Goa witnessed a flurry of political activity in the past few days with a host of national leaders descending into the State raising the electoral pitch and with promises coming thick and fast. Senior election observer of Congress P Chidambaram's visit last weekend was followed by the arrival of BJP's election strategist and former Maharashtra CM Devendra Fadnavis, and Aam Aadmi Party national convenor and Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal.
Fadnavis faces an internal challenge of dousing flames of dissent over ticket allocation and controlling the damage. The saffron party finds veteran leaders re-emerging while some like the outspoken Waste Management minister Michael Lobo campaigning for a ticket for their kin. With the party internals not in the comfort zone, Fadnavis role will come in handy for the BJP leadership in diffusing issues.
On the other side, just at a time when the BJP-led government appeared to be catching up by emulating the Aam Aadmi Party's Delhi model of governance and some of their schemes, Arvind Kejriwal has raised the bar. The AAP employment guarantee takes the campaign to a whole new level.
Against the government’s struggle of employing Goan youth, Kejriwal has now announced a job guarantee with employment assurance to every Goan household, 80 per cent job quotas to Goans in the private sector, and employment dole to mining and tourism-affected families. These are major promises that touch the heart of a State which has been struggling with unemployment for decades, and a promise of this magnitude could be a game-changer on the electoral canvas.
On another count, the Goa electoral script has a surprise twist. While the BJP and AAP are engaged in an intense but strategic poll duel, a Trinamool Congress-initiated survey across the State has set tongues wagging. The I-PAC team led by political strategist Prashant Kishor has been in touch with several political leaders leaving many puzzled. Days after Manoj Parab, the founder and the face of Revolutionary Goans took to social media to reject reports of a tie-up with the Mamata Banerjee outfit, reports emerging that seasoned leaders are being approached has once again opened up a sea of probabilities.
There has been no clarity on this belated TMC foray in Goa, and the timing of this exercise comes as a surprise because the election is barely four months away. Also, it is baffling why the TMC would like to test the political waters so late when parties have drawn strategies and have already gone in campaign mode.
While the clear purpose of the TMC team's engagement in Goa is yet to emerge, it has certainly helped in adding political value to fence-sitters and disgruntled elements across the political landscape. After successive failures in opening an account in Goa, it is to be seen if the TMC strategists stumble upon winnable candidates to make the party presence felt in Goa.