Panaji: In what could be a worrying sign for the Goa BJP, former state RSS chief Subhash Velingkar, an arch rival of Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar, on Sunday announced his plunge into electoral politics.
The announcement comes at a time when the state BJP, as well as the BJP-led coalition government in Goa, are facing immense flak over the continuance of ailing Parrikar as Chief Minister despite being treated for advanced pancreatic cancer for the last nine months.
“I will be actively working for the Goa Suraksha Manch,” Velingkar told reporters in Panaji.
Asked if he would be contesting the upcoming bypolls in Goa’s Shiroda and Mandrem constituencies which have been necessitated due to resignations of Congress MLAs from both seats, Velingkar said the decision would be taken at “the appropriate time”.
He also said that considering the political chaos in the state, following Parrikar’s illness and comfortable numbers in the Assembly still eluding the BJP, the Goa Assembly would be dissolved and fresh polls would be announced in Goa along with Lok Sabha elections in 2019.
Velingkar, 66, has served as the state Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh chief for more than two decades.
He is considered responsible for the political grooming of the state BJP’s top leaders including Parrikar, Union Minister of State for AYUSH Shripad Naik and former Chief Minister Laxmikant Parsekar.
He was sacked from the RSS in 2016 after he took on Parrikar, who Velingkar accused of backstabbing the principles of both the Sangh as well as BJP.
Velingkar later founded and mentored the Goa Suraksha Manch, a rightwing conservative political party which considers the BJP its key rival.