An Intro Based On Wrestling - Yes, Wrestling - Helped BJP's Goa Win Today

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An Intro Based On Wrestling - Yes, Wrestling - Helped BJP's Goa Win Today

Brij Bhushan Singh (3rd from L), a BJP MP and wrestling body chief, helped seal partys alliance in Goa

Panaji: 

Highlights

  1. Goa Forward headed by Vijay Sardesai key part of BJP's win
  2. Ice between Sardesai and BJP broken by UP member of parliament
  3. Sardesai and he know each other as officials of Wrestling Federation
Spotted with the team that delivered a BJP government in Goa - Union Minister Nitin Gadkari and Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar - is a politician incongruous with the coastal state. Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh, who is a BJP member of parliament from Uttar Pradesh, was part of the party contingent on Sunday that declared to reporters that the BJP had the 22 votes it needed to install Mr Parrikar as Chief Minister.

Then, Mr Singh asked his party bosses for permission to leave - and went on to play a crucial role in winning over one of two regional parties essential for the BJP to come to power.

The BJP on its own had 13 seats. The MGP or Maharashtrawadi Gomantak Party had three and was easily won over - it was a BJP ally till right before the election. Independents were on board too. The win-or-lose proposition rested on Goa Forward, which had three seats, is headed by Vijai Sardesai, and had aggressively targeted the BJP in its campaign.

Mr Singh, a notorious "don" in Uttar Pradesh named in multiple criminal cases, was flown down by the party to help seal an alliance with Mr Sardesai. The common link tying the two men - wrestling.

Mr Singh is the head of All India Wrestling Federation. Mr Sardesai is head of its Goa chapter.  

Mr Singh told NDTV that he was friends with Mr Sardesai and flew - after his son's election to the UP Assembly was confirmed - to Goa on Saturday night; just hours after the results for five states were declared.

Mr Singh was tasked with winning Mr Sardesai's support. He emerged successful - by Sunday afternoon, Goa Forward had committed in writing its backing for Mr Parrikar.

Mr Gadkari, who was the overseer of the BJP's Goa mission, said "Singh was on a personal family trip to Goa and his presence helped in the outreach to Goa Forward." The union minister stressed, "He didn't play a direct role. He and Vijay Sardesai are friends from the Wrestling Federation and he introduced us to Sardesai."

Mr Sardesai too confirmed Mr Singh's role in breaking ice with the BJP, but said, with a high measure of political correctness, that the alliance with BJP was forged "over issue for the development of Goa."

The Congress has alleged that the BJP paid off allies like Mr Sardesai for their loyalty, a charge that the smaller parties have denied.

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