By Harshvardhan Bhatkuly

The formation of the current government is a clear coming together of political forces for the sake of development. They say politics makes strange bedfellows. But looking at the way political parties that were opposed to the BJP over so many years, have found political pragmatism is aligning with the party in Goa, despite the fact that the dwindling position in the Goa Assembly – or more precisely, because of it, says a lot about the BJP’s strength in Goan polity; and the support that it receives from the Centre. It is interesting to note that Vijai Sardesai’s Goa Forward Party was the most to gain, as all three legislators have got ministerial berths. The independents, two of them, have been given ministries. And the MGP, as they have always been, are back in the power equation. But the leadership of the government has rightly been bestowed on Manohar Parrikar. This Assembly, my hunch says, will see Manohar Parrikar deliver like he did in his first stint as Chief Minister. The Chief Minister has made it abundantly clear that the focus of his regime is to resurrect Goa’s economy which is pretty much in the dumps. There are infrastructural projects in various stages of progress. Besides, there are industries which need to be established to bring in twenty five thousand crore investment under the mandate of the specially constituted Industrial Promotion Board – in order to generate fifty thousand jobs for Goans. Yes, there has been a constitutional aberration of sorts because the single largest party – the Congress, was not invited to form the government by the Governor. But the Congress remedied the situation by petitioning the Supreme Court, which while disposing off the petition, gave a 48-hour notice to the BJP led government to prove its strength on the floor of the house. That done, there should be no remorse now on who would have the strength and who wouldn’t. Today, all this is rendered as a mere academic discussion. If the Goa Forward and MGP had made up its mind to join the BJP, then inviting the Congress to form the government would be an exercise in futility. Of course, this is a view in hindsight. However, the moot point now is governance. There are many pain points before the administration. There was also an anti-incumbency feeing against the Laxmikant Parsekar led government, which saw the defeat of some bigwig ministers in the state. To take a fresh perspective, the newly sworn-in government is that way a brand new one, a government comprising of many youngsters. It is a good mix of experience and youthful zest. Two new ministers have had the distinction of being vociferous opponents of the erstwhile BJP government’s policies, as MLAs. Notwithstanding that, they have been performers in their constituencies. There are three first time legislators who have been made ministers. All of them have one thing in common – they have all been giant killers, who have vanquished powerful ministers in their constituencies. What they lack in experience, they make up with their killer instincts. It is a strange but potent mix where Manohar Parrikar has taken support of unlikely allies, but his grip on the state administration has always been strong. When people of Goa think of Parrikar as a Chief Minister, they are reminded of his first term – the speed at which he took decisions and the personal energy that he brought to the state administration. This is a god-send opportunity for him and for Goa. I would hazard a guess that here is an opportunity that he would not like to miss

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