How Goa Forward scored with back pass

Hours after the results were announced, Sardesai, 47, whose party won three of four constituencies it contested, became the state’s most talked-about man.

Written by Smita Nair | Panaji | Updated: March 15, 2017 10:52 am
goa, goa election results 2017, goa elections, goa bjp, goa vijai sardesai, vijai sardesai, goa forward, goa cm manohar parrikar, goa bjp alliance, goa news, indian express, india news Vijai Sardesai had fought the poll on anti-BJP plank.

Every campaign pitch qualified Goa Forward Party leader Vijai Sardesai as the quintessential Goan — a product of regionalistic politics, “secular like a Goan” and one of the soil, unlike the other national parties with the “Delhi high command culture”, as he slammed both the BJP and the Congress, and later the AAP, a party he called “Delhi pollution”.

But if his entire poll plank was backed by one agenda, it was “Oust BJP from Goa”, they are “anti-Goans”. Hours after the results were announced, Sardesai, 47, whose party won three of four constituencies it contested, became the state’s most talked-about man. With a fractured mandate for the House of 40 members, Sardesai had the magic three seats. By Sunday 3 am, he had decided — and gone with the BJP.

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By Sunday evening, a Facebook post by Francisco Colaco, a cardiologist by profession, Sardesai’s biggest supporter and a mentor, had gone viral, with adjectives like “devil” for Sardesai.

For Goans — and especially Fatorda, where Sardesai defeated BJP’s Damu Naik by 1,334 votes — the irony couldn’t be worse. Throughout the campaign, his speeches were punctuated with anti-BJP remarks. He even said, “I am in no hurry for power. If needed, I will sit in the opposition. My principal opponent has been BJP…”

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But his late-night visit to meet Nitin Gadkari took even his party president Prabhakar Timble by surprise. Timble was the first to put in his papers — and accept moral responsibility for the defection. “I just decided I wanted to be away as the face of the party. The BJP cannot be our first choice; our entire poll plank was styled as an opponent to them. Saffron cannot be Goankarpann (Goanness),” said Timble, a former state election commissioner.

“I told him (Sardesai) ‘let’s openly tell Goans the status and then take a call on BJP’. But he just walked out by morning,” he said. In one of Sardesai’s most-viewed TV interviews done by a multimedia news website, he explained why he hates BJP. Stating that most parties use the term U-turn for the BJP’s last five years in Goa, he said, “U-turn in Goa was coined by me.”

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On Tuesday, from the moment he takes oath as a minister in the BJP government, Sardesai will be the biggest U-turn that he will have to explain, Timble reminded.

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