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Manohar Parrikar's biggest opposition is within his own BJP: Congress leader John Fernandes

Sunday, 29 December 2013 - 11:51am IST | Place: Panaji | Agency: IANS

There have been eight attempts from within to topple the 22-month BJP-led Goa government and the biggest opposition to Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar is constituted by his own legislators, newly-appointed state Congress president John Fernandes says, adding this has made his job so much easier.

"As the president of the main opposition party, I am very lucky. For Parrikar the main opposition is not the Congress but his own party MLAs. Since March 2012, there have been at least eight attempts to overthrow him," Fernandes told IANS in an interview.

In Goa's fluid political scene, which has seen 15 chief ministers in the 1990-2000 decade, political coups are common place. Despite Parrikar's coming to power with a simple majority of 21 in last year's assembly polls and supported by two regional political parties and independents, his leadership has been questioned until recently by whispers among ruling legislators backed by the powerful mining lobby.

The chief minister's image has also been dented after his own legislator Vishnu Wagh repeatedly criticised his functioning and decisions. Wagh's torrent met with a militant response by the party cadre last week. They stoned his car and roughed him up after he attended a cultural event organised by a rival political party.

"Days after the much publicised Run for Unity, BJP workers beat up their own MLA. Parrikar's functioning will ensure that the party will implode from within. All we have to do is to wait. There's so much insecurity within the BJP," said Fernandes, whose Congress was routed in the assembly polls and reduced to an unprecedented single digit in the 40-member Goa legislature.

Fernandes said that recent law and order events, which included the stand-off over the death of a Nigerian, drug wars and public assaults on legislators were ruining Goa's image globally.

"Governing is not all about organising carnivals and film festivals. Goa is being given a bad name," Fernandes said.

He also said that the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP), whose Arvind Kejriwal took oath Saturday as the Delhi chief minister, stood no chance of popping up on Goa's political scene during the 2014 Lok Sabha polls. This was because with Anna Hazare blessing the Congress, the AAP's days were numbered.

"With the passing of the Lok Pal law and Anna on our side, AAP is already over," Fernandes contended.

Once comrades in arms in their anti-corruption crusade, Hazare and Kejriwal fell out a year ago over the latter's decision to float a political party. The AAP emerged with 28 seats in the elections to the 70-member Delhi assembly earlier this month and Kejriwal has formed the government with the support the eight legislators of the Congress, which had 42 members in the outgoing house. The BJP, which won 31 seats, had refused to form the govenrment. The remaining three seats are held by the Akali Dal, the Janata Dal-United and an Independent.

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