Social engineering in Goa
Sakal Times, Point of View column
Friday, March 09, 2012 AT 09:14 PM (IST)
Tags: Social engineering, Francisco Sardinha, Goa politics
I was aghast over a decade ago when Francisco Sardinha of the Congress deserted his party's ministry to form his own government, supported by the BJP. That was the first time a BJP-propped up government had come to the power in the coastal state. Sardinha, a Catholic seeking the BJP's support to fulfil his ambition to become the chief minister, left many people like me completely shocked. I could not understand how Catholic politicians could support BJP -- a party seeking its inspirations from the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh whose anti-minorities policies were not secret. Although I no longer lived in Goa, I presumed that the Goan Catholic voters would not support any politician forming an alliance with the BJP. It was akin to Muslims supporting Narendra Modi in Gujarat.
But this week, Goa electorate gave a clear mandate to a BJP government led by Manohar Parrikar. The victory for the BJP was possible -- especially in Salcette and other parts of south Goa -- only because the Catholics there had preferred the saffron party while rejecting the Congress and the NCP.
Parrikar has indeed successfully played the card of social engineering to bring his party to power. His party nominated many Christians and supported some independent Christians, many of whom have been elected. This is the third time Parrikar will take over as Goa chief minister but this is the for the first time that he has won over both the major communities in the state -- Hindus and Christians. Of course, the BJP state leadership’s conversion was clearly due to its realisation that it was not possible for the party to come to power without the backing of the Christian community, which forms nearly 30 per cent population in the state.
The Goa BJP unit has indeed been a "party with difference," far different from its parent body at the national level. In Gujarat too, Chief Minister Narendra Modi has been working overtime to woo the minorities although he continues to be anathema for his own party during poll campaigns in other states. Muslims in Gujarat seem to have left behind Modi's anti-Muslim image. In Uttar Pradesh five years back, Mayawati had discarded her upper caste bashing and nominated many Brahmins and other upper caste candidates for the state polls, helping her to win a landslide victory.
The Goa model should serve as an eye-opener not only for the BJP but all political parties not to project themselves as messiahs of a single caste or community. That would hopefully usher in the real era of secularism in the country.
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On 15-03-2012 07:42 ?.??. Fr. Michael G. said:
How long will Christians support Congress inspite of their sins of corruption and lethargy? Let us hope that with this term in the hands of BJP the Chrsitian politician will learn a lesson. Goa politics portrays Christianity as not any different from other religions.
On 15-03-2012 05:47 AM diago almeida said:
Thanks for the insight Camil, but if you see over the years the goans in goa and else where majority of them are selfish esp. the politician where they want to enmas wealth and power for themselves and their fly. Examples are plenty in goa itself.
On 12/03/2012 07:35 PM suresh deuskar said:
The paper sees through the glasses which are of their chosen colour.
On 10/03/2012 06:16 PM val dsouza said:
the christians elected on the bjp ticket remind me of an old limerick which i cannot remember correctly, but the gist is - a woman went for a ride on a tiger; the tiger came back with a smile on its face and the woman inside. maybe someone remembers the limerick exactly.
On 10-03-2012 02:09 PM rob said:
Yes, magic in Goa Politics. No doubt about it. Mr. Parrikar has played his cards intelligently and skillfully. Full marks to him and his party. Please do not forget the track record of Goa, how often the elected members switch over and betray. Very few members in the assembly, so let's wait and watch. Hopefully, Parrikar and BJP will remain longer and complete their term. Let's keep our fingers crossed.