Vijai could have prevented the BJP’s march of swallowing immoral MLAs and make up the numbers.He does not to let Salgaonkar and Palyekar out of his sight. Was he insecure because of the counting? BJP getting 1800 votes in the LS election in Panjim segment but losing the assembly by 1758 votes means Utpal would have got those votes in Parrikar's name and the BJP would have got one more seat instead of its humbug excuse that it was against dynasties!

There is no Lion Roars this fortnight. The week that was has been written by Pushpa Iyengar

May 21, 2019

Is Vijai in for an uncertain future?

Deputy Chief Minister Vijai Sardessai might have to “weaponise” himself now that the BJP’s strength has gone up by three bringing the BJP's numerical strength to 17. It won 13 in 2017 and its manufactured strength after the two MGP MLAs Manohar Ajgaonkar and Dipak Pawaskar (and last October, the two Congress MLAs) defected in March became 14, but 21 is still the half-way mark. It could be a question of not “if” but “when” the same fate that befell his bête-noire and then fellow deputy CM, Sudin Dhavalikar, who was ousted from the cabinet unceremoniously, could await him.

While Sudin Dhavalikar and the MGP was needed but not wanted by the BJP to make up the numbers, Vijai’s Goa Forward Party (GFP) might find that he is not needed and not wanted too because of his blatant pronouncements and his not so secret desire to become the Chief Minister.

In such an eventuality, his two other ministers (Jayesh Salgaonkar and Vinod Palyekar), might be looking for jobs!  After all, his bargaining chip that he would only be part of the BJP coalition (he declared that GFP would support the BJP only if Manohar Parrikar became the CM) was shattered even before Parrikar’s body turned cold after he died on March 17. When Pramod Sawant took over as the CM, Vijai stood exposed as a power-hungry politician who would do all kinds of somersaults to be in power and his protecting “Goenkarpann” was fraudulent. He not only continued to be part of the coalition, he even struck a deal to become the deputy CM in a state which has only 40 MLAs.

Wherever you go, I go

Conversely, with BJP on the prowl to manufacture a majority, Jayesh Salgaonkar and Vinod Palyekar could be targets although Vijai pre-empted them dumping his party earlier by making sure both of them were inducted into the cabinet.

In fact, if one turns the clock back, Vijai could have prevented the BJP’s march of swallowing all weak and immoral MLAs and make up the numbers. Incidentally, Telangana Rasthra Samithi’s K Chandrasekhar Rao is following the same template ever since his party won a landslide last December. Who knows, the Goa government may have had a different complexion if Vijai obstructed the BJP.

By the way, Vijai has taken Salgaonkar and Palyekar along with him during his private visit to Israel currently. And being very media savvy, he has been giving interviews from there saying “Goa is looking at Israel to increase productivity and profitability in the farming sector”. He is being hosted at the prestigious Agricultural Research Organisation, Volcani Center, which is under Israel’s ministry of agriculture. He appears not to let Jayesh Salgaonkar and Vinod Palyekar out of his sight. Was he insecure because the counting was happening?

His tactic neutralised

One wonders, if it was his own insecurity that made him back Utpal Parrikar for the Panjim by-elections. BJP made a pretence of being against dynasties while rejecting Utpal and choosing Sidharth Kunkolienkar which was curious because usually, if father/husband dies then the son/daughter/wife is fielded to mop up the sympathy votes. That’s the way it is. And apparently BJP did not much care about dynasties when they selected Alina Saldanha in 2012 after her husband, Matanhy Saldanha died.

Goa Suraksha Manch (GSM)’s Mahesh Mhambrey has accused Pramod Sawant and Siddharth Kunkolienkar, the Chairman and Vice-Chairman of the GSSIDC respectively of “setting”.  He said, “They have done some things there which they want to keep between them.”

But was Vijai hoping Utpal would get the ticket and as a novice to politics would not make a mark, despite Panjim being his father’s pocket borough since 1994 so BJP’s strength could be curbed and he would continue to call the shots?

In any case, he might have to suck it up if BJP begins to plays big brother after the counting, and even settle for insignificant portfolios. Cortalim MLA Alina Saldanha can counsel him about how to conduct himself/GFP in an insignificant post because she was Environment minister last time. And let’s face it, that portfolio has not made Goa pristine. One look at Goa’s environment over the years is proof!

Panjim moves on

And incidentally Parikar’s “legacy” which Utpal used as a crutch to catapult himself into the public eye as the possible candidate from Panjim did not even last two months apparently because the capital’s voters have moved onto Babush Monserrate and given him the thumbs up in the by-elections. And the fact that BJP got 1800 votes in the Lok Sabha election in the Panjim segment but lost the by-election by 1758 votes makes it clear that Utpal would have got those votes in his father's name and the BJP would have got one more seat if it's holier than thou declaration that it's not in favour of dynasties had not been trotted out!

The heat is on

While Babush has never claimed to be an “English gentleman”, nor has Vijai. In fact after the recent incident when he chucked a government officer’s (Chief Officer of the MMC) mobile and called him “useless”, he admitted he was no “English gentleman” and was “aggressive”. That seems to be the genesis of his “weaponise” remark after Goa University published an ad seeking to fill 80-odd posts and watered down the domicile status from the current 15 years.

But Vijai dug in his heels after his declaration caused ripples saying he was not apologetic because protecting sons of the soil was the raison d’etre of his party.  “I have said that domicile and Konkani cannot be diluted in Goa at any cost and this is our party ideology.”

But you have to hand it to him because after all the fire and brimstone, GU withdrew the ad. And since Vijai had threatened to “weaponise” youth if the government failed to act, we can all rest easy!