On October 14, while on a tour of Goa, Union home minister Amit Shah got a glimpse of how factionalised the BJP’s state unit has become. At a meeting of the party’s core committee in Panaji, attended by Chief Minister Pramod Sawant, two ministers—Mauvin Godinho and Vishwajeet Rane—openly complained to Shah about how Sawant ignores their advice on governance matters. The state unit is also divided on whether the BJP should go solo in the upcoming assembly election, scheduled for February 2022. Sources say the home minister’s advice on the day boiled down to one line— ensure, at all costs, that Goa’s opposition parties do not come together.
In its bid to win a third term, the BJP’s Goa unit faces its biggest challenge in a decade, with the dissidence in its ranks putting a bounce in the stride of a resurgent opposition. On paper, heavyweights like Pramod Sawant, Chandrakant Kavalekar, Vishwajeet Rane and Michael Lobo lend the state BJP heft, but their contesting ambitions could spell disaster for the party. Other major state leaders—including the Congress’ Digambar Kamat, the TMC’s (Trinamool Congress) Luizinho Faleiro, the MGP’s (Maharashtrawadi Gomantak Party) Sudin Dhavalikar and the GFP’s (Goa Forward Party) Vijai Sardesai—further complicate Goa’s electoral landscape.
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