BJP feels that the entry of new political actors in Goa will benefit the party.


New Delhi: The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) is gearing up for the upcoming Goa Assembly elections scheduled early next year with the central leadership keeping a close eye on preparations. In a recent tour of Goa in late November, the party’s national president J.P. Nadda, took detailed feedback of all the 40-Assembly seats and had asked the state core committee to focus on local issues and take advantage of divided opposition as the rival camps look weak due to the entry of multiple parties who are aiming to damage the main opposition party, Indian National Congress (INC). Sources privy to the poll preparations told The Sunday Guardian that the saffron party did a larger analysis with regards to the entry of different political parties in the state elections and has tactically welcomed the entry of Trinamool Congress (TMC) and Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) to make inroads in the upcoming elections as they will divide the anti-incumbency vote.

A senior party leader said, “Goa is at the top of the priority list of our central leadership. Nitin Gadkari and Devendra Fadnavis have been instructed to play a guiding role in the preparation for the polls. We are focusing on the local issues and our development model which has been successful since the last 10-years. As per political calculations, Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s  meeting with the Pope has sent a very good signal among  the Catholic community, which is in large numbers in the state. It will benefit us. The new political parties like AAP and TMC will split votes, which will ultimately benefit us.”

Although the saffron party had criticized the entry of these parties into Goa politics, political observers and experts believe this will work to benefit the BJP by splitting the opposition vote. Apart from the challenge from the main opposition party, Congress, the other challenge for the BJP will be to handle its own contenders for tickets. In October when Union Home Minister Amit Shah toured Goa, he emphasized on the unity in the party and directed the party members that winning the polls should be the only goal.

Panaji-based political analyst and observer Rajat Sawant said: “The entry of political parties like the TMC and the AAP might minimize the impact of the anti-incumbency if any is present. The mood among the BJP camp is that they need to target the local issues and take populist moves. In the last decade the RSS had grown a large network of workers of its affiliate organizations, it might play a major role in the outcome as no other party had this type of mass outreach. The saffron party is also keeping a close eye on the Congress’ plans to cobble together a coalition with parties such as the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP), and the Goa Forward Party (GFP). In Southern Goa, which once used to be a Congress bastion, the BJP believes that the minority votes will split due to the presence of AAP and the TMC, as both are focusing more on this region.”

In Goa, Hindus, Christians, and Muslims constitute roughly 65, 25 and 9 percent of the state’s population. Out of the BJP’s 27 MLAs, 15 are Catholic Christians. Eight of these are former Congress MLAs who had won from South Goa and later defected to the BJP.