HIJACKED: Bahubali bhai stole the government from the Congress despite winning only 13 seats in the 40 member assembly
When the Congress had the opportunity to form the government after the election they allowed bahubali Parrikar to steal from them. Shantaram Naik, the new GPCC president, will not find it so easy to topple bahubali and his chamchas now
By Rajan Narayan
INDIA’S first bahubali was not Ajay Devgan in the film Omkara. Or the very successful Prabhas of Bahubali 2, which has grossed more than `2,000 crore at the box office. Let us understand what bahubali means. The literal meaning of bahubali is “one who has strength in his arms”. It denotes power. The bahubali is a tough dictator with a larger than life presence and total control over his followers. A don or chief who enjoys absolute authority. To his followers, in the context of rural India, a bahubali can seem like a Robin Hood. As shown in Hindi films he is also a tough guy who can bash up even elephants, forget about humans. Even today in the 21st century it is the bahubali who controls rural life. The khap panchayats in UP which encourage and support honour killing are part of the bahubali syndrome. The bahubali is considered to be a goonda with a golden heart.
THERE are many bahubalis in Indian politics. These include people like Lalu Prasad Yadav, the former chief minister of Bihar, and Mulayam Singh Yadav, the former chief minister of Uttar Pradesh. In the tradition of the bahubali, Mulayam Singh was a wrestler. There are many aspiring political bahubalis including Gopal Goyal Kanda, who now owns an offshore casino in Goa and who thinks he is a bahubali. Among the many cases pending against him is a case of abetting the suicide of an air hostess.
In the Goan situation the examples of erstwhile bahubalis are Churchill Alemao and Mickey Pacheco. Particularly Churchill because though he may engage in violence and extortion he is also very generous in helping the poor. Which is why Churchill is always kadka unlike his other brother who believes in taking and not giving.
In the political context, the bahubali is the tough leader like Narendra Modi or Amit Shah, who is not afraid of taking tough decisions like demonetisation and GST. The original bahubali of politics of country, as Sagrika Ghosh has pointed out in her book called Indian Politics, was undoubtedly the sari-clad, demure Indira Gandhi, whose looks were deceptive, as she proved when she stood up to the most powerful politician in the world at that time, Richard Nixon, the president of the United States, and refused to shake his hand.
COMING back to the Goan scene, the only genuine bahubali in Goan politics that I can think of now is Manohar Parrikar.
This is because like other tough bahubalis, Parrikar is not afraid of taking action. Like all good bahubalis Parrikar is personally honest. Like all good bahubalis Manohar Parrikar believes that he takes tough decisions for the benefit of the people. The manner in which he managed to hijack the Goa government and return to power soon after his surgical strike against Pakistan, whose army had killed 24 Indian soldiers, are all signs of Parrikar being Goa’s bahubali. As my colleague keeps clarifying, there is a chota bahubali and a bada bahubali. Similarly there is a bada and chota bahubali in Goa. The chota bahubali in the Goan context is Vijai Sardesai, the leader of the Goa Forward (GF). If the Congress ever had a bahubali it was Pratap Singh Rane.
Luzinho Falerio, the former GPCC President whom Sonia has just kicked out, is not bahubali but the villain in the bahubali 2 film. This is because he wanted power not to serve the people but to make more money. Which is why allies like GF, the Maharashtrawadi Gomantak Party (MGP), and Independents, refused to help the Congress party form the government even though they had won 17 of the 30 seats in the assembly.
Even now, if the Congress high command or the Congress low command had agreed to install a genuine bahubali, the Congress would have been empowered. Unfortunately the new Congress president Shantaram Naik is not a bahubali. He is more a mouse than a lion. The Congress does not want to appoint a real bahubali as president of the state unit of the party because they only want people who will obey the head bahubali who once again is a woman. It is the misfortune of the Congress that the only asli mards in the party are women. This was seen during the period of Indira Gandhi, when no other Congress leader, including the Maratha Y.B Chawan, challenged her. If the Congress has been reduced to 45 seats in the Lok Sabha and has lost most of the states to the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), it is because unfortunately Rahul Gandhi is not fit to inherit the title of bahubali. He is more of mumma’s boy then an asli mard.
The Congress could have toppled, and can still topple the NDA government in the state. Vijai Sardesai and Sudin Dhavalikar have no loyalty for the BJP. Indeed none of the seven Catholics voted on the BJP ticket have any loyalty to the BJP. Even the mouse from Mapusa, Francis D’Souza, roared like a lion during Amit Shah’s visit insisting that communal leaders like ‘Sadhvi’ Saraswati should not be permitted to come Goa. However, even the real bahubali, Parrikar, did not have the guts to object, as the ‘Sadhvi’ has the support of the Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Aditiyanath and the RSS.
The lack of strategy and even common sense in the Congress is clear from Shantaram Naik’s boast that he will topple the BJP government. He hopes to do this by offering the Rajya Sabha seats to the GF. But when the GF has the Ministry of Town and Country Planning and Agriculture and Irrigation, why should they bother about a post at the Rajya Sabha, which carries no power and no opportunities to make money?
It is clear from the decision of Shantaram Naik to re-contest the Rajya Sabha election himself, that there are no takers for his offer to give the Rajya Sabha seat, which he has been representing, to one of the alliance partners. As in the case of the GF, the MGP has also made it clear that it will support the official BJP candidate, Vinay Tendulkar for the sole Rajya Sabha seat from Goa. Tendulkar is sure to win as together with the GF, MGP and the Independent Rohan Khaunte, they have 21 seats as against only 17 seats held by the Congress. Even with a support of the single NCP MLA Churchil Alemao, the Congress has no hope of creating any tension for the BJP.
LACK OF LEADERS
THE Congress has little or no hope of toppling the BJP bahubali Parrikar because it does not have a bahubali to match the former defence minister and present chief minister. Particularly because the Goan bahubali has the support of the Delhi bahubalis Narendra Modi and Amit Shah.
Shantaram Naik, or for that matter any state Congress leader, cannot match the BJP bahubali. This is primarily because Congress leaders, with the rare exception of people like Girish Chodankar the AICC Secretary, are very selfish and only think about themselves. The years under Congress chief ministers like Pratap Singh Rane, Digambar Kamat, Luizinho Faleiro, and even the brief period that Francisco Sardinha was the chief minister, were used for looting and plundering the people. Which is why individual Congress leaders are crorepatis or even millionaires and billionaires in American dollars, but the Congress party continues to operate from an old building near the Mandovi which might collapse any moment.
In contrast, within one year of coming to power, the BJP bought brand new offices on Atmaram Borker road in Navelkar Arcade. The BJP is now planning to set up offices in every constituency and taluka, and already has an office in Taleigao.
THE only bahubali who can save the Congress is Babush Monserrate, although he is not a part of the Congress at present. He was suspended from the Congress, though now the Congress party is begging him to come back to contest the Panjim seat against Manohar Parrikar.
Even the BJP bahubali had to depend on the Taleigao bahubali to retain power in 2000 when he was first elected chief minister. It was the support of Babush who not only joined the BJP, but got three other MLAs to resign their Congress seats and successfully re-contest on the BJP ticket, that saved Parrikar.
More recently when Parrikar moved to New Delhi as defence minister, he could only ensure the victory of his protégé Sidharth Kuncalienker by entering into a ‘setting’ with the Taleigao bahubali.
The Congress can topple the BJP if the Taleigao bahubali joins the Congress and defeats Parrikar in the Panjim election. The Taleigao bahubali has a very good relationship with Vishwajit Rane and can persuade him or bribe him not to contest from Valpoi on the BJP ticket and to come back to the Congress. Similarly the Taleigao bahubali can persuade the GF to go backward and join the Congress if Vijai Sardesai, who is a baby bahubali, is offered the chief minister’s post. Vijai Sardesai will sell his own grandmother for the chief minister’s post.
The difference between the BJP bahubali and the Congress (that is if he joins the Congress) bahubali Babush, is that Parrikar is honest. And is sincere in trying do something for Goa. The Taleigao bahubali is only interested in selling Goa. In this battle Parrikar represents the good bahubali whereas Babush is the evil bahubali who only wants to make money for himself and his friends.
GOANS have now realised that Vijai Sardesai, the man who has been preaching Goenkarponn to us, is no better than the Taleigao bahubali. At least the Taleigao bahubali is an honest crook. He does not pretend to be a saint or a champion of Goenkarponn. The difference between the BJP bahubali Parrikar and the Congress bahubali Babush is that while Parrikar has good intentions he has no support and often is forced to compromise. Babush bahubali knows how to buy support. With Delhi being headless, the Congress is entirely dependent on the Taleigao bahubali to topple the BJP bahubali.
The major problem which both bahubalis face are the Kattapas in both parties. In the BJP there are Kattapas like Laxmikant Parsekar, Francis D’Souza, and Michael Lobo, who like Brutus in Shakespeare are ever willing to stab the bahubali. The Congress of course has a much bigger group of back-stabbers who will sabotage the attempt to topple the BJP bahubali. The worst of the Kattapas in the Congress is the former GPCC President Luizinho Faleiro, who has destroyed the party. But the Congress does not learn from history and has made Shantaram, who is more of a Kattapa then a bahubali, the president. They would have been better off if they had made Girish Chodankar their president. Chodankar has the potential to become a bahubali and in fact when he was much younger (more than 30 years ago) he drove his motorbike into the Margao municipality office to protest against the lack of garbage disposal systems. Recently Chodankar provoked a senior Youth Congress leader, Janardhan Bhandari, to apply to the airport authority to let him hold his wedding reception at the airport, just as the airport authority allowed the BJP meeting to welcome Amit Shah.
If Chodankar becomes the president and Vijai is offered the chief minister’s post the BJP can be toppled and their bahubali Manohar Parrikar can be permanently exiled to the United States, where he has gone to attend a conference. The organisers of the conference are people of Maharashtrian and Kannadiga origin, raising questions about his real allegiance and self-professed love for Goa.