Sunday, Nov 27, 2022

PM Modi in Goa today: Will he endorse Amit Shah’s ‘Parrikar for Goa’ remark?

Serving as the Defence Minister since the Modi cabinet reshuffle of November 2014, Parrikar has repeatedly hinted that he's open to coming back to Goa.

manohar parrikar, Goa elections, amit shah, narendra modi, modi in goa, parrikar goa CM, goa chief minister parrikar, amit shah on parrikar, goa assembly elections Union Defence Minister and former Goa Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar. PTI Photo

BJP workers estimate a crowd of at least 50,000 for Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s election rally in Panaji on Saturday, a constituency that has elected a BJP MLA for the last five assembly elections – Manohar Parrikar. With barely a week to go for Goa to once again elect a new government, there is a sense of worry among BJP party workers — will the party manage to reach anywhere close to the magic figure of 21? The worry among party cadre is understandable – given that current Chief Minister Laxmikant Parsekar has already been sidelined by the party – his campaigning is largely restricted to his own constituency of Mandrem – a huge anti-incumbency sentiment, and its former alliance partner the MGP deciding to pull out and support the RSS faction, Goa Suraksha Manch, which has decided to ‘teach the BJP a lesson’.

WATCH VIDEO | Visuals from Amit Shah rally in Amritsar

It is in this context that the party is hopeful PM Modi’s rally Saturday afternoon will help them secure more votes. While buses carrying voters from the interiors of Goa have already begun moving towards the Sports Authority of Goa grounds, Campal, there’s one big question on every party workers mind — will Modi make an announcement on Parrikar? “Amit Shah had hinted at Modi sending Parrikar back to Goa but if Modi himself says it here in Goa then there is a good chance people may reconsider not voting for us… people in Goa are very proud of Parrikar,” a party worker overseeing preparations at the rally venue said.

Serving as the Defence Minister since the Modi cabinet reshuffle of November 2014, Parrikar has repeatedly hinted that he’s open to coming back to Goa. Even with Parsekar as CM, Parrikar did not loosen his grip on the state administration. Most of Parrikar’s weekends were spent in Goa, micromanaging the government, be it deciding on policy issues or inaugurating projects.

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On Monday, BJP president Amit Shah’s remark at a rally in Vasco set the ball rolling. “(Prime Minister) Narendrabhai (Modi) needs him (Parrikar) at the Centre as well. We will decide after elections where Parrikar will be working. But let me assure you that wherever Parrikar may be working, the Goa government will function under his leadership,” the BJP president said. Parrikar’s response: “Let’s cross the bridge when we come to it.”

What the Opposition says

Senior Congress leader and former chief minister Pratapsing Rane hit out at Amit Shah for treating Goa as a Union Territory. “It is for the people of Goa to think on what Shah said. We are not a Union territory to be ruled from Delhi. We are a full fledged state developed much compared to the other states,” Rane said, adding that it was worrisome that the Defence Minister of the country was more interested in what was happening in Goa than at the border.

The Aam Aadmi Party termed it an “insult to the electorate of Goa that someone who has not been elected goes on to become to de-facto chief minister of the state.” Senior party leader Dr Oscar Rebello questioned the hypocrisy within the BJP when they targeted Sonia Gandhi for running the UPA government. “Just as much as the BJP used to accuse Sonia Gandhi of remote-controlling the Manmohan Singh government, the BJP should not conduct this Machiavellian form of politics in Goa.”

For now, the focus is on Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s rally at 3 pm and what announcement he will have for the people of Goa.

First published on: 28-01-2017 at 09:18:56 am
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