Kept Congress waiting till it decided on CLP leader; Cong stretched decision making to uncomfortable limits; Sardesai always had a plan B of backing BJP which he put into action
PANJIM: Vijai Sardesai, the face and the voice of the opposition who won three of his four seats, purely on the belief of his voters that he would be a kingmaker in an anti-BJP government, swept the BJP back to power, in one of the most dramatic U turns in Goa’s political history.
As the Congress delayed the choice of its legislature party leader, with Sardesai insisting Luizinho Faleiro should not be made Chief Minister, Goa Forward continued its parley’s with the BJP, which commenced late on Saturday night.
Sardesai had fully opened his channels of communication with the BJP and specifically with Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar, after the elections on the evening of Saturday, contrary to the belief that he was only engaging in conversation with the Congress high command members, Digvijay Singh and Chella Kumar.
His animosity with GPCC President Luizinho Faleiro, who, the Goa Forward states, made an open attempt to damage their electoral prospects is known. Faleiro and the Fatorda Block Congress, in turn, accused Sardesai of backing an independent candidate in Navelim for the sole purpose of defeating Mr Faleiro. The Congress therefore authorised former Chief Minister Digambar Kamat, along with Digvijay Singh to close the alliance deal with Goa Forward. With connectivity, both real and virtual, snapping between the Congress and Sardesai since morning, a group of mediators, mainly students and social activists who know Sardesai for years, including Dr Fransisco Colaco, prominent businessman and author Datta Naik, Adv Cleofato Coutinho and others decided to do some ice breaking.
This group of people who are not with Goa Forward, but close to Sardesai, was given to understand, by Sardesai’s team that a Goa Forward-Congress, final meeting could take place. According to this ice breaking team, they travelled from Margao to meet AICC General Secretary Digvijay Singh. Even as discussions were going on two developments are worth recording, according to a source very close to the ice-breaking team. Firstly, team Sardesai became incommunicado and even as the ice breaking team was waiting, they got “breaking news” that Sardesai had offered a letter of support to Manohar Parrikar, helping the BJP go to Raj Bhavan with letters of support.
This came as a complete shock to the ice-breaking team, with Dr Colaco taking to Facebook to send out some very vitriolic messages of anger against Sardesai.