GOA: UNEASY LIES THE HEAD
CHIEF MINISTER PARSEKAR IS ON SHAKY GROUND WITHIN HIS OWN PARTY
Goa chief minister Laxmikant Parsekar arrives at 8:45 pm to address a corner meeting with his neighbourhood voters in Harmal. Parsekar, who is fighting his sixth election, begins on an emotional note. “My schedule has changed since I became chief minister,” he says. I have not even been able to visit my ailing mother in the past six months because there is so much responsibility on me.” Clearly, he was trying to justify the ‘absence’ from his constituency, Mandrem, in north Goa.
Cornered by opponents over his failed promises and vendetta politics, Parsekar also has his own voters to placate. But the former school principal has judged the situation well. He is focusing on the development works his government has carried out and the many social security schemes, especially for women. The two big infrastructure projects—electronics city and Mopa airport— coming close to Mandrem will hopefully be the icing on the cake. “Electronics city has a capacity to generate employment for the next 25 years. Tujya bhurgyank suddha hancho fudarak faayado jatalo (Your children will also benefit from it),” he says, amidst huge applause.
Ironically, Parsekar, a tough administrator, has been facing flak within the BJP since he took over as CM from Manohar Parrikar (now defence minister) in November 2014. First, there was a revolt against his elevation from within the ranks, then he was dubbed a ‘puppet CM’ who works at Parrikar’s behest. And now, when the BJP is trying to retain power under his leadership, it is not certain he will be CM after the election. Union transport minister Nitin Gadkari, the BJP in-charge in Goa, has already declared that the party might get Parrikar back from Delhi.
A BJP source says Parsekar alone is responsible for his troubles. He locked horns with three senior leaders, Sangeeta Parab, Ramakant Khalap and Subhash Velingkar. Parsekar does not consider Parab and