Parrikar’s ‘victory’ rally in Goa comes under criticism

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Panaji, Oct 3 (IANS) Goa state BJP’s plan to accord a hero’s welcome to Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar on Tuesday for choreographing the surgical strikes across the Line of Control has come in for sharp criticism from the opposition, alliance partners as well as civil society.

Parrikar is scheduled to star in the victory rally on Tuesday from the Dabolim International airport in Vasco to the state capital — a distance of around 40 km — accompanied by 9,000 two-wheelers. He is also scheduled to address a public rally in Panaji.

But the Opposition has accused Parrikar of trying to politically capitalise on achievements of the Indian armed forces.

“Shouldn’t the Defence Minister be held accountable for the lapses at Uri as well? What is needed is motivating our armed forces. If the BJP wants to felicitate them, then it should felicitate our brave soldiers,” state ongress spokesperson Sunil Kawthankar told IANS on Monday.

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“It is time we stop politicising our tactical strike carried out by the Indian Army. If Parrikar accepts the felicitation, then he should also accept responsibility for more attacks on our soil in the future like the one in Baramulla last night,” Kawthankar added.

The rally proposed by the Bharatiya Janata Party comes at a time when its coalition government in poll-bound Goa, as well as the image of Parrikar, a former Chief Minister, have taken a bashing.

Frontal assault on ruling party policies and accusations of cheating and betrayal have been mounted by now-rebel Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh’s state leader Subhash Velingkar.

A senior BJP leader told IANS that the aim of the victory rally was to lift the sagging morale of the party cadre, a section of which is questioning the state BJP leadership vis a vis the allegations levelled by Velingkar.

The rally was also aimed at overshadowing the launch on October 2 of a new political party mentored by a Velingkar-led regional languages front.

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“We needed to bring the focus back to the BJP. Velingkar’s role has demoralised and confused our cadre. Bhai (Parrikar) was involved in the decision-making process as far as the surgical strikes are concerned. We want to combine his felicitation with an event which would also re-energise our cadre,” a state BJP leader told IANS on condition of anonymity.

But the BJP’s plans have also come in for criticism from its alliance partner Maharashtrawadi Gomantak Party (MGP).

“I don’t think it is right to hold such rallies even when soldiers are dying on the border. Parrikar should not accept such propositions. It is unfair,” MGP’s Sudhin Dhavalikar, who is also the Public Works Department mMinister in coalition government, said.

Celebrities like fashion designer Wendell Rodricks have also criticised the move to organize a victory rally, claiming in times of crisis Parrikar should be in his office instead.

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“At this time of crisis did Goans have to put out the news that the Defence Minister is being felicitated in Panaji on October 4? He should ideally be in his officea or give the appearance of. Or is this a celebration to attract a 2017 vote-bank without caring what is happening to the country’s frontiers,” Rodricks posted on Facebook.

State BJP President Vinay Tendulkar has, however, maintained that the rally was dedicated by the party to Parrikar for a critical job well done last week.

“All 40 mandal units of the party will be felicitating him by organising a motorcycle rally which will escort him to Panaji from the airport. This is a way of showing our love and respect for him for the successful surgical strikes as a response to the Uri terror attack,” Tendulkar said.



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