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Vijai Sardesai’s Daydream

He should mend his relationship with Congress for a maha alliance

A day after the Maha Vikas Aghadi government comprising the Shiv Sena, the Nationalist Congress Party and the Congress took office in Maharashtra, Sena MP Sanjay Raut created a flutter by claiming that a similar alliance would be formed in Goa to oust the Bharatiya Janata Party government in the state. Obviously buoyed up by the success of the Sena in managing to install a government with Uddhav Thackeray as Chief Minister, Raut went to forecast a political earthquake in Goa! From the practical point of view Raut’s forecast is bound to be proven wrong.

So far he apparently has just three MLAs of the Goa Forward Party and no fourth one. How much even GFP leader Vijai Sardesai, who met Raut, can be trusted to form an anti-BJP alliance can be a matter of conjecture. Sardesai was all praise for the BJP as long as he was in the cabinet. Goa was heaven to him then. Goa started its descent into hell the day the BJP removed him from the cabinet. Tomorrow if the BJP takes him back into the cabinet Goa would start ascending to heaven again. How can a Maha Aghadi be formed with a politician who has one foot in the Aghadi and another in the BJP?

The Shiv Sena has no MLA of its own in the Goa Assembly. There are 13 legislators in the opposition camp in Goa. The Congress with 5 MLAs has announced it was not making any alliance. NCP’s lone MLA has pledged support to Chief Minister Pramod Sawant, and so has the MGP’s lone MLA. That leaves only the three MLAs of the GFP, hardly a number that can cause an earthquake! Vijai Sardesai, out of power, is like a bee out of the honeycomb, biting everyone still in the honeycomb. He saw an opportunity of regaining power after the success of the Sena-led alliance and went to Mumbai and met Sanjay Raut.

Sardesai’s game is to get Raut to patch up a Goa alliance. Sardesai himself still stands aloof from the Congress in Goa and has not tried to build bridges with them. That would not work; he has to mend his relationship with the Congress with some confession and some pardon, not through Raut. The Congress has not yet forgiven Sardesai for spurning them and joining hands with the BJP to help the latter to gain power, despite the Congress being the largest single party. Sardesai’s switch had surprised everyone as he had carried on a tirade against the BJP for five years from 2012 to 2017. He attacked the BJP left and right during his campaign for the 2017 Assembly elections. But overnight his fire turned into flowers for the BJP after they made him deputy chief minister.

The BJP is on a solid footing in Goa with 27 MLAs on its side. Breaking the ruling party would not be an easy task as at least 18 legislators would have to come out to claim a legal split. It is unlikely that a smaller group of MLAs would break away as such action would invite disqualification. With more than half the term of the current assembly gone, it is unlikely that legislators would want to face the electorate now. A majority of MLAs in the BJP camp are former Congressmen. It is unlikely that these neo-BJP men would change colours once again and fall to the bait of Sena

and Sardesai.

Sardesai has to first try and convince Goans at large that removal of the BJP government is aimed for betterment of people and not for getting deputy CM’s office for himself again. It is true that three parties with divergent ideologies came together to form a government in Maharashtra, but it is not necessary that the same holds true for Goa. Rather than using a shortcut to power, those who want to establish an alternative to the BJP in Goa should join hands with the other parties to fight together on important public issues. Common struggle could lead to a better understanding and a common minimum programme on the basis of which they can fight the elections in 2022 to seek a public mandate to form government. 

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