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‘Goa in ICU’, ally Shiv Sena’s latest barb at BJP

In the latest barb delivered through its mouthpiece the Saamana, the Shiv Sena has accused ally Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) of placing “Goa is in the ICU.”

The BJP’s oldest ally often uses editorials in its magazine to comment on developments, directing sharp criticism at the BJP. This time it has held the party responsible for what it calls “instability” and “uncertainty” in the coastal state ever since chief minister Manohar Parrikar fell ill. The BJP rules Goa with the help of regional allies.

Governance, the Sena alleged, has come to a standstill in Goa. “It seems that the Goa Cabinet is in the intensive care unit for a year now. The situation in Goa is such that government business is stuck. This political instability has led to uncertainty. This is not right,” it said.

Manohar Parrikar, 62, was flown to Delhi for treatment last weekend as his health deteriorated. He had earlier been away in the US for treatment for a pancreatic ailment between June and February this year.

The BJP has been in a huddle since the chief minister flew to Delhi, attempting to freeze on alternate plans and keep its Goa allies together with the Congress building pressure by meeting the state’s Governor and staking claim to form government as the single largest party in the state assembly.

In the Goa elections last year, the Congress won the most seats, 17, while the BJP came in second with 14, but neither party had the 21 seats needed for a majority in the 40-member assembly. The BJP outmanoeuvred the Congress, moving swiftly to tie up with regional parties the Goa Forward Party and the Maharashtrawadi Gomantak Party (MGP) and three independents to form government.

Parrikar, who was then Defence Minister, was sent to Goa by the BJP to head the government; he is seen as the glue that has bound the regional allies to the BJP.

In the Saamana editorial, the Sena also criticised the BJP for not preparing a second-rung leadership in Goa. “Parrikar should have been kept in New Delhi, the BJP should have formed a new team in Goa and the government would have run stably. Had this happened, then the question of who will take over after Parrikar would not have arisen. The BJP is responsible for the current situation on Goa,” the editorial said.

The Shiv Sena and the BJP have been allies since 1989, both in Maharashtra and at the Centre, but for some time now relations have been strained, often seeming to come to breakpoint over issues. The BJP’s growing strength in Maharashtra, where it had served as the Sena’s junior partner for years is seen to have exacerbated the differences.

First Published: Sep 19, 2018 17:20 IST

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