Mon, 15 Jul, 2019

Of the 27 in BJP, only 7 have roots to party; elders irked

12th July 2019, 02:57 Hrs

the goan I network

PANAJI

The BJP may have poached its way to a two-thirds majority with a strength of 27 after the drubbing it got at the 2017 assembly elections in Goa, but many senior leaders are worried and in a spot of discomfort that only seven of their legislators are original party members.   

Just 13 of the party candidates at the 2017 elections emerged victorious. Of these, four - Mauvin Godinho, Pandurang Madkaikar, Pravin Zantye and Rajesh Patnekar - were candidates borrowed by the party from the Congress on the eve of the polls leaving just nine MLAs with roots in the party. Also, seven adding up to more than half of the 13 legislators were from the traditionally antagonistic minority Catholic community.   

Over the next two years, however, the party has come to appropriate 14 additional MLAs, all of who have no ideological moorings in the party which has upset the party’s old guard.  

Although none of the top leaders were willing to come on record, only Utpal Parrikar, the older son of the late Manohar Parrikar, has been critical of Wednesday’s move to grant entry to the 10-member Congress rebel group.  

 Parrikar Jr has described the move as the party deviating from the direction given by his father, considered the party’s tallest leader until his death on March 17 last.  

Days after the swift post election developments in March 2017 saw the late Parrikar saddled as head of an unlikely coalition government, current Health Minister 

Vishwajit Rane was the first to defect, quitting as legislator and winning the subsequent 

bye-election in Valpoi.  

With Parrikar himself and former deputy CM Francis D’Souza terminally ill, the party in October last year lured two more Congress MLAs - Dayanand Sopte and Subhash Shirodkar - follow the path of Rane Jr. The two quit as MLAs and from the Congress party to join the saffron party. The duo eventually won their respective bye-elections in May this year.  

Successive deaths of first D’Souza and later Parrikar also necessitated bye-elections in Mapusa and Panaji. The party retained Mapusa with D’Souza’s son Joshua winning the party ticket and also the seat. In Panaji, however, Parrikar’s son Utpal lost out on the party ticket to his father’s former aide and ex-MLA Siddharth Kuncolienkar.   

The party eventually yielded the Panaji seat to the Congress’ Atanasio (Babush) Monserrate at the May bye-poll but the loss, with Wednesday’s development, was only temporary one lasting barely two months. It has now won over not just Monserrate but an additional nine MLAs including three from Salcete where the party had drawn a blank.   

What has added to the incorrectness politically for the party is the oddity that as many as 15 of the 27 party MLAs are from the minority community with as many as eight Christian MLAs gaining entry through the lot of 10 Congress MLAs admitted on Wednesday.