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Parrikar – The Saint or Sinner

“His style of functioning is frustrating”, said a disgruntled first-time BJP MLA. “I have to leave messages with his office and I still don’t get an appointment with him”. Yet another BJP minister complained about the fact that he cannot take any decision in his ministry without checking with the Chief Minister.
To both I asked what seems to be frustrating you.

Is it that Parrikar is Saint or Sinner?. To which the first time MLA retorted saying that “He is a Dictator” while the other – the BJP minister used an expletive that is not appropriate to use and when he used it in his strange accent it was quite comical. But neither one could give me a reason as to what was irking them about Parrikar.

When I asked a leader of BJP alliance partner who is also an MLA about Parrikar and his style of functioning. He was all praise for the Chief Minister saying that “He is a good administrator”. But he also added,”He is not a good leader and the current team of MLAs and Ministers do not have the acumen of governance to become an able support to the CM. By virtue of that he ends up controlling everything and alienating most of his colleagues.”

So much is the ‘Saint or Sinner’ notion of Parrikar in the minds of people, that even the BJP High Command dare not displease him. I remember when I spoke to one of the BJP High Command representative during the formation of government as to who would be the ministers in the new government, the representative, laughing mentioned, “Its Parrikar’s team, you think I would have a say in it or do I want to have a say it.”

Take the case of Shripad Naik returning to state politics, not many are aware of the behind the scenes clout and pressure used by Parrikar and his supporters locally and Delhi to keep the possible threat of Naik away. In fact, the initial decision of the BJP High Command was to project two candidates Parrikar and Shripad Naik.
Though, kept aside for the moment. The Shripad Naik issue will come up again. Because even today, of the current lot of BJP MLAs, you will find that a considerable number of them want Shripad Naik to be the CM; and when the opportunity arises they will take it.

“He is a casteist,” said senior BJP leader belonging to OBC community.  And I was surprised by that. So I asked what do you mean? To which he replied,”If you look at the appointments of key people in government positions, you will see that he has favored his people or from his own caste”. To me that was a pretty harsh statement to make. But there cannot be a smoke without any fire. And this senior BJP leader has all the right to feel short-changed because just as Parrikar kept Shripad Naik out of the CM contention, it appears that he would want to keep the young upcoming leader too under a leash, so that his strong-hold is not weakened.

So what is about Parrikar that the politicians fear him. Many of the Congress leaders, I have spoken too, initially, were of the opinion that he is the best CM for Goa. Now however, knowing that he is going to gun for their corruption based issues, they have all started abusing him and some have even decided to lend support to him unconditionally, in return for support and no action. The BJP leaders fear him, because of his intelligence and ruthlessness. Also because many feel that it was not the BJP that won the election or the Congress lost due to negative votes, but it was the creation of the ‘NEW PARRIKAR ANTI-CORRUPTION’ image that actually swing the votes in BJP favor, even the Church found favor with this approach, since he ushered a new hope

Like mentioned by a senior BJP leader, who believes that Parrikar way is the best way forward because there is uniformity of governance, and people are only looking to one leader and not multiple leader; he said,’For Parrikar it is not ‘High Command’ but ‘I Command’.

I for one cannot decide whether Parrikar is a Saint or a Sinner. And even if he has a little bit of both, should that matter. He is running a state government and even though, we are small, the complexities we have is enormous. I know of politicians itching to bring him down. So what if he plays games to survive and keep his chair, while delivering on his promise.

Let me give you an example. During the Congress regime a large tourism project in North Goa was oscillating up and down on the whims and fancies of the politicians. Prior to election, Parrikar met them and assured them that he would resolve their issue legally. Post the election, he still believes he can resolve their issue. Many would see this large tourism project as something that should not happen in Goa; and who would not have an objection, since it over 300 acres project. So in this case, would he go with what the people want or with what could be a good tourism project for the state.

Many politicians in the current government are annoyed because with Parrikar, they are finding it difficult to make money on their own. They have to rely on the monthly dole dished out by Parrikar. So much so that their own office staff form the information source to Parrikar if anything is against his wishes. Quite a task master or dictator as some would put it.

Its like I told a Congress politician, “Let people judge Parrikar, you are not in a position to judge.” And to one of the BJP senior leaders, “Parrikar is only trying to ensure that the graves he dug for others, his government does not fall into it. Therefore, he will be careful and stricter.”

 

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