RAMNATH N PAI RAIKAR | NT
Panaji : The 60-year age limit imposed by the Bharatiya Janata Party on the candidates for the election of its new state president has given a clear indication that the Goa BJP unit is now moving into the hands of a ‘young brigade’, with the local party veterans expected to take a back seat in the party matters in the future.
Present state BJP president Vinay Tendulkar, who has completed his tenure, had informed this daily that as per the direction of the party’s central leadership, the new state BJP president would have to be a party person below 60 years of age.
The new state BJP president is expected to be in place by December 15, 2019.
The seeds of the BJP were sown in Goa in the 1980s with leaders like Kashinath Parab, G Y Bhandare and Madhav Dhond toiling to gather public support to the party.
Towards the end of that decade four ‘Young Turks’ namely Shripad Naik, Manohar Parrikar, Laxmikant Parsekar and Rajendra Arlekar were roped in from the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh to work for the Goa unit of the BJP.
Exactly three decades later, Shripad Naik is the Union minister and away from the political activities of the state party unit, while Manohar Parrikar is no more.
Unfortunately, Laxmikant Parsekar and Rajendra Arlekar – incidentally both in their mid-sixties – who in the past, have held the posts of the chief minister and Speaker of the state legislative assembly, respectively, seem to have outlived their utility in the party.
Reacting to the latest 60-year age limit for the election of the state BJP president, Arlekar said that one should not be concerned only if the below-60-year candidate for the particular post has enough maturity in him.
“Besides maturity, such a candidate also needs to have commitment and loyalty towards the party,” he observed.
Arlekar said that giving opportunity to young blood to lead the party in the state is a good idea, but then the person elected for the post should have the capacity as well as capability to understand the issues important for the growth and development of the party.
“I strongly believe that a person having these qualities should be elected to the party’s top post in the state,” he maintained.
Parsekar, on the other hand, stated that the decisions in the party are based on the constitution of the party, and the constitution is constantly amendment.
“However, I don’t think that there is any amendment to the BJP constitution, which restricts the age of the state party president,” he added, observing that the current 60-year guideline seems to be like a tailor-made tender document prepared with the sole intention of awarding it to a particular person.
“This 60-year clause is also flaunted to keep away those party workers, who want certain senior leaders to be elected as the new state president of the party,” Parsekar stated, while clarifying that, “Over-60-year Laxmikant Parsekar is just not interested in the post.”
Giving a parting shot, Parsekar said, “If those presently running the affairs of the Goa BJP unit are so much interested in the qualities of the to-be-elected state party president then they should have also done so while importing MLAs from other parties to the BJP.”
“They should have checked if any imported MLA was facing a criminal case, or had attacked any police station in the past,” he retorted.
A famous quotation states, “Time is a cruel thief to rob us of our former selves. We lose as much to life as we do to death.” If this is true for one of the tallest leaders of the BJP – Lal Krishna Advani – then one should not get quite surprised, if similar occurrence takes place in Goa.