BJP has a lot of challenges in Goa, it could have become the single largest party in the polls but now they have to depend on others to form a government if they at all manage to pull some seats. BJP has failed in most of the promises and handling the issues in the state but have developed the state to some extent, with most of their projects being completed in the coming five years or so. Also, there are major corruption charges against the government.
Utpal Parrikar, son of former Goa chief minister, the late Manohar Parrikar, is the most-watched person in Goa BJP these days. Utpal has announced he will contest the Assembly election in February 2022 from the Panaji constituency on a BJP ticket. However, BJP was adamant about not giving him a ticket from the said constituency and he had to leave BJP. Right now there is huge anti-incumbency against BJP in Goa. Aam Aadmi Party made its mark and they can get good seats to their kitty.
AAP and TMC fighting Goa polls separately, they could have benefited BJP by cutting Congress votes but the surprise entry of NCP and ShivSena will definitely dent the prospects of BJP. The late Manohar Parrikar had made Panaji his constituency throughout his three-decade long political career that began in the early 1990s. He shifted his residence from Mapusa to Panaji first and then to Taligaon to be in touch with his voters.
But Utpal leaving BJP and contesting independently may not go in favour of BJP and its contesting candidate. Earlier also, Utpal wanted to contest the May 2019 by-elections from the Panaji seat which fell vacant with his father’s demise in March. But Pramod Sawant, who wanted Utpal to back Sidharth Kuncolienkar, a Parrikar loyalist, however, proved it a disaster for BJP. Congress’ Atansio (Babush) Monseratte defeated Kunkolienkar despite the voters’ sympathy for Parrikar. For the first time since 1995, the BJP had lost in Panaji.
The opposition also now has ganged up against Utpal whose only credential is his surname, Parrikar. Another defeat in Panaji would dent the party’s reputation to a great extent. Parrikar however believes he has it in him. Now, he has taken a politically correct stand by showing all love for BJP and contesting on an independent seat. In 2019, Utpal had said that his father did not want him to join politics as it was not a family business like their engineering firm. He now believes his father’s politics ended with his death on March 17, 2019. He calls himself an independent person who can make a difference in politics.
Last time BJP managed two seats in the Goa assembly elections. Everyone wanted Manohar Parrikar as CM of Goa. Then the opposition came together to make Manohar Parrikar a Chief Minister. Congress required only four seats to retain the government, but they couldn’t make it to power. This time BJP may win but never underestimate Congress. Goa assembly election 2022 is open for both parties. The third party will be the kingmaker.
BJP might be perceived as a conservative right-wing party all over India. But that is not the case in Goa. People of Goa live in harmony with Hindus and Christians (the two major religions of Goa) actively participating in each other’s festivals and events. BJP has several Christian MLAs in the state. This point is not to make any communal divide, but just to show you that the vote share is not based on communal lines in Goa and won’t ever be. BJP, Congress and Goan regional parties have exceptional leaders, who people put faith in and have been doing so for several decades. Believe it or not, this factor does matter as political leaders in several constituencies are directly connected to the people, maybe due to Goa being a small state.
AAP has done good work in Delhi, but with a lot of freebies distribution and minority appeasement. If they promise something like this in Goa, it probably won’t go down the throat of the people of the state as the BJP government has already provided them with many subsidies and a reduction in taxes. Also, minority appeasement is simply not acceptable in Goa. Goa is the only Indian state with a uniform civil code and I personally do not know of a single person opposing it.
AAP’s reach in Goa is being overhyped. Just as BJP could not win a single seat in Tamil Nadu or just one seat in Kerala despite their hype, AAP may meet a similar fate. The regional parties are too strong to be contested against. TMC had contested elections in Goa in 4–5 seats in 2012 and I don’t even remember who their candidates were. AAP, a rookie party, with any known local leadership, expects to win 35 seats out of 40. The party has not come out with any policies to suit the people of Goa. They have not made any study of Goa’s problems and requirements.
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