Rebel Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) leader Subhash Velingkar on Sunday launched a new political party called the Goa Suraksha Manch (GSM) ahead of the assembly polls next year.
Velingkar said the GSM will ally with the Shiv Sena on the issue of protecting and conserving Goa’s native languages and culture. “Goa Suraksha Manch will make sure the Bharatiya Janata Party is comprehensively defeated in the Goa elections," Velingkar said. The party will draft its agenda and poll plan in another week, Velingkar said.
“Unlike most established political parties, GSM will contest polls on ideological and cultural issues and principles. We have formed this party to raise our voice politically and preserve Goa’s native culture and languages. We will make sure the BJP is comprehensively defeated in polls and GSM wins maximum seats," Velingkar told Marathi news channel Zee Chowis Taas.
On Saturday, Shiv Sena executive president Uddhav Thackeray declared the Sena will contest 20 seats in Goa and may enter into an alliance with Velingkar’s party. Goa has 40 assembly seats of which the BJP won 21 in 2012.
A BJP legislator in Goa who did not want to be named said Velingkar’s party could be a serious spoiler in at least 25 seats where there are significant Konkani and Marathi voters.
“His party won’t win many seats for sure because his agenda is issue- and community-specific. But he will eat into BJP voter base only," said the legislator.
He added the BJP will need to prepare well to take on GSM in the context of a rising challenge from the Aam Aadmi Party.
“The two major blocks of voters who supported us in 2012—Konkani-Marathi and Christians—are not so sure to vote for us. It is not going to be an easy election for us," he said.
In late August, the RSS sacked Velingkar after he announced he will form a party to take on the BJP. Between 300 and 400 RSS functionaries and workers left the organization in protest against Velingkar’s dismissal. A rebellion on this scale is unprecedented in the RSS.