WHAT PARRIKAR SAID BEFORE ELECTION HAS TURNED TRUE

Senior leader Sudin Dhavalikar has got what he aspired for – PWD and Transport. And he will be only able to explain why he wants these two portfolios. Can’t he develop Goa if he is given other ministries? Is PWD and Transport, key for the development of the state? Everyone knows the answer for these questions but that is not an issue right now. The thing to feel good about is that MGP seems to be comfortable. Their novice MLA like Deepak Pauskar also got the plum corporation, Goa State Infrastructure Development Corporation.

The aim of all the political parties would be to cement their base for 2022 elections.  Sardesai has already got his hold on the Margao Municipal Council and will now aim to grab hold on Panchayats. The party, which won three out of four seats it contested this election, would never like to grow or get side-lined under BJP. Before Panchayat polls, the parties have a tough task for Rajya Sabha polls. BJP or Congress on its own cannot win the election. The alliance partners will naturally play a pivotal role in it. 

The by-polls may not be a major challenge for Parrikar-led government as neither MGP nor Goa Forward party has any stakes in these constituencies. MGP’s St Cruz candidate Prakash Naik fared poorly during the last Assembly election while in Valpoi it has no presence. All its vote share is shifted to BJP. 

The results revealed by the recent state Legislative Assembly elections have injected inherent instability in the state government with which we will have to live for next five years. The BJP managed to form the government cobbling up an alliance with unexpected partners. But the question will always loom large over the political alliance, which is about its stability.
The numbers are not so funny for any government to have the stability. BJP is much-much less than the majority it requires on the floor of the House. Congress is just there but not enough to make it up. And then, the major game changers remains to be the small parties like Goa Forward Party, MGP and Independents, upon whom the entire stability issue banks on.
I still remember the speeches of Manohar Parrikar during BJP’s pre-election rallies. I have covered 35 of them and at least for 30 rallies, Parrikar had made this statement. He said “there is one MLA from Fatorda who is advising people not to give majority to any party. This is because if there is instability, he can do what he wants.”
This was the reasoning that Parrikar gave to the voters asking majority to BJP to provide stable government. This also means that, if I write about inherent stability in the current dispensation, I am referring to Parrikar’s statements. He had predicted it, and the worst fear came true. It is the same Fatorda MLA who has become a ‘joker’ now. When I say ‘joker’ I mean from the pack of cards who can be used anywhere to win a game.
Currently Parrikar is using that joker to prove his majority in the 40 seat Legislative Assembly. It is the same joker that made Parrikar, the Chief Minister of Goa. And he is the same joker on whom entire stability of the government rests.
That was the past and we would certainly like to dig into the past to predict the future. The BJP cannot take a chance and keep the same joker unhappy. Because if Vijay Sardesai wants, he can make Parrikar sit in opposition in no time. Before by-polls, if Sardesai wants, he can make Parrikar sit at home till he wins the polls.
I still remember the famous speech of Parrikar in the run up to the election, where he mentioned how Goa witnessed 12 Chief Ministers in 10 years and how he became the 13th Chief Minister providing stability to the state. He is true. Digambar Kamat is the only Congress CM to complete his entire term of five years. Before that, everyone went home retired hurt midway through their term they were elected for.
When we speak about the past, we are trying to analyse the future of Goa government. For next five years, it will all depend upon the alliance partners to provide stable government in the state. A party like MGP which had developed serious differences with BJP during the fag end of last tenure is not much uncomfortable this time.
GFP cannot be predictable. The way it openly criticised then CM Laxmikant Parsekar and contested election against BJP is unforgettable.
Senior leader Sudin Dhavalikar has got what he aspired for – PWD and Transport. And he will be only able to explain why he wants these two portfolios. Can’t he develop Goa if he is given other ministries? Is PWD and Transport, key for the development of the state? Everyone knows the answer for these questions but that is not an issue right now. The thing to feel good about is that MGP seems to be comfortable. Their novice MLA like Deepak Pauskar also got the plum corporation, Goa State Infrastructure Development Corporation.
Back to the issue of stability. Manohar Parrikar-led government has to pass through the hurdle race to avoid the government from running into a minority. The first hurdle would be the upcoming Panchayat election.
The strength of the BJP is its cadre which is spread across all the Panchayats. Though the Panchayat elections are not fought on party lines, there is always party affiliation for most of the candidates. First of all, BJP will have to broker peace between its own cadres and if that was not enough, now there will be a task to have a major balance.
The candidates of different parties which makes Parrikar-led alliance have majority on the floor of the House should not clash with each other. If this balance is missed, then it can certainly create bitterness within the coalition government.
MGP has its presence in Panchayats while Goa Forward Party will try to make its debut in certain areas through this election. Sardesai-led party is all set to make it big in the state politics. And it would naturally not like to save itself from the shadow of bigger parties like BJP. So there comes a challenge for the coalition government.
The aim of all the political parties would be to cement their base for 2022 elections. Sardesai has already got his hold on the Margao Municipal Council and will now aim to grab hold on Panchayats. The party, which won three out of four seats it contested this election, would never like to grow or get side-lined under BJP.
Before Panchayat polls, the parties have a tough task for Rajya Sabha polls. BJP or Congress on its own cannot win the election. The alliance partners will naturally play a pivotal role in it. Congress has already started talking about fielding a ‘consensus’ candidate for the RS poll. The election for the lone seat would be fought in June. The countdown has already started. The political activities are high considering the RS polls.
The Congress will try all the tricks of the trade to woo the non BJP parties. It is presumed that the Congress will not makmke the same mistake it made during formation of the government. It will have sleepless nights when BJP is working overtime to make sure that it fields a candidate who is liked by all its alliance partners.
It would be imprudent at this point of time to predict anything about the fall out of RS polls. But this certainly is a hurdle for Parrikar-led government that it has to pass through successfully.
After RS polls, the crucial by-polls would be fought for Panaji and Valpoi Assembly seat. Till this point, it is only Panaji and Valpoi, while there are rumours that St Cruz seat also may be vacated to make way for Atanasio Monserratte’s entry in the Assembly.
This is one possibility that cannot be ruled out because Parrikar fighting for Panaji against Monserratte will be a tough fight. So, if Monserratte shifts to St Cruz then it is smooth sailing for Parrikar in Panaji by election.
The by-polls may not be a major challenge for Parrikar-led government as neither MGP nor Goa Forward party has any stakes in these constituencies. MGP’s St Cruz candidate Prakash Naik fared poorly during the last Assembly election while in Valpoi it has no presence. All its vote share is shifted to BJP. In Panaji, MGP had pre poll alliance with Goa Suraksha Manch and it did not divert its strength there.
Goa Forward too has no candidate in any of the constituencies that would go for by-poll. So that won’t pose as any kind of risk for Parrikar-led government.
If polls are something that wouldn’t be a major hurdle, the issues can be. Sardesai has already announced that the amended ‘Forest Act’ making coconut a grass would be re-amended. That will not go well with BJP leaders who were behind this amendment during last tenure. But they will not have say for the sake of stability of the government.
The Investment Promotion Board headed by Parrikar can also result in certain differences amongst the partners. The board has members who are of diverse views. Revenue Minister Rohan Khaunte, Tourism Minister Manohar Ajgaonkar and others are bound to develop differences over the clearing of proposals.
Despite the Town and Country Planning being a crucial wing of development, its Minister Sardesai has not found a place on the Board, while other coalition partners are on it.
It is learnt that Sardesai is not happy with this and has already approached Chief Minister expressing his displeasure.
Further, the recent developments in RERA seems to have also disturbed Goa Forward party. Sardesai was all set to have RERA under his belt but central government’s decision to push it to Urban Development Ministry saw BJP leader Francis D’Souza holding its responsibility. The rules will be framed by Urban Development department and not by Town and Country Planning department.
The drafting of common minimum programme is going to be the biggest challenge before this coalition government. While the MGP has nothing much to press for, the Goa Forward and independents have lot to modify.
BJP’s reluctance to shift off shore casino vessels out of River Mandovi can play a spoil sport for Parrikar and Khaunte, who has categorically told Chief Minister that the current six month extension granted to these vessels would be the last.
Khaunte has been up in arms against the operation of off shore casinos in river Mandovi. He was upset when the new government’s very first cabinet took a decision to grant further extension to casino operators to shift their vessels.
The issue is likely to attain uttermost importance in the common minimum programme.
The issues like beef ban, medium of instruction which are currently fought on the religious front (apparently) may die down as the year passes and may not pose any threat to alliance.

Team TNV

May 26th, 2017

Posted In: editorial

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