Maharashtrawadi Gomantak Party

Maharashtrawadi Gomantak Party

Maharashtrawadi Gomantak Party (MGP) (Marathi: महाराष्ट्रवादी गोमंतक पक्ष) was Goa's first ruling party after the end of Portuguese colonial rule in 1961. In the first elections held after India took over the former Portuguese colony, it ascended to power in December 1963 and stayed on, till being ousted from power by defections in early 1979.

The party has its base amongst non-Brahmin Hindus, a group that make up a large section of the poorer half of the Goan society, and was particularly deprived during Portuguese rule in Goa. It held on to power despite being affected by some defections, for much of the first two decades of post-Portuguese Goa, defeating the other contenders for power—primarily the United Goans Party (not to be confused with the United Goans Democratic Party, founded in the 1990s) first, and later the Congress.

MGP's first chief minister was the mine owner Dayanand Bandodkar, followed by his daughter, Shashikala Kakodkar, who ascended to power after her father died in office, approximately a decade after taking over power, in 1973.

After Shashikala Kakodkar left MGP and joined Congress, Ramakant Khalap became leader of MGP in Goa Assembly and from just two seats under his charismatic leadership MGP won 18 seats in the subsequent elections. As recorded by the Supreme Court of India in the cases Kashinath Zalmi vs State of Goa and Ravi Naik V/s State of Goa at one time MGP had clear majority of 25 MLAs in the 40-member Assembly of Goa, however by blatant misuse of his powers under the Anti Defection Law and Constitution of India, the then Governor of Goa did not make Khalap Chief Minister of Goa.[citation needed]

MGP's plank was largely based on populism, and promising a better deal to the Hindu economically deprived and socially oppressed sections in Goa. It was initially associated with a plank of merging Goa with the neighbouring state of Maharashtra, a policy it subsequently backed away from when the 1967 Opinion Poll held in the region voted against the merger. It has also supported the use of the Marathi language; though some interpret its stand on language and merger as being partly a means of fighting caste issues and countering the domination of Goa by the traditional Hindu and Catholic elites.

During the first 18 years after integration with independent India, MGP led the state government. Today, however, the MGP is marginalized when compared to its former status. The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), particularly during its reign between 1999 and 2005, was showing increasing signs of having taken over most of the Hindu voters, and a large chunk of the party cadre. The BJP allied with the MGP in the elections of 1994, and made inroads into that party's vote-base, even though it won only four seats in that election, and the MGP got 10. Over the years, the MGP, which is symbolized by a lion and has a saffron flag, has been further eroded by the ascendent BJP. The crisis has even reached the point where dissolution of the party has been discussed.[by whom?]

Following an election in the early 2000s, the MGP were reduced to just one seat (out of a total of 40 seats) in the Goa legislative assembly, while the BJP made large gains.

In the Lok Sabha parliamentary elections of 2004, the party had launched candidates in both constituencies in Goa. They got 5377 and 2207 votes.

The party improved its strength during the June 2007 state elections, in which it allied with the Indian National Congress party. The MGP got 9% of the vote and won two seats in the state assembly, a gain of one. The party entered a coalition government led by the Congress Party and also including the Nationalist Congress Party. On 26 July 2007, its two MLAs and two Independent MLAs withdraw their support to Digambar Kamat Ministry leading to the reduction of his government into minority.[1]

Pandurang Raut is the president of the party and Pradip Naik is the general secretary.[2]

See also

  • Goa Opinion Poll
  • United Goans Party

References


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