Sunday, November 23, 2014

Goa CM's post : BJP bungles up in social engineering

Goa CM: BJP bungles up in social engineering
Sakal Times Reporters Name | CAMIL PARKHE | Wednesday, 19 November 2014 AT 03:58 PM IST
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I had just arrived in Goa for a holiday when the newly elected Goa chief Minister Laxmikant Parsekar inducted two more Roman Catholics into his cabinet. (Christians in Goa always refer themselves as Catholics; Goans professing the Protestant sect of Christianity are almost non-existent in this tiny state). The induction of Independent legislator Avertano Furtado and Goa Vikas Party legislator Francisco alias Micky Pacheco was a part of the BJP's move to placate the Catholics who were apparently annoyed when deputy chief minister Francis D'Souza's 'natural' claim to the chief minister's post was rejected by the ruling party's high command.

Deputy Chief Minister Francis D'Souza had cut short his abroad tour when the BJP declared its plans to shift Goa Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar to the Union Cabinet for the coveted defence minister's post. D'Souza staked his claim to the vacant chief minister's post and also threatened to raise a banner of revolt if his claim was rejected. But Parsekar who was health minister in the Parrikar government was later unanimously elected leader of the Goa BJP legislative party.

Francis D'Souza had created a stir during the recent Lok Sabha poll campaign when he declared that he was a 'Hindu Christian.' During the parliamentary polls, he had also toured extensively in Christian-dominated pockets like Mumbai, Vasai in Thane districts and other parts of the country to tell the minority voters not to be wary of the BJP which stood only for 'development, efficient governance' and was not 'anti-minorities'.

Incidentally in the previous state assembly elections, D'Souza was elected with the highest margin of votes in Goa. The BJP had in 2012 elections won 21 of the total 40 assembly seats and most important, seven of these legislators were Catholics, elected from the predominantly Christian South Goa assembly constituencies. This was because Parrikar who could not win the simple majority in previous two state elections had later successfully implemented social engineering in Goa and succeeded in winning the faith of the Catholics who form nearly one third population in the state. Parrikar had then rewarded D'Souza with the number two position and also inducted other Catholics into his cabinet.

After winning the power with impressive vote percentage and also the number of seats in 2012 state elections, Parrikar and his party was expected to carry on the social engineering in the longer interest of the party and also the state. But in 2014 Lok Sabha elections, the BJP had forsaken social engineering and instead nominated Hindu nominees both in North Goa and South Goa Lok Sabha seats.

This was in contrast to the long popular mood in the state. Since Goa's Liberation from the Portuguese regime in 1962, the state's representation in the Lok Sabha has been even distributed equally among the two dominant communities in the North and South districts – Hindus and the Christians, irrespective of the political parties in the arena. The BJP this time had a golden opportunity to win both the seats while respecting the strength of both the communities in the two districts. The ruling BJP which had seven Catholics MLAs in its camp could have easily nominated one of them to contest the south Goa Lok Sabha seat and also win it easily. But it did just the opposite and also succeeded in winning both the seats- albeit with a very narrow margin in South Goa. The BJP which has been very vocal about pseudo-secularism and exploitation of the minority votes by the Congress and other so-called secular parties had a good opportunity to prove that 'development' was indeed its main plank and it represented all sections of the society.

Not a single member of the Muslim or other minority community was among the BJP's 282 Lok Sabha members elected in 2014 polls and the party had to induct Najma Heptullah and Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi into the Union ministry although they have not been elected to the Lok Sabha. Their induction into the ministry as Muslim faces of the party was badly needed to prove that the party represented all sections of society. By rejecting Deputy Chief Minister D'Souza's natural claim to the number one position, the BJP failed miserably to cash in on the popular support received from the major minority community and thus change its image as a 'sectarian' party.

Commenting on D'Souza's rejection of claim to the chief minister's seat, a political commentator in Goa wrote that D'Souza may have believed that he was a 'Hindu Christian' but the BJP did not believe so. The BJP will get many opportunities in future to prove that it stands for true development and all-inclusiveness and should not once again bungle up such chances.
James Selvaraj - Thursday, 20 November 2014 AT 06:32 PM IST
Its interesting !

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