By Shashi Bhushan
Despite some groups raising a voice against him, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) is all set to contest next years Goa Assembly elections under current Chief Minister Pramod Sawant. A well placed source said that the issue was discussed at a high level meeting and it was decided that Sawant will lead the party in the Assembly polls.
A senior leader told IANS that the BJP government in Goa led by Sawant is doing a good job and will return to power under his leadership.
“Goa elections will be fought under Chief Minister Pramod Sawant. The issue was discussed at length and the central leadership is confident of returning to power under him and has asked the state unit to devise specific plans,” said the senior BJP leader.
According to a party insider, however, contesting elections under the leadership of Sawant is no guarantee that he would be made the Chief Minister if the BJP returned to power.
“You saw what happened in Assam. Elections were contested under Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal but after the results the party made Himanta Biswa Sarma the Chief Minister. So the Assam model is also something that is keeping everyone on their toes,” said another leader.
A party functionary said: “Who the Chief Minister will be is a decision that is taken by the central leadership and parliamentary board and that is not an issue to be discussed at this juncture.”
Another senior saffron party leader said the party was concerned over the recent infighting between Sawant and Health Minister Vishwajit Rane over Covid-19 management.
“Central leaders had visited Goa and had held a meeting with the party state president of Goa over the recent issue of infighting. They had asked the state unit to resolve the issue at the earliest and warned them that it should not linger on with elections just round the corner,” he said.
Another party leader explained that Rane is ‘quite ambitious’ and feels he also deserves a chance.
“Vishwajit Rane is the son of a former Chief Minister (Pratapsingh Raoji Rane) and he feels he has the capabilities. But so far the party is only looking at Sawant as someone who can lead the party to a victory,” he said.
The party had won three of the five municipal councils where elections were held with less than a year to go for the state assembly elections under the Sawant government.
“The performance of the BJP was good in the urban local bodies elections where we won six out of seven local bodies including Panaji. This shows the ground presence of the party. We have to keep the momentum going,” said the leader.
The Central leadership has asked the state unit to devise specific plans keeping the elections in mind and connect with the voters with Covid-19 cases coming down in the area.
(Shashi Bhushan can be reached at [email protected])