Gadkari-Munde feud inspires a sequel in Goa | india | Hindustan Times
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Gadkari-Munde feud inspires a sequel in Goa

It is not just superhit films like "Dabangg" and "Don" which inspire sequels. The Nitin Gadkari-Gopinath Munde feud of 2011 seems to have inspired a sequel of its own in the Goa unit of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).

india Updated: Jan 30, 2012 17:25 IST

It is not just superhit films like "Dabangg" and "Don" which inspire sequels. The Nitin Gadkari-Gopinath Munde feud of 2011 seems to have inspired a sequel of its own in the Goa unit of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).

This feud - between a backward class hero and a Brahmin leader - is threatening to derail the party's poll campaign for the March 3 assembly elections.

The sequel stars former state president and north Goa MP Shripad Naik, who has been projected by the party as the undisputed leader of the Bahujan Samaj in Goa over the years - a la Munde, who is also considered as a mass leader of other backward classes (OBC) in Maharashtra.

In Gadkari's corner is former chief minister Manohar Parrikar, a Gaud Saraswat Brahmin, a small, but tight-knit, powerful, elite caste group here, who has maneuvered his party to power in Goa in the past.

Naik has been sulking publicly over his party's recent decision to disallow him from contesting state assembly elections, despite the former making it quite clear for months now, that he has had enough of his role as a parliamentarian for three terms.

Naik has also refused to participate in the party's Jan Sampark Abhiyaan, which was launched two weeks ago by senior BJP leader Arun Jaitely and is headed by Parrikar.

"I will campaign only when my party explains why I am not allowed to contest in Goa elections," an obviously sulking Naik told reporters here this week.

Performance wise, the amiable, softspoken Naik, who sharply contrasts the huff and bluster personality of Parrikar, shows poorly.

As a junior minister in the National Democratic Alliance (NDA), Naik's portfolio changed five times in four years. Every time Naik remained a minister of state. Naik's performance as an opposition parliamentarian has also been criticized in all quarters for his failure to take up crucial issues confronting Goa in parliament, especially that of illegal mining.

Party insiders believe that Parrikar, who has a vice like grip on the affairs of the BJP in Goa, is afraid that Naik's re-entry into state politics could create two rival powers centres.

"It was Parrikar's tact which helped the party come to power. Ideally, they should work as a foil. Because Naik has a likeable image among the people, while Parrikar is politically shrewd. But Parrikar is afraid that two power centres would not only weaken him, but the party as well from within," a senior party leader said.

That the feud has already started taking a political toll on the BJP is obvious from the fact that after nearly a decade and more, the BJP has failed to project a chief ministerial candidate, a mantle which has indisputably rested on Parrikar's shoulders.

And only time will tell whether the sequel will follow the same path of reconciliation as the original feud between Munde and Gadkari after months of sparring.