Panaji, May 24 (IANS) The outcome of Goa’s two Lok Sabha seats and four assembly bypolls were not in character with the saffron sweep across the country, but the results appear to have put the immediate and heightened aspirations of four key state politicians to rest.
Sudin Dhavalikar (Maharashtrawadi Gomantak Party): His aggressive aspiration to be Chief Minister led to him being dropped from the cabinet unceremoniously, merely a few days after appointment in March. His three member legislative party, was later split by the BJP, leaving him as the only MGP legislator in the assembly.
His campaign, from the sidelines, against the saffron party in the Lok Sabha polls was one of the reasons behind the defeat of BJP’s Narendra Sawaikar from the South Goa seat. But his brother Deepak’s narrow loss in the Shiroda assembly bypoll, effectively puts paid to his hopes of they pairing up together as a force to bargain with and blows away his chances of being in the cabinet once again.
Subhash Velingkar (Goa Suraksha Manch): Once the state RSS chief, he was the guru who gave the state leaders like late Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar, Union Minister Shripad Naik, and former Chief Minister Laxmikant Parsekar, but Velingkar’s electoral foray did not augur well.
With all his party’s candidates losing deposits in the bypolls that they contested, he appears to have lost his touch with realpolitik. Velingkar himself won 500 odd votes in Panaji, a city where he has spent a large chunk of his 70-odd years and groomed generations of swayamsevaks.
“Goodwill is not necessarily translated into votes. I am surprised by that… This election has been a lesson for me,” he told IANS.
Girish Chodankar (Congress): A part of Congress President Rahul Gandhi’s team, he was sent back to Goa last year to build the party organisation and rein in truant partymen. His loss to Shripad Naik in the North Goa Lok Sabha election – following last year’s loss in the Panaji assembly bypoll to Parrikar and three other losses in the assembly bypolls – are a huge blip on his resume.
Younger than several Congress stalwarts and lacking in legislative experience, he is bound to face turbulence given the significant losses, especially the inability to increase the party’s legislative tally, which was essential for a toppling bid. While Chodankar has accepted moral responsibility for the losses, he prefers to see the silver lining on that dark clouds hovering over the Goa Congress now. “We have managed to wrest Panaji, the heart of Goa and the BJP, for the Congress after 25 long years,” Chodankar said.
Vijai Sardesai (Goa Forward): Sardesai, who is currently holidaying abroad with two other MLAs from his party, was – according to political observers – gearing up for a regime change in Goa along with the Congress, if the latter managed a good performance in the assembly bypolls and in the event, the National Democratic Alliance government ended up on a shaky note.
Soon after he was announced the lone Congress victor in the bypolls, newly-elected Panaji MLA Atanasio Monserrate, considered close to Sardesai, even said, that his government toppling plan was on, but he was waiting for the return of his “friends” who had travelled abroad. But a lacklustre performance by the Congress in Goa and the Modi sweep appears to have put paid to Sardesai’s plans.
Sardesai, who had repeatedly flexed his political muscle and had even threatened to “walk out” of the Sawant-led government before the assembly polls, was the first to commit his support to the NDA, moments after its overwhelming lead was splashed on TV on Thursday.