Shah grabs the reins of power. Amit Shah saw early on that the true challenge for the BJP in Uttar Pradesh was not the farmer vote in western UP, but rather the fact that Samajwadi Party head Akhilesh Yadav would organize his campaign around a backward vs. forward narrative. He was well aware that Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath’s Thakur caste was a liability in some quarters. It was Narendra Modi, not Shah, who chose Adityanath as the BJP’s chief ministerial candidate. After the departure of Swami Prasad Maurya and a few other OBC MLAs in early January, Shah stepped in to take over the UP campaign. Outside of Adityanath’s native district of Gorakhpur, Shah was in charge of candidate selection. OBC leaders like Keshav Prasad Maurya and Anupriya Patel were projected in the campaign, and Shah ensured that they were well-represented. Shah also embarked on a whirlwind tour of the state.
Will Prashant Kishor’s campaign whiz Prashant Kishor’s Waterloo be Goa? The TMC campaign is run entirely by Kishor’s organization, I-PAC. Mohua Moitra, the TMC Goa in charge, is primarily responsible for interfacing with the media. The number of Goan politicians who joined the TMC only to leave after receiving a negative response from their constituents is growing. Aleixo Reginaldo Lourenco, a former Congress member, runs as an Independent. Lavoo Mamledar, a former MGP MLA, is running for Congress. Yatish Naik, a founder member of the Goa TMC, resigned after failing to receive a ticket. Literary celebrity Damodar Ghanekar, footballer Denzil Franco, and tennis star Leander Paes are notable TMC supporters who appear disillusioned. Former CM Luizinho Faleiro, the TMC’s first recruit, decided not to run for Fatorda when the party won a Rajya Sabha seat. Lesser-known names complain that they were first courted solely so that I-PAC could obtain their contact information.
The TMC has made significant investments in Goa. Its massive hoardings dwarf those of any other political party. However, the hoardings only feature a photograph of Mamata Banerjee, not any candidates.
Satish Dhond, the BJP’s organizing secretary, is being blamed for the party’s botched electoral plan in Goa, more than the ineffective Chief Minister Pramod Sawant. When Manohar Parrikar was in power, RSS pracharak Dhond was sent to Maharashtra. Due to a shortage of alternatives, he returned to Goa while Parrikar was ill and was given carte blanche.
Factors like party loyalty, Parivar ties, and a clean record were given little shrift in the selection process. Congress defectors will receive 25% of the party’s tickets, according to the cadre-based party. Dhond’s detractors claim he underestimated widespread dissatisfaction with defectors. The opportunistic decision to allocate the Panjim ticket to the infamous Atanasio Monserrate rather than Utpal Parrikar, Parrikar’s son, was the final straw for old-timers. Former Goa RSS chief Subhash Velingkar has endorsed Utpal’s candidacy, as have many others in the Sangh Parivar.
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