Fri, 19 Apr, 2019

Walking the same road his mentor took

cm pramod sawant visits salcete on sunday again to drum up support for BJP CANDIDATE narendra SAWAIKAR

15th April 2019, 03:08 Hrs

the goan I network

MARGAO

In post-Parrikar scenario, the BJP leadership may insist that the former Chief Minister’s Mission Salcete may no more be on the party’s list of strategy for the ensuing Lok Sabha poll, but the minority heartland seems to be very much on the agenda of Manohar Parrikar’s successor as well.  

 If Chief Minister Pramod Sawant with his deputy Babu Ajgaonkar in tow descended on the Rumdamol Housing Board to woo the large Muslim population towards the BJP, the Chief Minister descended on Salcete on Sunday hopping from Navelim to Cavelossim and other places in a bid to forge goodwill for his party and drum up support for the April 23 election. 

Take note, next on the Chief Minister’s itinerary, sources said, is Curtorim, the home village of Congress South Goa candidate Francisco Sardinha as Sawant is expected to return back to Salcete in the middle of this week.  

 The Chief Minister interacted with the Navelim panchayat members early Sunday morning before heading to Cavelossim for a meeting with purse-seine boat owners, majority of whom hail from Salcete’s coastal belt and the port town of Vasco.  

 At Navelim, the Chief Minister walked to the residence of Sarpanch Wilma D’Silva for an interaction with the panchayat members. Navelim ZP member Cipru Cardozo, deputy Sarpanch Paul Pereira were present for the brief interaction, during which time the Chief Minister sough support and cooperation to take the state forward with stress on human development. 

Before heading to Cavelossim, the Chief Minister made a plea to those present at the interaction to extend support to the sitting MP Narendra Sawaikar.  

 Says ZP member Cipru Cardozo: “The interaction with the Chief Minister was not exactly an election meeting, though he made a plea to support the BJP candidate. We attended the meeting since the Chief Minister wanted to meet the panchayat and ZP members”.  Navelim Deputy Sarpanch Paul Pereira said since the Chief Minister wanted to meet the sarpanch and panchayat members, they all met at the residence of the sarpanch. “It was more of an interaction than a meeting, though the Chief Minister sought support for the candidature of Narendra Sawaikar before leaving,” he added.  

 At Cavelossim, the Chief Minister interacted with the purse-seine boat owners, who were waiting for an audience with him with their list of grievances. While the Chief Minister is reported to have not handed out any promises with the model code of conduct in place, he, however, is believed to have promised to look into their issues after the election.  

 The CM’s presence in Salcete and his interactions with the stakeholders, including the local panchayat representatives and the boat owners, reminded one of a similar exercise initiated by former Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar in the minority heartland in order to reach out to the Catholic community.  

Parrikar had launched Mission Salcete in the run up to the 2004 LS poll in support of then BJP candidate Ramakhant Angle, but the mission had come a cropper with Churchill Alemao, who had contested on the Congress banner, winning South Goa seat with a record margin of 50,524 votes. 

Though the mission had failed to bring the desired result, the exercise had helped Parrikar and the BJP to come closer to the minority community, as evident by the fact that the goodwill generated during the mission had helped the former CM to storm the Congress fort in the 2012 Assembly election with the help of forces opposed to the Congress.