So, who is BJP's next Goa chief minister?

So, who is BJP's next Goa chief minister?

The discourse within the BJP on choosing the next chief minister of Goa is getting curious by the day.

In an interaction here on Thursday, Union Minister of State for Ayush Shripad Naik said MLAs will decide on the next chief minister if the party retains power.

Though he stressed that there is “no crisis” on the chief ministership issue, his comment rides on Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar dropping hints on his willingness to return to Panaji.

This helped the party central leadership in exploiting Parrikar’s popularity to woo voters.

When asked to comment on BJP president Amit Shah’s statement at a rally that the next government will be run with Parrikar’s support, Naik said, “There is nothing of that sort. Those were mere statements. No name was taken and its an issue that has to be discussed after polls”.

Interestingly, Naik later clarified that Shah meant the next government will be run with Parrikar’s “help” and not support. Prior to Shah, Union minister and Goa poll in-charge Nitin Gadkari told a rally that an outsider will take over the reins of the state. Parrikar and Naik are the only Union ministers from Goa.

Naik also spoke at length on various issues that outlines the BJP’s campaign strategy, the outcome of alliance partner Maharashtrawadi Gomantak Party (MGP) quitting the government and the damage sacked RSS Goa in-charge, Subash Velingkar, could inflict on the party in certain pockets.

The buzz on dual centre of power playing out in the BJP though Laxmikant Parsekar is the chief minister is being seen as a ploy to handle anti-incumbency, but some leaders feel it ends up questioning its own ruling dispensation.

Naik accepted that “this should not have happened”. At the same time, he was of the view that Parsekar “has done good work”.

On whether he is also an aspirant to the chief minister’s post, Naik, an MP from North Goa, said, “I am a disciplined soldier of the party. Any responsibility I get in future I will have to accept it”.

Naik agreed that Velingkar, who has floated a regional outfit – the Bharatiya Bhasha Suraksha Manch (BBSM), will cut into votes in a couple of constituencies, including Panjim. The BBSM has tied up with the MGP and the Shiv Sena.

The minister, however, felt that the coalition of smaller parties won’t pose a “challenge” and that whatever Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal’s Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) does would be at the cost of other Opposition parties. 

Like Parrikar, Naik also accused the AAP of using the Delhi government to fund its campaign here.

But the mood in Goa is that of a quiet island. It’s hard to find banners and slogan shouting supporters even at the BJP’s office in Panjim.
DH News Service

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