Goa CM Manohar Parrikar’s illness puts BJP chief Amit Shah in a fix
The BJP-MGP-GFP alliance in Goa will weaken without Manohar Parrikar. MGP and GFP had made it conditional that Parrikar be the leader of the coalition for them to join the government
Manohar Parrikar is undoubtedly the queen bee in the BJP Goa hive. So quite naturally, the question being asked is: Will the hive survive without the queen bee? The answer is: it will survive. But it will not be the same.
A ludicrous aspect of democracy is one which blindly presumes that anyone who is good at getting himself elected will be good at running government. In reality, that is very rarely the case. Parrikar belonged to the rare species.
No wonder, during all these seven months of Parrikar’s serious illness, the BJP at the Centre and in the state has been desperately praying for his recovery. For, there is no one else who commands the kind of popular support Parrikar enjoyed—both for his governing skills and his personal integrity.
He was one of the three men who built the party organisation in Goa. However, compared to others, he had far better knowledge of the laws, far greater problem-solving ability, far superior wiles and far better conversational skills. Voters began to bet on Parrikar, and gradually he succeeded in leading the BJP from a small presence to the ruling benches in the Assembly.
The paradoxical sentiment that pervades Goa BJP today is that while on the one hand they are full of praise for Manohar Parrikar, on the other they hold him responsible for damaging its wings by not nurturing a next line of leadership
But it was equally true, as Parrikar’s lament on the absence of a second line of leadership showed, that he did it without taking a co-pilot along who could take over in case something happened to him.
The paradoxical sentiment that pervades Goa BJP today is that while on the one hand they are full of praise for Parrikar, on the other they hold him responsible for damaging its wings by not nurturing a next line of leadership.
The dilemma that the party finds itself in is: should they choose a thin or small tree from the Goa garden or import a healthier tree from Delhi, like Union Minister for Ayush Shripad Naik, who has been continuously elected four times to the Lok Sabha from North Goa and has ministerial experience with central governments.
There is also a Brahmin (Gaud Saraswat)-backward caste conflict within the Goa BJP, and Manohar Parrikar and Shripad Naik have represented the two opposing sides, respectively, but both the caste conflict and the personality conflict have remained subterranean. Their training and mindsets rooted in the RSS ideology of Hindu oneness, the two have never fought it out in the open or brought their relationship to a breaking point, though there have been occasional vocal fireworks. Goa’s governance in the past seven months since Parrikar fell seriously ill has been like a train stuck on a track depressed by a tremor.
Decisions are pending, files are not moving. Officers have forgotten how a cabinet meeting is conducted. Parrikar vainly tried to make people believe he could run the government from his bed in a US hospital and his bedroom in his Panaji home.
Goa’s governance in the past seven months since Parrikar fell seriously ill has been like a train stuck on a track depressed by a tremor
People are losing patience. They want a Chief Minister who is healthy and active and accessible. They want a government that is functioning and responsive. The choice is someone from the Goa BJP, for either of the two BJP allies in government, the Maharashtrawadi Gomantak Party (MGP) and the Goa Forward Party (GFP), has rejected the idea of merging with the BJP, so their leader becomes the Chief Minister.
The MGP has claimed the CM’s post, by virtue of its leader Sudin Ramkrishna Dhavalikar, who is PWD Minister, being the senior-most in the cabinet. The GFP has rejected the idea. Nevertheless, the BJP-MGP-GFP alliance is going to be weaker without Parrikar.
Both the MGP and GFP had made it conditional that Parrikar be the leader of the coalition for them to join the government. With Parrikar not there, both parties are talking in a different languages to the BJP central leadership. They are putting forth conditions.