In the 2012 Assembly Election, it was Manohar Parrikar who was the face of the BJP in Goa. After his move to New Delhi as the Defence Minister of the Narendra Modi government, it was the incumbent chief minister Laxmikant Parsekar who was at the helm of affairs, however, the Opposition kept referring to Parrikar as 'super chief minister of Goa'. The 4 February election will be a true test for Parsekar to prove that he is out of the shadows of his predecessor. But his party might not have the same confidence in him.
According to the IANS, the BJP is not sure of fielding Parsekar as the chief ministerial candidate. While announcing the candidate list for Goa, BJP leader JP Nadda steered clear from naming the chief ministerial candidate. "This (choice of CM) is for the BJP's parliamentary board to decide," was his non-committal reply.
Though Parsekar is heading the state government in Goa, it is obvious that not just Modi, but Parrikar will also play a crucial role in the election campaign. In an interview with The Indian Express, even Parsekar in no uncertain terms stated: "All that is being done in Goa is because of the “krupa” of the Union government, Parrikar, Naik (Shripad Naik) and Modiji." Parsekar further stated that he won't feel side-lined if Parrikar becomes the centre-stage of the election campaign. When asked if he will continue to the chief minister of Goa, if the BJP comes to power, Parsekar left the decision up to the party.
Parrikar has attended more than 30 "vijay sankalp" rallies organised by the BJP across Goa. He is also fire-fighting the dissent from sitting legislators who have been denied tickets. Though, earlier he was reluctant to move to News Delhi and had expressed a desire to remain as the chief minister of Goa.
When asked if he wants to return to state politics, the former chief minister of Goa said that he "never said no to any request by the party".
On the same issue, BJP president Amit Shah said, "(Prime Minister) Narendrabhai (Modi) needs him (Parrikar) at the Centre as well. We will decide after elections where Parrikar will be working. But let me assure you that wherever Parrikar may be working, the Goa government will function under his leadership."
Congress' Digvijaya Singh, who is in-charge of Goa told IANS, "It is more of an election of Parrikar individually, rather than that of BJP or the RSS."
The BJP faces a tough challenge in Goa with the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) making a fray in the state for the first time. Moreover, the BJP's former allies — Maharashtrawadi Gomantak Party, Shiv Sena and Goa Suraksha Manch (GSM) — have decided to contest the polls together. The GSM has been founded by Subhash Velingkar after he was ousted from the RSS.
Parrikar is known to have an appeal across all sections in Goa and is credited with the party's success in the last assembly polls. He has emerged as the most popular face of the party in the state in surveys done by the BJP.
Goa Assembly Election will be a test for Parsekar, who is fighting anti-incumbency, to lead his party to victory and come out of the shadows of Parrikar. The ride so far as not even easy for Parsekar with the Opposition accusing the incumbent government of corruption. The AAP has even made corruption as one its election slogans.
— Karl Vaz (@KarlVazAAP) January 16, 2017
"(When) I took grip of affairs, development was our priority. What was neglected and I should have taken personal interest in was dealing with thieves and dacoits, those being probed by the SIT (Special Investigating team) or other probes. I did not pay special attention to it. I let it go by natural course," Parsekar had recently said.
Firstpost's Ajay Jha writes: Given the lacklustre performance of Parsekar and pollsters predicting that the BJP can, at the most, hope to emerge as the single largest party in a hung Assembly, the party has decided not to seek votes in the name of Modi, lest his image gets dented. It can’t afford to seek votes in the name of an uninspiring Parsekar either.
With the BJP's development agenda, it remains to be seen has Parsekar been able to fill Parrikar's shoes.
(With inputs from IANS)
Updated Date: Feb 03, 2017 13:28 PM