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Analysis | BJP missing Parrikar in Goa

Utpal Parrik

Utpal Parrik

While the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party is yet to announce its first list of candidates for the Goa Assembly election, the uncertainty over fielding Utpal Parrikar – son of late CM and BJP stalwart Manohar Parrikar – is indicative of fissures within the Goa BJP leadership.

It also reflects the current leadership’s reported ‘policy’ of sidelining members of the once-formidable ‘Parrikar clique’ belonging to the Saraswat community from positions of influence. This process, which began a few months after Parrikar’s demise in March 2019 has alienated the influential Saraswat community.

Bereft of Parrikar’s skillful leadership, the BJP is struggling to balance the aspirations of different communities and castes in the State, given that the party’s leadership under Mr. Sawant has already alienated Catholic minorities in a bid to consolidate the Hindu majority.

According to analysts, denying Mr. Utpal a ticket in the election would be sending a negative signal to the Saraswat community, while undermining the credibility of the present BJP leadership which claims to be carrying forward Mr. Parrikar’s legacy.

Last week, the BJP’s Goa election in-charge, Devendra Fadnavis, said the party did not give tickets merely because someone was the son of a former CM.

Mr. Utpal Parrikar has been keen to contest from Panaji.

Sources in the Goa BJP say Mr. Utpal’s lack of connect with the voters has made the party brass hesitant of giving him a ticket. Mr. Utpal, on his part, has hit out at the party leadership for considering a ticket to a man with criminal antecedents (Mr. Monserrate).

The Opposition parties have rallied round the issue, with the Shiv Sena and the Aam Aadmi Party both promising Mr. Utpal a ticket.

Sena MP Sanjay Raut said the Goa BJP was ‘insulting’ the Parrikar family and called upon all the Opposition parties to support Mr. Utpal by not fielding any candidate against him in Panaji.

This has put the BJP in a fix: it cannot afford to lose Mr. Monserrate, an incumbent MLA considered a ‘winner’ given the recent exit of ex-BJP Minister Michael Lobo. But as the party top brass try and placate Mr. Utpal, offering him other avenues of rehabilitation, the BJP risks offending the Saraswat community.

“The Gaud Saraswats, being a landholding, literate class active in the business and social fields have been known to shape political opinion in the coastal state,” says Goa-based academic and political analyst Manoj Kamat. The party has no leader who has Parrikar’s deft ‘social engineering’ skills, he said.

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Printable version | May 14, 2022 9:59:11 am | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/other-states/bjp-missing-parrikar-in-goa/article38288933.ece