PANAJI: Goa Pradesh Congress Committee (GPCC) president Girish Chodankar met former chief minister and senior Bharatiya Janata Party leader Laxmikant Parsekar on Saturday triggering speculations.
Parsekar on Sunday said that he, as a political figure maintains good relationship with the local leaders of all the political parties, and therefore, has no reservations about interacting with them.
Parsekar, when asked about his meeting with Chodankar, earlier this week, told ‘The Navhind Times’ that members of other political parties are his political rivals, and he has never treated them as his political enemies. “I am opposed to them, but till a certain point,” he said, observing that he has never thought of political vendetta against his political rivals.
Sources, however, informed that the Parsekar-Chodankar meeting had the GPCC president discussing the Mandrem by-election with the senior BJP leader, in the light of the recent induction of former Congress MLA Dayanand Sopte into BJP.
The sources also stated that Chodankar told Parsekar about the willingness of Congress to give candidature to Parsekar, if he intends to contest the forthcoming bypoll from Mandrem constituency.
Sopte has already told his supporters that he has joined the BJP after receiving an assurance that he would be the BJP candidate for the Mandrem by-election.
It is learnt that Chodankar also told Parsekar that if he (Parsekar) has no interest in contesting the Mandrem bypoll on Congress ticket, then he could support the Congress candidate in the Mandrem constituency.
“Today the political scenario in Goa is volatile and in such a situation, it is natural that many people are calling me up or interacting with me,” Parsekar said, mentioning that although he is open for interaction, no one should presume things based on these interactions.
Speaking further, Parsekar said that BJP national president Amit Shah is being fed with lies by the Goa unit of the party, and therefore, Shah should now give a patient hearing to the other side that is the existing truth.
“The national joint general secretary (organisation) of BJP B L Santhosh, Goa desk in-charge of the party Avinash Rai Khanna and state general secretary (organisation) of BJP Vijay Puranik should be consulted by Shah to understand the party-related ground realities in Goa,” he added, pointing out, “If the information from Santhosh, Khanna and Puranik is found to be “inadequate”, then I am there and always available.” “Politics of power is not everything and all that we (senior BJP leaders in Goa) had done in the past is now being sadly undone,” Parsekar stated, maintaining that concurring to any kind of compromises just to stay in power is not the culture of BJP.
“It should also be understood that in a democratic setup, one who is in power today is someday bound to be in the opposition,” he noted. On a parting note, Parsekar admitted that his party formed the government in Goa in haste, after the 2017 state assembly election.
“That mistake forced the party to make more mistakes and it went on,” he added. Chodankar, meanwhile, has neither denied nor confirmed about meeting Parsekar.
“Well, I am meeting people and will continue to do so to ensure that Dayanand Sopte and Subhash Shirodkar are defeated,” Chodankar said.
When questioned again, he said, “People of Goa want that both the ex-Congress MLAs should be defeated. I am ready to go the extra mile and meet people who have similar views and join hands with them to root out Sopte and Shirodkar from Mandrem and Shiroda, respectively.”
All India Congress Committee secretary in-charge of Goa A Chellakumar said that he was unaware of any meeting between the local Congress leadership and Parsekar.
He said that Congress would field its own candidate in the by-elections.
“We have aspirants and it will be only Congressmen who would contest on Congress ticket in both the constituencies,” he said. Congress Legislature
Party leader Chandrakant Kavlekar could not be contacted even after repeated attempts.
Sources in the Congress party said that during a recent meeting of the party workers from Mandrem held in Panaji in the presence of Chellakumar and Chodankar, the workers had in one voice demanded that the party give ticket to a Congressman from Mandrem.
The party workers had suggested to the party to avoid giving ticket to ‘imported’ individuals.