Former Maharashtra chief minister and BJP election in-charge for Goa Devendra Fadnavis has spoken his mind over the Panaji ticket. "BJP does not issue a ticket just because he (Utpal) is the son of Manohar Parrikar. If he has done some good work for the party, then we will think over it," he said. His statement gives a broad indication that the BJP has decided not to consider the legacy factor that Utpal has been standing with. In other words, Antanasio alias Babush Monserrate appears to be an obvious choice.
While Fadnavis displayed a sense of bravado in his statement, he also exposed his ignorance over Panaji politics and the party's approach in other constituencies. If legacy does not matter for the BJP, Fadnavis has to explain how it mattered in many other cases where the next of the kin were promptly crowned successors. Fadnavis must explain how Francis D'Souza's son Joshua became the heir apparent to the Mapusa throne, overlooking a loyal soldier and a party veteran in Sudhir Kandolkar. Fadnavis has to explain what ‘good work’ Alina Saldanha did for the party for her to be named successor to Matanhy Saldanha when he passed away in March 2012.
There’s no denying the fact that, like in Bollywood, politicians and parties indulge in family raj, be it BJP or the Congress, and it would be an outrageous lie to deny that. The BJP has effectively drawn that ‘family raj line’ solely when it suits them to achieve a different set of objectives.
Ironically, the BJP is now discarding a young face because he is holding on to his father's legacy. But in doing so, the party leadership is betting on the very man who is charge-sheeted in a minor girl's rape case. And against whom, Chief Minister Pramod Sawant and central leaders publicly cautioned the women of Goa over their security, in a vitriolic Panaji by-poll campaign of May 2019.
If Fadnavis knew Parrikar as a leader of a stature and respected across party circles, he should have introspected on the common grouse of leaders that there is a void felt after Parrikar, that ethics have been forgotten and the pro-Parrikar lobby systematically demolished.
Utpal has seen politics from close range and has witnessed political discourses and discussions taking place in the precincts of his house. It's another matter that Manohar Parrikar did not engage his family members in active politics. Utpal has been at the forefront ever since his dad died on March 17, 2019, and has every right to stake a claim for a party ticket.
It may be an internal matter of the BJP leadership to decide on tickets, and we are not arguing that the party should decide in Utpal's favour. The point we are making is that the public statement made by Fadnavis and the ticket allocation criteria of BJP smacks of hypocrisy and is completely skewed. Sadly, when money power takes centre stage, integrity, loyalty, legacy and ideology take a back seat in politics.