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After ousting Congress, BJP has to deliver on promises (Goa Newsletter)

Goa,Politics, Sat, 24 Mar 2012 IANS

Panaji, March 24 (IANS) The March polls marked a tectonic alteration in Goa's political topography, which for nearly three decades has been dominated by the Congress.


The extent of the Congress clout in Goa's political theatre can be judged by the longevity of two political appointments on government funded institutions.


Ten-time legislator from Poriem assembly - 60 km from here -- and five-time chief minister Pratapsing Rane was the chairman of the Kala Academy, a semi-autonomous art and culture promotion platform for over 25 years without a break.


His wife Vijayadevi Rane headed another semi-autonomous institution, Bal Bhavan, from 1996.


The saffron wave led by the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), which routed the Congress and reduced its presence to a single digit - nine -- in the 40 member assembly, has changed all this.


After taking power, Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar promised to rid the "parasites" from state-run institutions, Pratapsing put in his papers. His wife is expected to be replaced soon.


Goa has nearly two dozen odd corporations and other institutions which have politically appointed boards of directors that the new government has promised to chop and change.


While the BJP and its allies, including the three-member Maharashtrawadi Gomantak Party (MGP) and two independents, revel in their win, the Congress has failed to cure the ills that led to its decimation.


Even when the party shrunk from 20 seats to nine in the Goa assembly, internal dissent and jaded political choices further wrecked its potency.


Three legislators, including the husband-wife duo of Atanasio and Jennifer Monserrate and Pandurang Madkaikar, did not attend the legislative party meeting which elected Rane to the post.


Rane's choice itself has been considered "regressive and ridiculous" by a section of the party.


"Rane's reputation is tainted. His neck is on the block in the SEZ (Special Economic Zone) scam for questionable allotment. His last stint as leader of opposition when Parrikar was chief minister was regressive," says a Goa Congress leader.


"And it is ridiculous because Rane was the head of our party's campaign committee which led us into these elections. His son (Vishwajeet Rane, also a legislator from Valpoi) had a field day in allotment of ticket. Look where it has brought us. Is he being made leader of opposition as a reward for leading the party to doom?" asked the leader.


The Congress may have been at the battering end of the vote, but it still survived the near tidal wave of rejection.


Other political parties like the Congress ally Nationalist Congress Party (NCP), which had three legislators in the last assembly, was wiped out.


Mamata Banerjee's Trinamool Congress, which made its electoral debut contesting 19, lost all of them.


The party's rout was so complete that its state president, a two-time chief minister Wilfred de Souza, won only 600 plus votes. Eighteen Trinamool candidates lost their deposit.


For the BJP, which finally managed to break electoral ice with Goa's 23 percent Christian community, it is now time to deliver its promise of good governance.


This after spending nearly eight years as a combative opposition protesting against corruption, illegal mining and poor governance of the Congress-led government.


With three of its legislators involved in mining trade - BJP legislator from the mining belt of Curchorem, 50 km from here, Nilesh Cabral has even openly defended illegal mining - and its coalition partner, the MGP having been partners in the last corruption-ridden Congress led government, Parrikar's time to walk the tightrope may have just begun.


(Mayabhushan Nagvenkar can be contacted at


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