Khalap-Parsekar bonhomie in the nick of time?

ASHLEY DO ROSARIO | MAY 10, 2024, 12:14 AM IST

Finally, the sometimes bitter but mostly entertaining election season is half over in Goa with Tuesday's polling for the two Parliamentary seats of North Goa and South Goa.

Barbs and allegations traded by the contesting parties were routine in this nearly month-long campaign period but what really caught our eye was an intriguing, backroom maneuver which ended up with the two political characters smoking the peace pipe in the nick of time.

Who would have believed, until a few weeks ago, that the INDIA bloc's Congress candidate Ramakant Khalap and former chief minister Laxmikant Parsekar would 'kiss and make up' for these May 7 Lok Sabha elections?

But then, politics and political circumstances do make strange bedfellows and the Khalap-Parsekar duo proved this age-old maxim right in the home stretch of the race for the North Goa seat.

For the uninitiated, the rivalry between Khalap and Parsekar dates back to the early 1990s, although the former claims that the latter was his supporter in the years he was invincible in the Mandrem assembly constituency. When the 1994 election came and the Khalap-led MGP tied up with the BJP, it was Parsekar, it is alleged, who led the 'sabotage' from within along with a band of RSS pracharaks, leading to the white-haired politician's first-ever defeat in Mandrem to the Congress' Sangeeta Parab.

It left the MGP leaderless, although Khalap's protege Kashinath Jhalmi put in his best efforts to fill the void, thus giving the Parrikar-Shripad-Digambar trio a carte-blanche to spread the BJP's wings across Goa.

In the years that followed, the Khalap-Parsekar wedge kept on widening, eventually evolving into a bitter rivalry which peaked during the latter's three-year reign as chief minister when Khalap's school in Mandrem faced the brunt of a hostile Education Department.

But then, Khalap displayed the character of a 'suave politician' when he swallowed his ego and paid a personal visit to the Parsekar home in Mandrem, the very next morning after the Congress party announced his candidature. Parsekar, according to a person who was privy to the meeting, wasn't all that gung-ho but played coy enough for Khalap to finish the mission on a successful note.

Beyond Mandrem and Pernem, the Khalap-Parsekar truce had the potential to ignite a Maratha consolidation across the North. Did it happen? Has it translated into crucial votes in Mandrem and Pernem or beyond? Answers will be known only when counting takes place on June 4. Let's wait until then to know.

Envelopes and the scooter dickey on election eve
In a land where political campaigns are as intricate as a Bollywood drama, the BJP pulled off a spectacle of immaculate grandeur during the Lok Sabha elections.

With a precision that would make even the most seasoned event planner blush, the saffron brigade orchestrated a campaign that left no stone unturned, no scooter dickey uninspected.

Picture this: A party leader, not exactly a bigwig in the hierarchy, finds himself in a pickle, caught red-handed with envelopes of mysterious content tucked away in the recesses of his scooter. As the cameras roll, capturing every awkward moment, the leader's panic sets in.

But fear not, for he's not alone in this debacle. There are whispers of some high-ranking BJP party-men playing the supporting roles in this farcical escapade. The meticulous micro-management of the saffron soldiers ensured that even the distribution of crucial resources was overseen by the watchful eyes of senior party stalwarts.

Because when it comes to politics, every envelope counts, even if its contents remain a mystery shrouded in the darkness of election eve. Cameras don’t lie. We could see the envelopes but do not know for sure what was inside them.

According to our feathered informant, the envelopes will definitely not have love letters on the eve of the election night. In the end, the cameras may not have revealed the exact contents of those fateful envelopes, but they did expose a truth as old as politics itself: where there's power, there's always a scooter dickey ready to become the star of the show.

Mapusa karyakartas spark premature celebrations
Ah, the BJP and its devoted karyakartas never fail to turn even the most mundane events into a spectacle.

On the day of the elections, as the sun lazily made its way across the sky and temperatures started rising, the BJP cadre in Mapusa was conspicuously absent from the ground, probably opting for a slow and steady approach to polling.

But later in the evening when the news finally broke that the voting percentage had surpassed the 70% mark, signalling a victory of sorts for democracy, the party faithful emerged from the shadows with all the fervour of children released from the confines of a dull classroom.

In Mapusa, not one, but two locations bore witness to the explosive enthusiasm of the overzealous karyakartas, who took it upon themselves to light up the sky with a barrage of celebratory crackers. Who's got the time to wait for official declarations when there are victory dances to be had and fireworks to ignite?

After all, these tireless workers have toiled tirelessly throughout the campaign, and this impromptu pyrotechnic display serves as a well-deserved pat on the back for their efforts.

Hold your guns, it's not over
Polling ended with the massive exercise on Tuesday but hold your guns, guys. The election isn't over yet. It won't be over until counting is done and the results are out on June 4.

So all the Goan tipplers who missed out on the late-night binging with the all-time favourite 'jungle juice' it isn't time yet to uncork the sodas and squeeze in the lime yet. For, the Model Code of Conduct (MCC) will still be in force until June 4 and your favourite watering hole where the authenticity of the 'urrak' is most reliable will still have to down shutters sharp at 10 pm every night.

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