BJP leader Nitin Gadkari on Thursday rejected allegations of foul play levelled by the Congress, stating that the rival party was just sore about failing to form its own coalition government in Goa.
Gadkari, who is also the Union minister for road transport and highways, said the Congress was too busy resolving internal disputes regarding the appointment of its chief ministerial candidate while the BJP was out sealing alliances with local parties as part of its strategy to take the reins of the state administration.
“Our fast decision-making policy helped us form the government in Goa while the Congress missed the bus. We have formed the government by forging alliances with different parties, which is not undemocratic at all,” he told reporters at the Shipping Corporation of India headquarters.
Even though the Congress emerged as the single-largest party, Gadkari played an important role in securing the numbers required to help the BJP wrest power in Goa. “The Congress failed to approach the governor in time while we managed to show our strength with the help of our new partners — the Maharashtra Gomantak Party (MGP) and Goa Forward Party (GFP). Our rivals were having trouble picking their chief ministerial candidate because there were five aspirants for the same,” the Union minister said.
Gadkari gave a blow-by-blow account of how he managed to persuade regional parties to forge an alliance, even enlisting the support of independent legislators.
On Wednesday, the Congress had dubbed the BJP’s Goa strategy as “unconstitutional” – alleging that the central government had influenced governor Mridula Sinha’s decision in its favour. Party leader Digvijaya Singh even accused the BJP of indulging in horse-trading to reach the majority mark.
The saffron party, however, rejected the allegations.
Gadkari claimed the BJP’s gameplan was put into action on the night of March 11 – shortly after the results of the assembly polls came out. “I reached Goa late that night and entered into talks with MGP and GFP leaders. They had some conditions, including the appointment of defence minister Manohar Parrikar as the Goa chief minister, which we accepted. The next morning, we met the governor with evidence that the BJP-led alliance had the required strength to form the next government,” he added.
Gadkari said the credit for the party’s success in the coastal state goes to BJP president Amit Shah. “It was 7 pm (when I met Shah at his residence). We discussed the political situation of Goa in detail. Our strength was only 13. I told him that we do not have the support we need,” he recalled telling Shah.
However, the BJP president would not take “no” for an answer, and insisted that Gadkari give it a try anyway.
(With PTI inputs)