Vijai’s announcement of backing Francis’ son shocks BJP; Party says ‘not the right time’ to respond; Congress opines State heading for dissolution
PANJIM: Even as the BJP is trying hard to convince alliance partner MGP not to contest the Shiroda and Mandrem bypolls, another coalition partner GFP seems to have dropped a bomb at Mapusa.
Sardesai emerging from D’Souza’s house after paying homage to the late Dy Chief Minister said that he was willing to back the latter’s son Joshua to take forward the departed leader’s legacy.
However, Sardesai was not very clear whether he would back Joshua on a GFP ticket or on the BJP, the party which his father embraced for 17 years.
The development and the timing of the statement assume significance as BJP is at the point of taking a decision between dissolution of the Assembly or bypolls.
The BJP, for now, is trying to play down Sardesai’s statement saying this is not the right time to talk. “Mourning period is not right time to talk about following legacy of Francis D’Souza or bypoll,” BJP general secretary and spokesperson Damodar Naik said.
However, sources within BJP revealed that the stage now seems set for dissolution. “There is no point continuing in this fashion and with CM not in the best of health. The right decision would be to head for dissolution,” said a top BJP worker.
He added, “Mapusa is a BJP seat. Even though Vijai has not said he would back Joshua on his party seat, it is more or less understandable.”
The Opposition Congress, has already said that the State is heading for dissolution. “Looking at the scheme of things, the Manohar Parrikar-led government seems to be heading for dissolution. The infighting among alliance partners, then CM taking vote on account for just five months indicates that BJP wants dissolution and fresh polls,” Opposition leader Babu Kavlekar said.
Interestingly, the BJP strength in the Assembly has reduced from 14 to 13, after D’Souza’s demise. The party has the support of MGP 3, Goa Forward 3, Independents 3.
Congress on the other hand has been reduced to 14, after two of its MLAs – Dayanand Sopte and Subash Shirodkar resigned to join BJP.
With D’Souza’s departure the State is looking at three bypolls – Mandrem, Shiroda and now Mapusa. Two other BJP leaders - Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar and Cumbharjua MLA Pandurang Madkaikar – are also not in the best of health. While Parrikar is suffering from pancreatic cancer, Madkaikar underwent brain surgery following a stroke last year, and is yet to recover.
The BJP is already rattled with the MGP president Pandurang (Deepak) Dhavalikar deciding to contest the Shiroda bypolls. BJP leaders had discussions and meeting with the regional outfit but MGP doesn’t appear to be in a relenting mood. Similarly, MGP also has plans to contest in Mandrem.
Meanwhile, Sardesai, who is also the TCP Minister, had earlier said that if MGP can contest Shiroda his party would have to rethink its strategy. “When the allies fight with one another, there is a clear signal to the people that the allies are not speaking in one voice and that we are not united. If we are not united it means the next thing is a collapse of the government. If this disunity is not treated or checked, then there is an imminent fall in the government,” he had said recently.
Sardesai, who said that voters had elected him for five year, had announced that GFP was ready to execute Plan B to ensure the government’s stability.
MGP on the other hand had said, “Our fight is against defections and not against any party including BJP. We strongly feel that an MLA should not resign before he completes his five-year tenure. And, the voters should also not encourage such politicians by re-electing them in bypolls.”