RSS bhakti of neo-saffronites


Compiled by Ashley do Rosario with inputs from Manuel Vaz | JANUARY 12, 2023, 11:24 PM IST

There's never a lull or a drought of entertainment in Goa's theatre of politics. Our political actors could put 'Charlie Chaplin' or 'Mr Bean' to shame.

Last week, Mohan Bhagwat, the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) Sarsanghchalak was in Goa for a couple of days and the public meeting he addressed at the Campal grounds in the capital city was the highlight of his visit. Not for what the chief said but the effusive obeisance paid by a bunch of Goan politicos.

Who took the cake, was Congress turncoat and Mormugao MLA, Sankalp Amonkar, who went on to claim on camera that his association with the RSS and its student wing ABVP goes back decades to his student days in college. Interestingly, Amonkar's claims triggered a war of words among factions of his former party. Some prominent Congressmen publicly accused GPCC president Girish Chodankar, whose protege Amonkar was, of sabotage during the assembly elections last February.

Cabinet minister Vishwajit Rane, who was at the meet with RSS fatigues, also took to twitter to claim he was a 'Swayamsevak' in his childhood and even named the shaka 'Vithalapur' where he claimed he participated in the Sangh's activities. He has publicly announced his commitment and that of his wife Deviya, who is MLA from Poriem, to spread the ideology and work of the RSS.

Rohan Khaunte, who joined the BJP on the eve of the February 2022 assembly elections after a brief sojourn with the Congress following the bitter falling out with Chief Minister Pramod Sawant, was yet another cabinet minister who took to twitter to pledge publicly his loyalty to the RSS.

Most of these politicians belong to that strain which can be bracketed as the 'newcomer' category, given that they have joined the ruling BJP, whose ideological mentor the RSS is. It therefore should not come as a surprise that these neo-saffronites felt the urge to project themselves as more loyal than the king, both in speech and dress.

Most of these politicos sported the RSS fatigues for the first time in public and the novelty of it, the ideological incongruence apart, was what inspired a rush of memes and a feast for trolls, online.

Young Joshua has the last laugh 

Mapusa Chairperson Shubanghi Vaigankar pushed her luck for quite a while to remain in the chair but finally had to yield to the diktats of the young MLA Joshua D'Souza who seems to be learning the political ropes well.

More then the chairperson it appears the local MLA was under pressure as Vaigankar's refusal to step down conveyed a message that the MLA was not in control of his group.

Politically, for the BJP it would make no difference but for the MLA it was a matter of perception, as tongues had started wagging whether he called the shots or not in Mapusa. 

Amidst all the tumult a not so kind media men also made his life a trifle difficult. 

For all  we know, the MLA gave the chairperson a long rope and finally when things seemed to go out of hand, he decided to snap the chord.

A hurriedly called meeting with majority of the councilors and with 13 (turned out to be lucky for him) signatures on a piece of paper did the job.

RGP's solo run on Mhadei

The regional sentiment of the Goa versus Karnataka tussle on Mhadei has come as an opportunity for the one-MLA Revolutionary Goans Party (RGP) and the fledgling party is exploiting it to the hilt by distancing itself from the other political parties on the issue.

Civil society, activists and other Opposition parties have joined forces but the RGP has declared it is going solo at the awareness meeting it held on Sunday at the Azad Maidan.

Expectedly, the RGP drew flak for the decision, with many accusing it of dividing the fight for Mhadei for political reasons. But at their Azad Maidan meeting, the RGP president Manoj Parab cited the inherent double-speak of the Congress and AAP units in Goa and Karnataka for the distrust of these two 'national' political parties on the Mhadei issue.

As for Goa Forward Party, Parab recalled that Vijai Sardesai's party was a coalition partner of the BJP when the Mahadayi Water Dispute Tribunal passed the award in 2018 and in the forefront of the charade calling it a 'victory for Goa' then. He went on to say that the decision to go solo on the 'save Mhadei' issue was to keep the movement 'pure'.

Like it or not, RGP has seemingly got this one politically right.

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