Did power struggle within BJP force Shripad to quit games panel?
The resignation of the North Goa MP and the Bahujan Samaj face of the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party Shripad Naik from the Lusofonia games sub committee has brought to the fore, once again, the rumblings within the ruling party.
This time, the catalyst was the inclusion of two Commonwealth Games (CWG) officials in the organising committee for the 3rd Lusofonia Games to be held in Goa, insiders claim.
The party is attempting to play down the differences, calling it a ‘personal decision,’ though they admit that they were not aware of the decision till it became public.
“This is his personal decision. He has not discussed anything with the party,” BJP state chief, Vinay Tendulkar told media, refusing to read anything more in the sudden step.
The Goa Olympic Association chief had resigned from the Lusofonia Games organizing committee along with Goa secretary Gurudatta Bhakta.
Naik and Bhakta are members of sports sub-committee. “My resignation has been sent the day before yesterday,” Naik told media, denying that there was any meeting with the chief minister, who heads the organizing committee of which he is no 2. He however said that he had spoken to him over the telephone.
But the MP refused to elaborate on the issue, giving an indication of the parleys that are most likely taking place behind the scenes.
Sources indicate that he was upset that he had no active role and was being sidelined in the decision-making process for the conduct of 3rd Lusofonia Games to be held in Goa in November. Naik had expressed his “inability to head the Lusofonia Sports Committee and also be part of the same,” while Bhakta said, “We are the two sides of the coin and I have to follow my president.”
Later, that evening, both Shripad and Bhakta had a meeting with Sports Minister Ramesh Tawadkar and another one with Keshav Chandra and Elvis.
“I don’t want to blame either Keshav Chandra (secretary) or Elvis (SAG chief) for what has happened, but I felt humiliated that the meeting cancellation letter was signed by a junior officer overriding my authority. That’s what has hurt me the most,” he said.
Tawadkar is also learnt to have expressed his displeasure over how things are being carried on, with he himself also being sidelined, giving a feeling that the Games organization does not come under his sports portfolio.
Shripad, who was the vice-chairman of the Games Organising Committee, under the chairmanship of Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar, was reportedly livid that a meeting of the sub-committee fixed on January 25 under his chairmanship was postponed at the last minute with SAG’s Executive Director Elvis Gomes shooting a letter stating that the postponement was needed since Sports Secretary Keshav Chandra was sick.
Sources say that it was at the meeting held on Friday last, under the chairmanship of Parrikar that Shripad felt totally cold-shouldered since R Sacheti and V Saxena of the now infamous Commonwealth Games were appointed as advisors and attended the meeting.
Resentment has been brewing for quite some time since it came to be known that the Delhi-based bureaucrats were appointed even after being close associates of the now deposed IOA chief Suresh Kalmadi.
Many felt that it was Sports Secretary Keshav Chandra, who was well conversant with the organization of C’wealth Games in Delhi, who was calling the shots and was instrumental in getting the services of Delhi-based people with Elvis dutifully carrying executing the instructions of his immediate superior. Consequently, Shripad felt that he had no powers whatsoever and that everything was being managed by just one person. [H]