BJP lets the cat out of the bag on Why prefer Church-run schools than the RSS

SANDESH PRABHUDESAI, PANAJI | 10 April 2016 20:37 IST

The cat was finally out of the bag today on why the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party wants to continue government grants to Church-run English primary schools even at the cost of antagonising RSS, the parent body of the Sangh Parivar.

Addressing the party leaders at constituency level in Panaji, Chief Minister Laxmikant Parsekar once again reiterated that the government will not stop grants to Church-run schools.

“We need to take everybody along if we have to win the forthcoming Assembly election, not just our stronghold constituencies”, said Parsekar, while speaking on the Medium of Instruction issue.

His target this time is 27 seats, against 21 in the last Assembly election.

And he made the party cadres realise that the party could rise from 14 to 21 – absolute majority - only because of the negative voting against the Congress rule in 2012, which was advantage BJP.

“This is not the scenario now. Now we need to get positive votes based on our performance and also by taking all the constituencies together, even the ones having hold of opposition”, he said.

Goa has 24 constituencies out of 40, in 4 out of 12 talukas alone, from the Old Conquests – Salcete (8), Mormugao (4), Tiswadi (5) and Bardez (7).

Though we call Christians the minorities in Goa, they are either majority or politically dominant in at least 20 of these 24 constituencies, keeping aside Margao, Mormugao, Panaji and Mapusa.

Even with negative voting against the Congress in 2012, the BJP could win only one Cuncolim seat in Salcete and 2 in Tiswadi – Panaji and St Andre.

The real gain for the saffron party was 3 out of 4 in Mormugao taluka and 6 out of 7 in Bardez taluka.

This made a real gain of 12 seats out of 24 in the Old Conquest.

The rest 8 talukas in the New Conquest could give only 9 seats to the BJP, with none in Sattari taluka.

Is it possible for the BJP to retain these seats this time and add 5 more to achieve the target to 27?

Or is it a Herculean task to retain 21 when the possibility of the support of minority community is very bleak?

Perhaps that’s the reason Parsekar is now saying it in so many words: “we need take everybody along, thus no question of withdrawing grants to the Church-run English primary schools.”

Precisely this is the reason, the BJP has taken the RSS and its undisputed leader Subhash Velingkar head-on even by going to the extent of saying that he has lost mental balance.

The BJP has also snapped its ties with the Bharatiya Bhasha Suraksha Manch, claiming that the party was not part of it even in the pre-2012 agitation demanding withdrawal of grants.

“We have told our MLAs, ministers and even party office bearers not to associate with the BBSM”, confirmed Vinay Tendulkar, the local BJP president, today after the party cadres’ meeting.

 

The order has been issued because the BBSM has now planned constituency-wise public meetings, inviting local MLAs, mainly the BJP legislators.

But will this strategy please the Church and the minority community?

FORCE, the organisation fighting to get legal status to the policy of government grants to Church-run through an amendment to the Goa Education Act, is upset with the BJP government.

Because the BJP government has almost decided to withdraw the amendment bill, in spite of the fact that some of the ruling party MLAs had assured them in writing that the bill would be passed in the Assembly.

The BJP is thus making a tight-rope walk by continuing the grants but not making the policy an Act.

In the bargain, both the BBSM and the FORCE feel that they have been cheated by the BJP.

Still, the BJP has decided to play this gamble, perhaps in a desperate attempt to retain 21 seats in the 40-member House.

The only hope for them is the majority Hindu community, large population of which sends their children to English medium schools; not Konkani or Marathi.

The latest figures reveal that 59% learn in English, 33% in Marathi, 5% in Konkani and rest 3% in other Indian languages like Hindi, Urdu etc.

It means larger chunk of Hindu population is already in favour of English medium and majority of them also go to Church-run primary schools.

It would thus all depend on the success of this strategy, which would please the Church by continuing grants while majority Hindus are already for English.

But will Hindus, Christians or Muslims vote in the next election based on the government’s MoI policy or the other U turns the BJP government has taken on crucial issues like mining, casinos, corruption etc?

And will the BJP, on the other hand, succeed in ‘taking everybody along’ to win 27 or at least retain 21 so that they can come back to power?

Well, the only person having answers to these questions is the Voters, who decides Secretly as well as Discreetly! 

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