Waste Management Minister and Calangute MLA Michael Lobo resigned from the Assembly on Monday and quit the Bharatiya Janata Party saying it is no longer a party of common people that former Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar had built. He has been lately taking digs at his party bosses for forgetting ethics and resorting to 'commercialized' politics. Lobo appeared distinctly unhappy over his wife being denied the party ticket in Siolim which he was asking for a long time. We will examine closely the stakes of each of the players associated with this move.
How Lobo sees an advantage: His exit is bound to have wide ramifications on the wider political canvas. Known to have fair clout across Bardez constituencies, Lobo exudes the confidence of bringing more to the table, apart from his win in Calangute. However, turning the tables on the BJP in a high-stakes election is not going to be a walk in the park, and Lobo understands that. This for sure is a well-calculated gamble.
The other advantage for Lobo is that, with the Congress disintegrating and most of the elders deserting it, Lobo assumes instant seniority in ranks, automatically putting him on a high pedestal, should Congress manage to garner the numbers. He could not have his way most of the time in BJP because of a more structured set-up there, while in Congress, the party that he is eying, he senses a better chance of calling the shots.
'Problem' off BJP's back: The saffron brigade has stuck to its guns by denying Delilah a ticket, even if it meant losing a sure winner. The party has made a statement against 'family raj', but the question is whether it will be able to apply this yardstick uniformly and hold its position against others who are making similar demands.
It's beyond doubt that the outspoken Lobo has been a thorn in the flesh for the BJP for not only speaking out of turn but for taking unilateral stands that sometimes contradicted the party's position. If we may recall, there were times when Lobo was highly critical of his government, including the chief minister, and questioned even sensitive policy decisions. The BJP may have belatedly moved to act against Alina, but have been silent to Lobo's utterances. The party may have seized this moment as a blessing in disguise.
How Congress gets an advantage: The grand old party appears to be the next stop for Lobo, although an immediate announcement has not been made. It is to be seen how the Congress, which also has been facing flak over dynastic politics and family raj, accommodates the Lobos. The party leadership will have to come out with convincing arguments why Lobo becomes an exception. Yes, he could be a huge advantage to Congress which has a negligent presence in Bardez and could bring about a resurgence. But that still does not justify giving tickets to the husband-wife duo, especially when Delilah is making her maiden foray into Assembly elections.
Finally, if Sawant is to be believed, the BJP still considers the Congress as its main Opposition, despite the fiery campaigns launched by Aam Aadmi Party and the Trinamool Congress. On that count, the Lobo development should be a setback for Sawant and his team. It's to be seen how the saffron party counters the Lobo factor and goes about its electoral business in Bardez.