Gadkari is Goa poll in-charge

Gadkari is Goa poll in-charge

Shekhar Iyer, August 26, 2016, New Delhi, DHNS

Gadkari is Goa poll in-charge

 Union Road Transport and Highways Minister Nitin Gadkari has been appointed in-charge of the BJP’s election work in Goa.

The decision indicates Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s wish not to burden Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar with poll work as he is tied up with security issues, party officials said.

Gadkari’s appointment for Goa was announced by BJP chief Amit Shah after a discussion with Modi and the RSS.

Interestingly, Parrikar was keen to return to the state scene to ensure the BJP’s victory, but was overruled by both the Prime Minister and the RSS brass, the officials said. Goa goes to polls early next year.

After Parrikar shifted to Delhi in November 2014, his close associate Laxmikant Parsekar took over. But Parsekar lacks the charisma which Parrikar enjoyed among diverse sections of the Goan electorate, local leaders said.

The BJP as well as the RSS brass have been averse to formally assigning Parrikar a bigger role as it would give currency to the talk that only his return as the chief ministerial candidate can salvage the party’s electoral prospects.

Nevertheless, Parrikar is expected to be involved in the election work, perhaps, as chairman of the BJP election campaign committee at a later stage. Besides its traditional rival Congress, the BJP faces a serious challenge from the Arvind Kejriwal-led Aam Aadmi Party (AAP), which has taken the Goa polls seriously.

The AAP has already launched its campaign with its president and Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal having visited Goa three times.

Kejriwal had said he would lead the AAP’s Assembly election campaign in Punjab, while his deputy, Manish Sisodia, would be put in charge of Goa.

Survey findings

What has added to the worries of the BJP is a survey conducted recently by Prudent Media, a media house in Goa, in association with Goa University.

It has found that if elections were held today, the ruling BJP will emerge as the single largest party in the 40-member Assembly. But it will need others to form a government as it will only get 17-18 seats, where the majority mark is 21.

In the present House, the BJP has exactly 21 seats. Its target is to win 27 seats in the next elections. The BJP’s ally, the Maharashtrawadi Gomantak Party, which has three seats, will more or less retain its position, the survey stated.

The Congress is likely to get 12-13 seats. In 2012, the party had won nine seats and its strength reduced to seven after an MLA was expelled and another sided with the BJP. The survey gives the AAP 10% votes to bag four-five seats.

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