Goa: Political history

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This is a collection of articles archived for the excellence of their content.

Contents

Bharatiya Janata Party

2018: rumblings

Murari Shetye, Goa BJP leaders demand dissolution of party unit, October 21, 2018: The Times of India


Hurt by the party’s decision to induct Congress MLAs Subhash Shirodkar and Dayanand Sopte without taking them into confidence, senior BJP leaders have openly criticised the Goa leadership of the party for “betraying the loyal workers” and called for dissolution of the state unit.

Senior leaders that includes former chief minister Laxmikant Parsekar, former speaker Rajendra Arlekar-—both founding members of the party in the state—and former minister Dayanand Mandrekar have also said the BJP needs a new state president in place of incumbent Vinay Tendulkar, and its core committee should be reconstituted for better functioning of the party.

All three of them are part of the nine-member core committee but have expressed resentment over the way the decisions have been taken without consulting the committee members.

Parsekar said there were one or two people in the party who felt they could pull the strings as chief minister Manohar Parrikar was sick.

“BJP is a cadre-based party and we need a person who can strengthen the organisation. We need a full-time organising secretary and we also want a full-time state president,” Parsekar said.

Currently, Tendulkar also represents Goa in the Rajya Sabha, while Vijay Puranik, who is the state general secretary (organisation), also holds charge of Maharashtra. “A person who has been appointed as a Rajya Sabha member for six years and who will only come to the state on weekends to work for the party, will not help the party’s prospects,” Parsekar said.

Arlekar was also critical of Tendulkar and said there was a need for a full-time president to strengthen the party organisation. “One cannot do service or business and run the party. We need a full-time president,” he said.

Questioning the capability of Tendulkar in managing the party affairs, they said it was time to analyse whether he was “capable”.

“The party president should be available to travel across the state. The organising secretary and the party president and their team should be good. Right now, we have an organising secretary who looks after Maharashtra and he comes whenever there is a meeting in the state or a core committee meeting,” Parsekar said.

He further said the organising secretary should be from the state so that he understands the aspiration of the grassroots workers.

When asked if there was resentment within the party over the induction of two Congress MLAs, Arlekar said the central leadership has also felt that this should not have happened.

2017

How BJP retained power Goa despite fewer seats

Prafulla Marpakwar, How Shah and Gadkari beat Cong in Goa, March 17, 2017: The Times of India


`Quick Political Decision Key To Our Success'

Union transport minister Nitin Gadkari disclosed to students of a management college on Thursday how decision-making was fasttracked to enable BJP to retain pow er in Goa despite the fact that the party had not secured a clear majority .

“In management, decision-making, and that too on priority, is significant. As in-charge of Goa, we took quick political decisions, Gadkari told students of Welingkar Institute of Man agement Studies.

Providing a peek into the behind-the-scenes activity that preceded government formation in the state, he said he had been in touch with party president Amit Shah at every stage. BJP, faced with anti-incumbency , had managed to win just 13 seats against Congress's 17 in the 40-member assembly .“When the results came in, the party chief (Shah) called me up. We decided to meet at his residence in 3045 minutes,“ he told reporters.

“It was 7pm. I told him we don't have the support. He told me we have to form the government and asked me to go to Goa immediately ,“ he said. What followed was a sleepless night for him, and the prospective allies said they would support BJP provided Manohar Parrikar returned to Goa and the NDA government cleared a few crucial projects.

“At 1.30am, MGP's Sudin Dhawlikar met me. We had a discussion. He pledged support. Vijai Sardesai of Goa Forward Party came to meet (me) next,“ he said. “ At 5am, they (MGP and GFP) put a condition -that they will support BJP only if Parrikar is made CM,“ Gadkari said.

“I woke up Amit Shah at 5.15am and conveyed this to him. I told him I am not able to decide and asked for his advice. He said, `The prime minister is sleeping right now.' He said he would call the PM at 7am. He said if Parrikar were to be sent to Goa, the (BJP) parliamen tary board would have to take a decision and Parrikar's wish would have to be considered,“ he said.

At 8.30am, Shah called Gadkari to say he spoke to the PM and others. “Everybody said that if we can form a government in Goa, and if Parrikar is ready , we should do so.“

He said Congress woke up only after BJP submitted a list of MLAs along with letters of support. “It was unfortunate that Congress was crying foul. We have followed due democratic process,“ he said.

Digvijay stopped Goa Cong from staking claim

`Diggy stopped Goa Cong from staking claim’, March 18, 2017: The Times of India


We Were Ready To Meet Guv But Singh Asked Us To Wait, Says State Unit Chief Faleiro

Goa Pradesh Congress Committee (GPCC) chief Luizinho Faleiro on Friday obliquely blamed AICC general secretary Digvijaya Singh and Goa screening committee chief KC Venugopal for the party's inability to form a government in the state despite winning far more seats than BJP.

Refuting reports that a tussle within Goa Congress leaders for the post of CM led to a delay in government formation, Faleiro asserted that Congress had the support of 21 MLAs needed to form the government. He said it was Singh who suggested that Congress should wait till Goa governor Mridula Sinha invited it to form the government. “As per procedure, I had a letter drafted for the governor to inform her that we would be staking claim to form the government, but I was told by Singh that as per convention, the governor would call us. So we waited,“ Faleiro said.

He said that on the night of March 11, when poll results were declared, independent MLA from Porvorim, Rohan Khaunte, and NCP MLA from Benaulim, Churchill Alemao, had extended support to Congress along with two independent MLAs. “We had 21 MLAs with us on March 11th night, but we didn't have their signatures. Venugopal and Singh were empowered to discuss and take decisions. I would not like to cast blame but yes, I feel we should have taken a decision that night,“ Faleiro said.

He indicated that Singh, along with the other leaders, was reluctant to stake claim to form the government until GFP also came on board.Sources said on March 11, Singh, Venugopal and Chellakumar met GFP's Vijai Sardessai at Dona Paula to convince him to join the Congress coalition. “It was decided by our general secretary and by our leaders in Delhi that we should not go ahead without GFP ,“ Faleiro said, adding, “I am not pointing fingers at anybody , but all I can say is that when I was in charge of the north-eastern states, I used to take decisions on the spot.“

Faleiro said GFP was never in favour of an alliance with Congress because it had a pre-poll alliance with BJP, which ultimately caused a breakdown in post-election coalition negotiations.

Vote share

BJP records largest vote share in Goa, March 14, 2017: The Hindu


At 32.5% of votes, 4.1% ahead of Cong.

The BJP failed to emerge as the single-largest party in Goa but garnered the largest vote share of 32.5%, 4.1% more than of the Congress, which topped the tally with 17 seats.

As per the data released by the Election Commission, the Congress, which bagged 17 seats in the 40-member House to become the single largest party, secured 28.4% of the total votes. The BJP won 13 seats, falling eight short of getting the absolute majority. The Maharashtrawadi Gomantak Party, which won three seats, polled 11.3% of the total votes, the data showed.

The AAP was unable to open its account but polled 6.3% of the total votes, while Independent candidates polled 11.1% votes. The Goa Forward Party, which bagged three seats, polled 3.5% votes.

Goa has the highest NOTA percentage among all the five poll States

2019

Mar: Sawant succeeds Parrikar as CM

Murari Shetye, Goa speaker Pramod Sawant succeeds Parrikar as CM, March 19, 2019: The Times of India

Strength of Goa Legislative Assembly, party-wise, as on March 19, 2019
From: Murari Shetye, Goa speaker Pramod Sawant succeeds Parrikar as CM, March 19, 2019: The Times of India


State To Get Two Deputy CMs, Old Cabinet Retained

Goa Speaker Pramod Sawant was sworn in as the 13th chief minister post-midnight on Monday after BJP got letters of support from its allies on the assurance that both Goa Forward Party president Vijai Sardesai and Maharashtrawadi Gomantak Party leader Ramkrishna Dhavalikar would be made deputy chief ministers.

It is the first time that the tiniest state will have two deputy chief ministers. Though an official communication said 46-year-old Sawant would be sworn in by 11pm, grueling discussions between BJP and its allies GFP, MGP and independents delayed the swearing-in to late night. Sawant, who resigned from the speaker’s post, was sworn in along with 11 cabinet ministers, who were part of the late chief minister Manohar Parrikar’s cabinet.

BJP sources said smaller parties and independents have not left the NDA fold and are aware that a prolonged stalemate may lead to House dissolution. BJP leaders have argued that polls held now could well give an advantage to the party as they coincide with a perceived upswing post-air strikes in Balakot. The muscle flexing by GFP and MGP for portfolios of choice and designations kept the state in political flux and raised doubts over government formation.

Shah, Gadkari helped avert crisis

Manoeuvres by Amit Shah, Nitin Gadkari helped BJP retain power in Goa, March 19, 2019: The Times of India


BJP president Amit Shah and Union minister Nitin Gadkari played behind-the-scene roles in ensuring the party retained power in Goa, after the death of Manohar Parrikar, sources familiar with the developments said.

The impasse over government formation, which included dealing with stubborn allies wanting to extract their pound of flesh, was resolved with deft handling of the situation by the two senior BJP leaders, party sources said on Tuesday.

In 2017 also, after the BJP failed to get a majority in the state assembly polls, Gadkari visited the state to help the BJP cobble up an alliance with smaller parties following which a government was formed under Parrikar's leadership.

The sources said the BJP expected a crisis in Parrikar's absence, as the alliance was formed (in 2017) only on the plank of supporting the late leader become the CM.

When Parrikar died after battling pancreatic cancer, the BJP swung into action even as MLAs of ally Maharashtrwawadi Gomantak Party (MGP) huddled in a meeting.

Vijai Sardesai of another alliance partner Goa Forward Party + (GFP) along with his own party members and other independent legislators, including ministers Rohan Khaunte and Govind Gawade, also began holding meetings.

As the leadership change became imminent, the BJP sent Gadkari, experienced at handling the political situation in Goa, to the state, with the mandate of doing all that was required to retain power there.

Sources said Gadkari held one-on-one discussions throughout the night with all MLAs supporting the government, but no consensus was reached among the warring factions.

Even as MGP legislator Sudin Dhavalikar staked his claim for the top post, the BJP Legislature Party proposed Pramod Sawant's name while the GFP and others supported Vishwajit Rane as the chief ministerial candidate.

Despite several rounds of meetings, there was no consensus till Monday morning.

While the BJP was grappling with these issues, the opposition Congress in the meantime submitted a letter to governor Mridula Sinha, staking claim to form government, saying it was the single largest party with 14 MLAs.

The Congress claimed it had majority support.

Till Monday evening, as Parrikar was being cremated with state honours, there was no clarity on the new government formation.

Things started moving when BJP president Amit Shah held a meeting of his party MLAs and MGP's Dhavalikar at a hotel.

Gadkari, who earlier announced that he would be leaving the state soon, also stayed back and by late evening things started falling in place, the sources said.

"A formula which was acceptable to all coalition partners was worked out, under which Sawant emerged as the chief ministerial candidate while Sardesai and Dhavalikar were to be designated as his deputies," the source said.

The alliance partners also suggested that status quo on the cabinet be maintained, implying that all the ministers be sworn in again, which was agreed upon.

Though the BJP was optimistic that the Sawant-led alliance would be sworn in at 9pm, some last minute glitches gave rise to uncertainty.

Gadkari then sat to trouble-shoot things, as several issues, including a common minimum programme and power sharing, were worked out, said sources who were part of the discussions.

Finally, the BJP-led coalition decided to stake claim and all the leaders, including Gadkari, rushed to the Raj Bhavan to stake claim to form the new government and minutes later, Sawant and 11 ministers were sworn in at the oath ceremony.

How Cong again lost the game

Dipak K Dash, March 20, 2019: The Times of India


Congress’ numerical edge in terms of number of MLAs in the Goa assembly was blunted as only three of its MLAs appeared before Goa governor Mridula Sinha while BJP presented all 21 MLAs supporting its claim, minister for roads and highways Nitin Gadkari has said.

The minister, who was despatched by BJP chief Amit Shah + after the demise of Manohar Parrikar + , had a role in working out equations for the second time in the coastal state. He was the man behind the scenes when BJP came from behind to pip Congress to form a government in 2017 despite lesser MLAs.

“Our strength has reduced to 12 and Congress is down at 14. It was natural that we needed support of other parties and independents. The distribution of departments has also been finalised and I am confident this government will carry forward the good work,” Gadkari told TOI.

The situation was resolved after protracted discussions between BJP leaders and smaller parties whose bargaining power had increased in the midst of the political flux. If even one of the regional parties had shifted loyalties, government formation would have become very difficult given the available options.

“Congress has 14 MLAs, but could take only three to the Governor. We produced names of all MLAs supporting us to show our majority. We will pass the floor test on Wednesday as well. There is no room for any interference in this process,” Gadkari said.

The negotiations first had to get around Maharashtrawadi Gomantak Party’s argument that its leader Sudin Dhavalikar is the seniormost MLA and should be considered for the CM’s post. The issue consumed a few hours before BJP persuaded the ally that its nominee be accepted.

There were protracted negotiations that saw some would-be ministers threaten to head off to their homes. The portfolio-sharing was finally worked out well past midnight on Monday. “It was natural on their part to bargain as we needed their support. I have had a 30-year association with local leaders and that helped me. Now there is unanimity and the government will be stable,” said Gadkari.

BJP zeroed in on Goa speaker Pramod Sawant after briefly considering Sripad Naik, junior minister for Ayurveda at the Centre. The feedback from all 12 BJP MLAs favoured Sawant while allies and independents supporting the government also felt that the choice should be from among the MLAs.

BJP splits ally MGP

Murari Shetye, BJP splits ally MGP, to change Goa dy CM, March 28, 2019: The Times of India


Midnight dramas are becoming a norm in Goan politics. If chief minister Pramod Sawant was administered oath in the early hours of a morning last week, Goa woke up on Wednesday to a midnight drama: BJP engineered a split in ally MGP with two of its three MLAs joining the saffron party.

Sawant also sacked MGP leader Ramkrishna Dhavalikar, who served as deputy CM for less than a week.

Tourism minister Manohar Azgaonkar — who’s likely to be made deputy CM — and Sanvordem MLA Deepak Pauskar joined BJP by announcing their decision in a letter to deputy speaker Michael Lobo at 1.45am, circumventing the anti-defection law that needs two-third of the legislative wing to break away.


Now, both BJP and Cong have 14 MLAs in Goa assembly

We split MGP because we did not want it to contest the Shiroda bypoll where it would have spoken against our candidate,” said BJP state president Vinay Tendulkar.

Following the death of then CM Manohar Parrikar, when BJP got down to the business of government formation, there was talk that MGP would split and break away. With Dhavalikar eventually finding a place in the cabinet and getting the post of deputy CM, there appeared to be normalcy, until BJP stunned everyone with its post-midnight coup.

BJP now has 14 MLAs in the 40-member assembly, the same as opposition Congress.

Sources said Azgaonkar will retain his portfolios of tourism and sports, besides being given transport, previously held by Dhavalikar, who is now the lone MGP MLA in the assembly. His prime portfolio of PWD would be given to first-time minister Pauskar, who was sworn in late at night, sources said.

“The chaos within MGP is known to everyone. Decisions were being taken unilaterally by the Dhavalikar brothers and we were not taken into confidence,” said Azgaonkar, adding that he along with Pauskar had joined BJP to speed up development in their constituencies as the next government at the Centre “will be formed by PM Narendra Modi”.

MGP reacted with anger, saying it would field candidates in all constituencies where bypolls are scheduled to be held along with Lok Sabha elections on April 23. Dhavalikar himself is understood to be weighing his options of contesting the Lok Sabha polls from the South Goa seat.

“I am free now. Splitting MGP at midnight is the biggest dacoity done by chowkidars. People are surprised at this dacoity,” Dhavalikar said. Goa Forward Party (GFP), which is now BJP’s lone ally, called into question the “credibility” of the government in the eyes of the public if BJP continues to engineer such defections.

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