Updated: March 15, 2017 10:52:42 am
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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