Tuesday morning rumor-mills worked overtime on a statement made by BJP MP Shripad Naik on a local television channel stating that ‘He is to be BJP Chief Minister candidate’ for the forthcoming state elections next year. However, in a telephonic conversation with GoaChronicle.com, Naik clarified that he was asked a pointed question by the talk-show anchor on whether he would consider being the CM of Goa in the forthcoming elections to which he replied, “If the party decides, I will go with the party wishes and at that stage whether it’s Manohar Parrikar or me, either of us will follow the dictates of the party and support each other’s CM candidature”.
Many political followers in BJP and Congress see this as a planned strategy of some of the Congress ministers’ in particular the Chief Minister to create a rift between Manohar Parrikar and Shripad Naik – two strong forces – in the BJP bastion in Goa at the moment, to create discord and uneasiness in the party ranks.
Earlier this month after his meeting with the BJP Goa MLAs with the BJP High Command, Naik, announced that he would coming back to state politics and look at contesting from Porvorim and not Ponda, which has been the constituency from which Naik has contested earlier. This many believe is because of the proposed arrangement with Maharashtrawadi Gomantak Party (MGP) to give their candidates an opportunity, under the proposed seat arrangement that is yet to be finalized between both political parties.
Commenting on the issue, Arti Mehra, national secretary and Goa In-Charge, BJP High Command, said, “My office in Goa has informed me that the statement made by Shripad Naik has been pulled out of context. We believe that we have some very able members in our party who can also represent our party if we come to power in senior ministerial positions, including that of the chief minister, but we have not finalized any strategy or any candidates, so, it would be premature to talk about at this point of time.”