Ahead of Goa Assembly elections, slated in February next, the Shiv Sena on Wednesday slammed the Pramod Sawant-led State government and accused the BJP of jettisoning ‘Hindutva’ as an ideology.
In a withering editorial in its mouthpiece, Saamana, the Sena dubbed the BJP as the real beef party in the State. It stated that the saffron party was in effect carrying forward the baneful legacy of Goa’s 450-year -long Portuguese rule with its ‘divide and rule’ politics.
“The late Manohar Parrikar had established the BJP in Goa by leading the fight against casino gambling. The same BJP government has now become the slave of casino owners, while the numbers of youth addicted to narcotic substances in villages are soaring. While the Prime Minister is upset about the gambling racket, the casinos fill up the pockets of Ministers and help fund political parties to fight elections,” said the editorial.
Mocking Mr. Sawant’s Sarkar Tumchya Dwari (government at your doorstep) outreach programme, the Sena claimed that ‘Hindutva’ today remained a mere façade of the BJP in Goa. While the law prohibiting cow slaughter was applicable everywhere in the country, any quantity of beef is available in Goa, it alleged.
“It is the BJP [in Goa] which has truly become a ‘beef party. If the people of Goa today think that the party is the saviour of the Hindu community, then they are mistaken… their ‘Hindutva’ is just a mask and is evident from the kind of MLAs currently in the BJP,” said the editorial.
‘Opportunistic’ govt formation
Criticising the ‘opportunistic’ nature of government formation that Goa had been witnessing for the past several years, the Sena said that only the Congress and the regional Maharashtrawadi Gomantak Party (MGP) had true roots amongst the voters of the State, while the BJP seized power by breaking other parties.
The editorial said the MGP, which had a strong claim to be a true ‘Hindutva’ party, lost ground in the State after the death of its stalwart leader Bhausaheb Bandodkar (Goa’s first Chief Minister).
In the same vein, the edit censured former Chief Minister Luizinho Faleiro, who recently resigned from the Congress to join the Trinamool Congress.
“Each time before an election, one sees the rise of new parties from which one or two MLAs get elected who then ally with bigger parties…Goa has suffered as a result of such opportunistic politics. The BJP was in the minority after the 2017 election results. But the Congress, which had won the highest number of MLAs [17 in the 40-seat Assembly], delayed its claim to power. In this period, the BJP shrewdly secured a majority by splitting the Goa Congress and engineering defections,” said the Sena. It hoped that this picture would change in the coming elections.
Sena action in 2017
Notwithstanding its strident rhetoric against ‘opportunist politics’, the Sena in 2017 had attempted to take on the BJP by forging an alliance with a local party floated by ousted Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) leader Subhash Velingkar.
This, even though the Sena was the BJP’s alliance partner in the coalition government in Maharashtra.
The Sena’s performance had been abysmal at the time. It lost heavily on all the three seats (Saligao, Cuncolim and Mormugao) it contested and managed a paltry vote share of less than 2%.
Earlier this month, Sena MP and chief spokesman and executive editor of Saamana Sanjay Raut announced that the party would field candidates in 20-25 seats and that the party was looking at an alliance akin to the ‘Maha Vikas Aghadi’ colaition government in Maharahstra.
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