Velingkar vs BJP contest assumes ‘mythical’ proportions in Goa

Paji, Feb 1: The bitter electoral battle between a former RSS leader and guru, and his illustrious and politically-powerful shishyas, is fast attaining mythical proportions in this coastal state going to the hustings on February 4. Ranged against each other are Subhash Velingkar, the sacked Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) chief, and three Bharatiya Jata Party (BJP) politicians he persolly groomed and mentored — Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar, Chief Minister Laxmikant Parsekar and Union Minister of State for Ayush Shripad ik.

Fighting for the same electoral constituency, the conservative Hindu vote, the battle between the Velingkar-mentored Goa Suraksha Manch (GSM) and the BJP seems to be taking a leaf out of Indian epics Mahabharata and, to some extent, the Ramaya, if the comments made recently by leaders from both the parties are considered.

Regarded by the BJP party cadre as the “Bhishma pitamaha” of state politics, after the grand patriarch of the Mahabharata, Velingkar was sacked as the Goa RSS chief last year after his consistent critcism of the state BJP for backing English over regiol languages as a medium of instruction in schools. Velingkar, during his tenure as Goa Sanghachalak, mentored several generations of BJP leaders, including Parrikar, Parsekar and ik. Immediately after he was sacked, Laxmikant Parsekar, however, decided to depict him as the warrior Kar, whose kavach kundals had been stripped off and was therefore rendered vulnerable.

“There is nothing to fear now. He has lost his kavach kundals,” Parsekar said just as the BJP’s poll campaign kicked off. In the Mahabharata, the kavach kundal is a reference to Kar’s earrings which made him invincible in battle, but the warrior was tricked into parting with them by Lord Indra, disguised as a pauper, rendering Kar vulnerable.

Parsekar, obviously, was referring to Velingkar’s sacking from the RSS, an organisation which he had been a part of for nearly 50 years. Velingkar responded in equal measure.

“My kavach kundals are not linked to the RSS post. I am a Sangh Swayamsevak for life. He should know our kavach kundals are not temporary in ture. Their kavach kundals will fall when elections are held,” Velingkar had retorted. The rhetoric wedded to mythology did not end with this. When asked if the GSM, which is contesting five seats as part of an alliance with the Maharashtrawadi Gomantak Party (MGP) and the Shiv Se, would be able to take on the might of the ruling BJP, party President And Shirodkar told IANS: “Our five Pandavas are fighting the Kauravas of the BJP. And you know who eventually won the battle of righteousness.” For the Shiv Se, it would appear that Velingkar is Lord Krish incarte. “This election is a contest like the fil war as described in the Mahabharata. While the BJP represents the Kauravas, those who are fighting against them are the Pandavas. Velingkar is for us like Lord Krish, who is going to guide non-Congress and non-BJP forces to victory,” former state Shiv Se President Sudip Tamhankar had said. Velingkar himself, in a speech on January 29, slipped in a bit of the Ramaya in the Pernem assembly constituency while campaigning for the MGP. (IANS)