Bicholim MLA Rajesh Patnekar has resigned from his post in the Legislative Assembly as a BJP MLA and joined the Congress. Sources close to him say he has done this because he was assured of a Congress ticket in the forthcoming assembly and the people of his constituency have been assured of 100-government jobs. But news in the political circles attribute his move to a financial transaction that was given to him, which will help him contest the next election with ease and also save some for the future.
BJP MLAs switching over to the Congress is nothing new in Goa. Even the Chief Minister Digambar Kamat a strong BJP loyalist once, changed his political symbol of Lotus to the Hand so that it would make it easier for him to become the Chief Minister; because as long as Manohar Parrikar continued to hold fort of BJP Goa, it would be difficult for anyone else in BJP to move to that position, since it is an unwritten and often said word in the BJP Goa corridors that only Manohar Parrikar is CM material. Something similar happened to Manohar (Babu) Azgaonkar who also switched over from BJP to Congress and even got himself a Cabinet berth as a sports minister and he has fitted well into the Congress corruption schemes of things; since the National Games going to be held in Goa is going to be a smaller version of the Commonwealth Games Scam.
Many insiders say that many MLAs and senior members of the BJP Goa feel stifled by the authoritarian nature of its leader Manohar Parrikar; Laxmikant Parsekar is a mere puppet in the President position, the actual decision and controls lie with Parrikar. Now whether that is a good sign or not is anybody’s guess. But one thing is certain that there is a ‘Choke Syndrome’ in the BJP at the moment.
From a CM hopeful point of view, there is no doubt from the BJP lot of candidates, Manohar Parrikar is certainly a candidate with immense intellect and strong support mechanisms in Goa and globally. But with each passing day the faith many Goans had in him as an ideal CM is diminishing slowly. You could say that his Facebook friends swelled in 52 hours to 4999, which is a great achievement. And that is precisely what the problem is, his popularity is growing and not of his team members or his political party. And if Parrikar has to see himself in the CM’s chair once again, he would need to have the elected numbers to call the shots; and now from the look of it, the numbers have swung more to the Congress-side. In short he needs a team and many in his current team do not see him as a team player, they see him only as a team leader. And no man can fight a political war alone; you need shoulders, strong shoulders to carry the war ahead.
BJP High Command has put too much trust in Parrikar, rightfully so; they have done it because he is the best of the lot. But what they have time and again failed to do is objectively progress keeping in mind Parrikar’s opinion as well as the one’s that might not toe Parrikar’s line of thought, mainly because every opinion needs to be heard, and somewhere between different opinions will lie the best strategy for the party to progress.
If it is not Parrikar, BJP High Command will look to Shripad Naik, but this MP lacks the basic charisma to attract people of all denominations to him. If we were to do a poll on which of the two BJP candidates is best suited for a CMs candidature, I have no doubt in my mind that Parrikar will win by a huge margin. Naik though has certainly found favour in the eyes of the RSS more than Parrikar, who is slowly losing his grip with the RSS stronghold.
Even people on ground zero feel that Parrikar needs to become adaptable to changing times and a lot more forthcoming and accommodating; more importantly besides being a ‘Horn’ that belts out all the wrong doing of the government during assembly sessions, he needs to ride the scam allegations through and make sure the guilty in the government are brought to book. That has not happened yet, illegal mining, illegal casinos and many more issues continue to go unchecked.
It is disappointing for people to hear him time and again make statements, such as ‘When I come to power, I will do this and that’. That statement is itself is an indication that Parrikar’s interest is only about coming to power, and then will he implement changes. For a man who considers himself to be off the people, then whether he is in power or not it is immaterial. He should ensure that corruption is checked and culprits behind bars.
A few more MLAs from BJP are expected to leave BJP and join Congress in the months ahead. It is a clear defined strategy of the Congress party to weaken BJP from within and strengthen their hold of the government in Goa.
Until BJP wakes up, they will be going on downward spiral. Maybe that is good thing for Goa; at least we can get better non-national party leaders in the opposition for a change. Or better still, strong leaders from regional parties that can send Congress and BJP MLAs packing.