Communal BJP A Super Sharp Well-Oiled Political Machine
Panjim: The absolutely contrasting approaches to government formation of both the Congress and the BJP over the past 48 hours, showed up the Congress, Delhi High Command, as a bunch of complete political novices and the BJP as a super sharp well-oiled political machine, which treated government formation with war-like discipline and the “get a job done approach.”
This does not nullify the fact that this successful attempt at government formation by the BJP is absolutely mandate-defying and goes against the spirit of the message given to Goa by the people of Goa. The moral argument will hold and continue to hold not just now but for posterity as an example of how people will not allowed to triumph.
At the same time, can the Congress - under the leadership of the AICC General Secretary in-charge of the Goa desk Digvijay Singh really play just the victim card as it haplessly and helplessly reduced itself to a bystander with the BJP calling all the shots and controlling every move, not only of MGP and Goa Forward and the Independents but also of some Congress MLA’s who were open to jumping ship. If the people of Goa have trusted Congress above other parties, like the AAP, to obviously form the government, then it was not just the responsibility but the solemn duty of the so called “high command” to ensure that its desk in-charge, behaved and functioned like a true leader and get a mere 4 MLAs to the Congress side.
The BJP had to bridge a gap of eight and it did with smoothness and alacrity. The Congress should have sent a letter to the Governor on the evening of March 11 as soon as the results came in staking claim t form the government, with a provision that its CLP leader would be elected on March 12 and formally arrive in Raj Bhavan to stake claim. A decisive move of that nature would have stalled the Independents and perhaps even the Goa Forward in it tracks, once it knew that Luizinho Faleiro was not going to be the CLP leader and Chief Minister designate. While some sections in the Congress including a few MLAs insisted that Faleiro had thrown his proverbial hat in the proverbial ring, the GPCC president was categorical that he conveyed clearly to a very senior AICC functionary that he was backing out to allow for quick decision on the leader.
Another factor crippled the Congress. No one seemed to have had the authority to make an offer to Vijai Sardesai that he could not refuse. Digambar Kamat, was “authorised” by the Congress to speak to Vijai Sardesai, but obviously did not have the ultimate authority to seal the deal and offer cabinet berths, without the all important approval of ‘Soniaji” through Rahulji. To both him and to Digvijay Singh, Vijai Sardesai asked if they were the final authority to seal the alliance, and they both said that an ultimate referral had to be done.
At the same time, there was no clarity, with the Congress adding to the mounting confusion, with the AICC leadership riding the high horse and taking a stand that the choice of the CLP leader could be held in abeyance till Sardesai confirmed Goa Forward’s support. A peeved Sardesai who wanted the announcement of the CLP leader’s name, switched off his phone and cut off all contact.
As the Congress waited, literally not knowing what to do and all its MLAs waited aimlessly at the Mandovi hotel, at the very same time that Michael Lobo, Siolim MLA Vinod Paleyencar and Sardesai’s close friend and hotelier Milton Marques rushed to Sardesai’s residence, gave him the final offer, stated that they were authorised to confirm the arrangement, asked Sardesai to come with them and drove him straight to Hotel Cidade de Goa.
It is almost amusing that for 24 hours, the Congress couldn’t elect a leader till the time the BJP staked claim to form a government and within an hour of this, it announced that Babu Kavlekar was their CLP leader. And on March 13, another 24 hours later the CLP leader Babu Kavlekar sent a letter to the Governor asking for an invitation to form a government, after Manohar Parrikar has been appointed by the Governor and the swearing in was announced.
Now cut to the BJP camp. It demonstrated that government formation is done in the ruthless war room of politics and not at the altar of ethics. It wasn’t coy that politics was all about power and not about service. Getting Goa and Manipur either by mandate or manipulation was sanctioned, authorised and even dictated by the BJP’s National Executive council. Read Union Highways and Shipping minister Nitin Gadkari’s words to the BJP leaders in Goa, and to some close non-political friends in his room in a Dona Paula, “I was sent here, with instruction to do whatever it takes to form this government. And I have been authorised to take any decision, even the resignation of the Defence Minister of India, to make way for him to return as Goa’s Chief Minister.”
Cabinet berths were decided, the BJP MLAs were told that some of them will have to be kept out due to compulsions, and the process of swearing in was underway.
If we for a moment painfully keep aside the morals of this process, which the people of Goa will have to seriously respond to and take long term decisions, we can safely conclude that the BJP has made government formation from virtually any situation, a precise emotionless and effective science.