Former Goa RSS chief Subhash Velingkar on Saturday said that Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar’s image in Goa is poor. Velingkar said BJP leader Nitin Gadkari’s hint on Thursday about bringing back Parrikar to state politics will not work as a bait for the Goan electorate because the former chief minister’s image has been marred considerably.
Speaking to IANS on Saturday, Velingkar said Gadkari’s statement on Thursday hinting at a central BJP leader’s return to Goa as chief minister after the polls, was an indication that the ruling party was on a shaky wicket in the poll-bound coastal state. “It is sort of a bait, the bait will not work in Goa any longer. Manohar Parrikar’s coming back will be a disadvantage. He had a good image as a chief minister the first time. The image is so low now, that it does not make any difference in Goa politics,” Velingkar added. Parrikar has been chief minister of the state on three occasions.
On Thursday, Gadkari had said: “After the elections the elected MLAs will elect a new leader and our party has a parliamentary board. A new leader will be elected in a democratic manner. The new leader could be selected from the current lot of MLAs or the party will bring in another leader from Delhi with the agreement of party leaders”.
A day later, Parrikar did not rule out his comeback to state politics, saying “let us cross the bridge when it comes”. Velingkar, who is the convener of an opposition alliance of the Goa Suraksha Manch, Maharashtrawadi Gomantak Party and the Shiv Sena, also said that Gadkari’s remark, hinting at importing a central leader, reflected the bankruptcy of the BJP leadership’s calibre.
“From his remark, it appears that in Goa there is no one capable… They are feeling the damage caused to them by GSM and the alliance. They feel that the ground from under their feet is slipping. And therefore they are trying something new, possibly in the form of Manohar Parrikar. Whether Parrikar is here or not, it will make no difference,” he said.
Asked to qualitatively comment on the respective stints of Parrikar and Parsekar as chief minister, Velingkar said: “Laxmikant Parsekar was a dummy, everything was being controlled by Parrikar from Delhi.”
Velingkar was sacked as Goa RSS chief following his consistent criticism of the BJP-led coalition government over the promotion of English language over regional languages in the state’s government aided primary schools.