Is Goa BJP digging its own grave?

By Sandesh Prabhudesai
28 August 2019 23:02 IST

Bharatiya Janata Party made a debut in Goa Assembly with four legislators in 1994, making a public mark as a ‘party with a difference’. Today, over 25 years, it has become a ‘party with differences’. Merely not internal differences, the hardcore cadres are openly jumping out of the saffron bandwagon and posing a threat to their organisation by forming its own ‘anti-BJP’ political groups. If not, at least staying away from it.  And on the other hand, the ‘Hindutwa’ party is strengthening (?) its base by admitting ‘secular’ Congressmen and women, in retail as well as in wholesale.

It has converted its own slogan ‘Congress-Mukt Bharat’ into ‘Congress-Yukt Bharat’!

The most stable party today with 27 MLAs in Goa Assembly. 68% strength in the 40-member House. A brutal majority which Goa had not witnessed for over four decades. What a punch! But, is it?

Because in reality, 60% of these members are imported from the Congress. Mauvin Godinho, Pandurang Madkaikar and Pravin Zantye before 2017 Assembly election. And in three stages, Congress MLAs Vishwajeet Rane, Subhash Shirodkar and Dayanand Sopte, who resigned as Congress MLAs and got re-elected and then a wholesale purchase of 10 Congressmen & women, including the former Leader of Opposition Babu Kavalekar.


Goa is a peculiar state. Though Christian population is hardly 25%, it’s concentrated in four Old Conquest talukas (which were converted by Portuguese in the 16th century). Out of 40, almost 24 Assembly segments belong to these four talukas of Salcete (8), Mormugao (4), Tiswadi (5) & Bardez (7). The rest of 8 talukas have only 16 Assembly segments. And keeping aside Margao, Mormugao, Panaji and Mapusa, remaining 20 Assembly segments in these four talukas have a Christian strength not less than 40% to 90%.

It is thus impossible for any political party to garner majority and form its government without Hindu-Christian combination. And precisely this is the reason Congress could dominate Goa Assembly since 1980. And the same formula is adopted by the BJP. Out of 27 MLAs, almost 15 legislators are Christian, in a ‘Hindutwawadi’ party.

1) Joshua D’Souza (Mapusa), 2) Glenn Ticlo (Aldona), 3) Michael Lobo (Calangute), 4) Babush Monserratte (Panaji), 5) Jennifer Monserratte (Taleigao), 6) Tony Fernandes (St Cruz), 7) Francis Silveira (St Andre), 8) Alina Saldanha (Cortalim), 9) Carlos Almeida (Vasco), 10) Mauvin Godinho (Dabolim), 11) Wilfred D’Sa (Nuvem), 12) Philip Neri Rodrigues (Velim), 13) Clefacio Dias (Cuncolim), 14) Nilesh Cabral (Curchorem) & 15) Isidore Fernandes (Canacona).

Even most of the rest are not hardcore saffron cadres, be it the recently joined Babu Kavalekar or three-time MLA Milind Naik, besides jumping jacks like Babu Azgaonkar. In fact, except chief minister Dr Pramod Sawant, not a single cadre from Sangh Parivar is left in the BJP legislative party. Most pathetic scenario for the BJP, which was believed to be the party of disciplined ideological cadres.


Whether it’s Congress or BJP or any other party, the government representing all sections of the society is always good for healthy democracy. Perhaps this is the reason our BJP men in Goa don’t dare to even utter communal or hate language, which is seen rampantly happening all over India. And they need to conduct ‘study circles’ to teach the ‘new MLAs’ the BJP ideology.

This is not at all a sign of BJP getting rooted in Goan soil. In fact, it’s a clear cut sign of BJP getting uprooted from grassroot level. It’s literally collapsing. The hardcore Hindutwawadis are leaving the saffron brigade, to build the parallels. Not Dr Suresh Amonkars, Ramesh Tawadkars and Daji Salkars who were denied tickets during elections. Revolts always take place when party grows. But obedient ideological soldiers are getting sidelined. Even old guards are made scapegoats for short-term political gains.  Prachakar-tuned-politician like Rajendra Arlekar is openly alleging that the Congressisation of BJP is suicidal.

As a political game of survival, one may forgive if BJP wins over Congress leaders from a weak constituency of BJP, like Quepem or Cumbarjua. But definitely not from the BJP strongholds like Mandrem, Pedne, Shiroda, Tivim, Sanvordem etc.  This is obviously resulting into either hardcore BJP cadres being isolated or cadres themselves keeping away from this opportunist power game.

Though not openly, many committed but deeply hurt Sangh Parivar cadres (not active politicians) admit that this ‘strengthening’ game is actually ‘weakening’ the very foundation of the BJP in Goa. Not the leaders but the cadres, active supporters and sympathisers are falling apart. Reasons may be diverse. Sympathisers will be upset because of Congressisation, active supporters due to Christianisation and hardcore cadres frustrated over ‘killing the ideology’.


This became evident when the majority Swayamsevaks led by former Goa Sanghchalak Subhash Velingkar quitting RSS and forming a parallel political party called Goa Suraksha Manch. Velingkar openly said their first priority is to finish the BJP. They partly succeeded in 2017 election by splitting the BJP votes and getting non-BJP candidates elected. Their second strategy of contesting by-elections did not bear fruits; but not that seeds are not sowed. In fact the maximum damage is caused by its own Swayamsevaks, who are no more with the Sangh Parivar.

Manohar Parrikar’s performance was not bad after getting absolute majority of 21 in 2012 election. And performance of 9-member Congress was not at all good. Still in 2017 election, BJP was reduced to 13 and Congress rose to 17. And these 13 had 7 Christian MLAs. Francis D’Souza (Mapusa), Michael Lobo (Calangute), Glenn Ticlo (Aldona), Alina Saldanha (Cortalim), Carlos Almeida (Vasco) and Nilesh Cabral (Curchorem). Among these 7, only Cabral keeps saying that Church worked against him, not others!  The secret talk is that Church had supported most of these Christian BJP candidates, not to take risk and losing its power in case BJP comes back to power. And it supported the Congress in other Assembly segments. Besides, two more Congressmen Pandurang Madkaikar and Pravin Zantye were imported from Congress. It means the real original BJP actually won only 4 seats in 2017. Siddharth Kuncalienker (Panaji), Pramod Sawant (Sankhli), Milind Naik (Mormugao) & Rajesh Patnekar (Bicholim). [Let’s forgive Patnekar for joining Congress in 2012!]

Doesn’t it mean BJP was actually wiped out in 2017 election? And Congress rose back in spite of worst performance as the opposition? Why? Because BJP did not perform? Or the cadres, supporters & sympathisers played its ‘secret’ role? Including the RSS cadres who openly disowned the BJP and vowed to ‘finish’ it? It means the battle lines were drawn clearly in 2017. It didn’t become visible due to hung Assembly and arm-twisting by BJP’s central leaders to form an unholy ruling coalition with Goa Forward and MGP.

And the trend continues. Now it’s reflected also in Goa University students’ council election. Even Congress never ever displayed such kind of open battle between Youth Congress and NSUI. The students’ wing of Congress party (not NSUI) fought Goa University students’ elections when NSUI had become defunct. But they immediately backed out when NSUI struck back.

But what was witnessed in the university campus this week was really shameful. Bharatiya Janata Yuva Morcha and Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad activists not only shouted slogans against each other, they even came to fists. There was ‘maramari’. Police had to be deployed on the campus, not to control the political rivals like BJP and Congress, but Youth v/s Students from within the Sangh Parivar. What does it signify?


In short, a complete collapse of the organisational network the RSS had built by functioning as an umbrella organisation of all its constituents: the BJP, BJYM, ABVP, Mahila Morcha, Vishwa Hindu Parishad, Bajrang Dal etc etc. The BJP apparently wants to reverse this system. Looks like the party organisation wants to become the umbrella organisation by (mis)using its ‘power’ful position and control all the constituent organisations. Even the RSS. Perhaps that’s the reason BJP Goa President Vinay Tendulkar had a press conference to welcome the victory of BJYM and the elected council posed for a photograph with Chief Minister Dr Pramod Sawant!

The falling apart had also become evident when Manohar Parrikar’s political guru Subhash Velingkar had started openly accusing him as ‘Fottingacho Pai’. And the whole BJP brigade then defaming Velingkar. The anonymous pamphlet circulated during Panaji by-election against Velingkar was definitely not by Congress candidate Babush Monserratte or AAP candidate Valmiki Naik. Velingkar was not at all a threat to them. In fact he was a big hope, which got shattered. And the ‘publishers’ of this third-rate pamphlet displayed the lowest level of ‘pulitik’ by making cheap and shameful personal comments about Velingkar’s ancestors. It was disgusting for a Niz Goenkar.

And now in the GU students’ council election, the victorious BJYM publicly declared that ABVP is no more their younger brother, but their arch rival. This has proved beyond doubt that the internal squabble within the Sangh Parivar has trickled down to the students and youth cadres.

It is neither Congress nor MGP nor AAP that would marginalise the BJP in Goa. The one-time united Sangh Parivar is today capable enough to do it. We have to just wait and watch.


And what is the survival game for the BJP? One: The Bahujan Samaj image being created of Dr Pramod Sawant. The public outburst of BJP member and President of Mathagramasth Hindu Sabha Pandurang alias Bhai Naik, on the dais of Goa Forward, came as a big respite for Dr Sawant, after he dumped Vijai Sardesai-led Goa Forward and independent Rohan Khaunte from his cabinet. But will the Bahuajan Samaj horse ride him to victory in 2022? Again, we need to wait and watch.

And yet another way of salvage possible is the ‘new Congress’ shaping up in Goa, the new avatar of Bharatiya Janata Party. A combination of Hindu Bahujan Samaj and Christians under the young Bahujan leaders like Dr Pramod Sawant. No ideology! A bunch of opportunistic 'political businessmen' coming together under the garb of 'nationalist' BJP. Just like how the then new avatar of Congress clicked in 1977.  The Congress today is not the original Congress. It’s a combination of MGP of Hindu Bahujan Samaj and Christian UGP which was created in 1977 and rose to power in 1980. This combination played ‘wonders’ in Goa. But it had an advantage. The ‘image’ of being secular. Will Narendra Modi government in Delhi and Adityanaths like in UP or Pradyna Thakurs in Bhopal control their tongues to help Dr Pramod Sawant to maintain its so called secular image? Sounds impossible!

If Dr Pramod Sawant doesn’t succeed in working out these formulae, then certainly getting into the grave is inevitable.

And ultimately, it all depends on how educated and peace-loving Goenkar voter thinks and acts. Let’s wait & watch!

Disclaimer: Views expressed above are the author's own.

Blogger's Profile

Sandesh Prabhudesai

Sandesh Prabhudesai is a journalist, presently the Editor of, Goa's oldest exclusive news website since 1996. He has earlier worked as the Editor-in-Chief of Prudent & Goa365, Goa's TV channels and Editor of Sunaparant, besides working as a reporter for Goan and national dailies & weeklies in English and Marathi since 1987. He also reports for the BBC. He is also actively involved in literary and cultural activities. After retirement from day-to-day journalism in 2020, he is into Re-Search Journalism (पुनर्सोद पत्रकारिता), focusing on analytical articles, Video programs & Books.

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Election in Goa should be BALLOT PAPER and not with EVM.

Re-election of any MLA or MP who joins another party with two third or whole party.

- Jack De Goan, Goa | 29 th August 2019 20:27



Delhi People Are Getting:

Free Health Care, Free Water, Free Electricity, Free Education, Free Wi-Fi, Free Transport For Women, CCTVs Security, Free Treatment in nearby private hospital, who met with an accident, Old Age Home with Aam Aadmi Clinic, Free Training Center for unemployed Youth, Electricity Company Pays Fine to their Consumers for keeping them without Electricity, etc.

- Jack De Goan, Goa | 29 th August 2019 20:26


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