By Rajan Narayan

THE Congress has gifted Goa with BJP. The delay in announcing the Congress candidates for north and south Goa has given a walkover to the BJP. The BJP on the other hand was quick to confirm the candidature of veteran MP Shripad Naik for north Goa and Pallavi Dempo for south Goa.
More than two weeks after the BJP announced its candidates there was no sign of any Congress candidates being confirmed for the north and south Goa parliamentary seats. This despite the fact that the sitting member of parliament from South Goa is a Congress leader, Francisco Sardinha. Indeed, Sardinha won the parliamentary elections from south Goa for three terms. Sardinha is from Curchorem and enjoys the confidence of the Catholic minority community in south Goa. Though there has been a fall in the numbers of Catholic voters they still constitute the largest group of voters in south Goa. The migrant voters and the number of voters from the Muslim and majority community has also registered a big increase.

HISTORICALLY, Zuarinagar, which is popularly called “fukatnagar,” is a major migrant vote bank. A large number of migrant workers in the Verna Industrial Estate stay in Cortalim, Verna and Nuvem. Nuvem is incidentally the constituency of Law Minister Aleixo Sequeira. Alexio is among the eight Congress MLA who defected to the BJP.
Historically, south Goa has been the stronghold of the Congress. Except for Ramakant Khalap and Narendra Sawaikar all the south Goa MPs have been elected on the Congress ticket.
Even in case of north Goa till Shripad Naik won the election in the 90s, Shantaram Naik represented north Goa. Shantaram Naik was a very good Congress MP who did a lot of research and asked very good questions relating to Goa in parliament. Shantaram Naik is considered the hero of the zero hour.
After the assembly of Goa passed the official language bill making Konkani the official language, it needed to be ratified to parliament. Konkani had to be included among the official languages of the country. Parliament had to pass a resolution to this effect. Rajiv Gandhi was the prime minister. When Shantaram asked Rajiv Gandhi he was told to raise the issue at zero hour. This is the brief period after the question hour when members can raise any issues of public importance. Shantaram mentioned it at the zero hour. Rajiv Gandhi promptly took steps to ratify the decision of the Goa assembly making Konkani the official language. The then prime minister, Rajiv Gandhi, also passed a bill in parliament conferring statehood on the former Union territory.

NEVER in the past has the Congress delayed the announcement of candidates for the parliamentary elections in Goa. The Congress which is fighting the 2024 election has announced candidates from 192 seats. Rahul Gandhi has filed his nomination from Wayanad constituency in Kerala. He was elected to parliament from Wayanad in the 2019 parliamentary election by a margin of over four lakh votes. However, Rahul suffered a shocking defeat in Amethi when he was defeated by Smriti Irani of “Saas Bhi Kabhi Bahu” television series fame.
It would appear that Congress has conceded the parliamentary elections to the BJP. In the past, there have always been at least two members of the Gandhi family contesting from Uttar Pradesh. UP is the home town of the Gandhi family and Motilal Nehru had an ancestral house in Allahabad. Rajiv Gandhi himself contested his first parliamentary elections from Raebareli. This was after the assassination of Indira Gandhi.
When Rajiv Gandhi was assassinated Sonia Gandhi decided to contest from Raibareli. Simultaneously, Rahul Gandhi also contested from Amethi. While Sonia Gandhi got elected from Raibareli, Rahul was defeated from Amethi. This time around Sonia Gandhi decided not to contest the Lok Sabha seat, she got herself nominated to the Rajya Sabha instead. There has been some intense speculation that Priyanka Gandhi would take her place in Raibareli. But both Priyanka and Rahul seem to have opted out the parliamentary election from Uttar Pradesh.
During last election Rahul had contested against Narendra Modi from Varanasi. Many senior Congress leaders like Sachin Pilot had chosen not to contest the parliamentary elections. Sonia Gandhi has been projecting Rahul Gandhi as a leader of the Congress. Unfortunately, the son no matter how charming, has not been an affective leader. Rahul does not have the kind of charisma that his father Rajiv Gandhi had.
Congress was one of the leading elements in the opposition INDIA group. Since the Congress lost the election in MP, Rajasthan and Chandigarh, it has lost its leadership of the INDIA group or bloc. The influence of the Congress is limited to Karnataka and Telangana. Even in Haryana where it was in power it lost to the BJP. The BJP had been systematically seducing Congress leaders to join the BJP. The BJP wants to establish single-party government in India or Bharat.

IRONICALLY, the only serious opposition to the BJP in the north seems to be the Aam Aadmi party. The AAP came to power more than a decade ago. It has not only retained its hold on the national capital region but expanded its influence to Punjab and Haryana. It entered into an alliance with Congress to file 22 seats all over the country. The AAP leaders were implicated in the liquor excise scam and among the first to be arrested was Sanjay Singh, the AAP member in Rajya Sabha. Sanjay Singh has been released on bail even as Arvind Kejriwal is in judicial custody.
Sanjay Singh has taken over the leadership of the AAP. The new slogan of the AAP is that is that will break the locks of Tihar jail and liberate Manish Sisodia and Arvind Kejriwal. The wife of Kejriwal, Sunita, has emerged as a new leader of AAP. With the Enforcement Directorate backing out it is likely that Arvind Kejriwal will soon be out of jail. AAP could pose as a serious challenge to the BJP in the Lok Sabha election.
The BJP stands discredited. The election bond scam has exposed the ED. All those who bought election bonds were blackmailed by the ED. The ED is now called the extortion directorate. The Supreme court has observed that the CBI and the IT departments are being misused by the BJP. The BJP is also being seen as opposed to Muslim communities.
The Citizens Amendment Act (CAA) has also undermined the confidence of India’s Muslims. There is a silent revolt against the BJP. Unfortunately, there is no leader like Jayprakash Narayan to mobilize the opposition forces. The BJP might get a majority but will not cross 400 seats in parliament.

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