Ahead of the Goa assembly polls scheduled next year, the BJP, on Wednesday, appointed Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s blue-eyed boy and former Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis as the election in-charge for the state. This is important, especially after Fadnavis was earlier appointed as the poll in-charge in Bihar, where the party retained power in an alliance with JD(U).
It is also vital considering the rift that surfaced in Goa over the management of the Covid-19 pandemic. Chief Minister Pramod Sawant and Health Minister Vishwajit Rane were not on the same page when the cases were on a rise. The BJP national president JP Nadda intervened and asked the duo to keep their differences aside and focus on management. The RSS Parivar had also expressed concern over the factionalism in the ruling BJP.
The appointment is yet another move from the BJP to project Fadnavis at the national level to exploit his organisational skills. The former CM will face a major challenge to bring all factions together in a bid to put up a show of unity to retain power. Interestingly, the Congress appointed former Home Minister P Chidambaram as its poll in-charge. The party has already launched an exercise to stitch pre-poll alliances to take on the BJP.
Meanwhile, Fadnavis, in the wake of defeat of the Maharashtra Ekikaran Samiti (MES) in the civic election in Belgaum, claimed it was the defeat of Shiv Sena leader Sanjay Raut's ego. He also asserted that it cannot be called the defeat of Marathi "manoos".
To a question on Raut's statement that slammed the Maharashtra BJP for celebrating the poll result, claiming such "betrayal" with the Marathi people was never seen before, Fadnavis said, "I only want to say that it is not the defeat of Marathi manoos in Belgaum, because Marathi manoos cannot be defeated. It is the ego of Sanjay Raut that has been defeated." "More than 15 BJP corporators elected (there) are Marathi. Hence, the defeat of Marathi manoos or party cannot be the same. Marathi manoos cannot be defeated," he added.
However, Raut has shot back at Fadnavis and in a tweet said, “Make the winning Marathi candidates from Belgaum bow their heads in front of the Martyrs' Memorial in Mumbai and take the oath of Maharashtra identity and approve a two-line resolution in Belgaum civic body on Belgaum’s merger with Maharashtra. Do you agree? Putting ego aside, do this!”