drama into a Kapil Sharma Comedy Show.

Funnier than Digambar Kamat was Sankalp Amonkar, former youth president of the Congress in Goa. When media asked him about his decision to join the BJP and whether he would take back all the critical statements he made about the BJP over the last couple of months. He simply stood standing like a statue of Buddha and smiled at the media, it was as tough someone put Fevicol to his mouth and sealed it. Temporarily, I hope.

The Chanakya behind this exodus from Congress to BJP is Digambar Kamat. He turned to his friends in the Congress who joined the BJP; he turned to his friends in the BJP and orchestrated this exodus at the top-most level. The plan, if I do say so was ingenious. He waited his time, worked out the strategy and then started to make the Chess moves, slowly and stealthily.

Rahul Gandhi, P Chidambaram and Dinesh Gundu Rao will be scratching their heads thinking about their lack of foresight to see the plan rolled out by Kamat as Batman and Michael Lobo as Robin. Lobo would not have the political wisdom to plan this game. This is an out-and-out Kamat move.

Kamat has set his eyes on the coveted position of the Chief Minister of Goa. That to me would be his primary focus. There is not a hope in hell that Digambar Kamat will be comfortable working under Dr Pramod Sawant, Goa’s current Chief Minister. He does not think to highly of Dr Sawant. He might mouth words that display affections of love towards Dr Sawant but those are mere words. He will only be placated if he becomes the South Goa Lok Sabha face of the BJP or Rajya Sabha face.

Dr Pramod Sawant at this point of time might not see the entire plan that will unfold but if he is indeed aware of the plan, then he will be shooting himself in the foot in bringing Digambar Kamat to the table. Kamat will never play second-fiddle to Dr Sawant. He is a long-haul player and indeed a strategic one. If he has decided to move to the BJP, then he has definitely done so because of a confirmation to his political ambition.

Digambar Kamat has one of the most powerful lobbies not only in Goa but Delhi also, across party lines. For BJP, Kamat on their side is better than Kamat on the opposite side. For Dr Sawant, he might need to be sharp or the CM chair might just slip from under his nose.

Digambar Kamat in BJP is a signal that something unexpected, politically, is planned in Goa. Let me reiterate, Kamat will not play second-fiddle to any politician in Goa. He has already sowed the seeds of control. He will bid his time to make his next move.

I am certain many BJP karyakartas will be disappointed with the turn of tides. Seasoned BJP karyakartas will mourn about the Congress stamped products now prominent in the BJP-led government in Goa. But politics is about ensuring that your opposition is decimated and their people converted to your side. Political parties will play the game for power not lessons in morality.

The real power in politics is people. People can change the destiny of politicians and political parties. The real moot point however is do the people of Goa feel betrayed by the politicians or have they gotten used to such political machinations that they do not care about politics but development and progress of the state, nation and most of all themselves.
















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