Shashikala Kakodkar

Shashikala Kakodkar

Shashikala Kakodkar


Mini Biography :

Shashikala Kakodkar is a prominent leader of the Maharashtrawadi Gomantak Party (MGP), a political party based in Goa.

She is the daughter of Goa’s first chief minister Dayanand Bandodkar (Bhausaheb), who ascended to power after the December 1963 elections, following a hotly-contested election which saw the polarisation of the electorate on caste and religious lines. Following her father’s death in 1973, while still in office, Mrs Kakodkar became the chief minister of Goa, and continued in power till being ousted by a split within her party in early 1979.

After the Goa, Daman and Diu Legislative Assembly was dissolved and elections were announced to be held on June 1, 1977, there was a shift in Goa’s local political polarisation. A small group of the United Goans Party (dominated by Dr. Jack de Sequeira ) in the Assembly was dissolved and decided to form the Janata Party. Sarto Esteves’ book Politics and Political Leadership in Goa (p 170) says there was a “lot of hesitation till the last minute” in the MGP, which was in two minds on whether to join the Janata Party or continue its separate identity. Since its unexpected electoral thrashing in the 1963 first Goa elections, the Congress was for the first time a bit more sure of itself because of a large number of United Goans (UG) politicians who had joined its ranks.

Then Kakodkar fought the elections from the Bicholim constituency, and was opposed by three other candidates, including Jaisingrao Rane, who had been one of her colleagues in the Assembly, but had left the MGP to join the Janata Party.

In that election, the MGP won 15 seats, Congress upped its number to 10, and the Janata Party got three seats, with two going to independents.

Several smaller groups joined in the Janata Party, and with the latter’s success at the national (all-India) level, the MGP had to seriously consider whether to continue its separate existence as a regional party. There were a number of rumours about plans for its merger with the Janata Party or one of the other national parties.

But the MGP lead by Shashikala Kakodkar stayed separate, and managed to win a majority — even if a slender one, with 15 out of 30 seats — in the Goa assembly.

In the 1980 elections, the MGP, or Maharashtrawadi Gomantak Party was ousted from power, and the Congress (U), which subsequently transformed itself into the Congress (I), took power in Goa. Following the erosion of her party and its dwindling strength in the Goa assembly, Mrs Kakodkar briefly left the Maharashtrawadi Gomantak Party, to found another party named after her late father, the Bhausaheb Bandodkar Gomantak Party, or BBGP.

In 1990, when the Congress was ousted from power following the defection of some of its prominent leaders — like then Speaker Dr Luis Proto Barbosa, Churchill Alemao, Mauvin Godinho, J.B.Gonsalves, Somnath Zuwarkar, Luis Alex ‘Mama’ Cardozo, Farrel Furtado — the MGP bounced back to power for a short while, as part of the PDF (Progressive Democratic Front) coalition experiment with breakaway Congressmen.

Shashikala Kakodkar, also known as Tai (Elder sister in Marathi), was the education minister in this government, and was responsible in a major way for the regional languages-alone, no-English education policy implemented in government-aided primary schools in Goa.

Mrs Kakodkar is known for her support for Marathi-language politics, which is one of the major planks of the Maharashtrawadi Gomantak Party, along with the campaign for merger with Maharashtra. The latter plan has since been abandoned, following an Opinion Poll held in early 1967 in Goa, where the merger cause was defeated.

Speaking to the media in 2006, Mrs Kakodkar argued against making the English language a compulsory language in primary school. She has been quoted saying by press reports: “(Congress) Education Minister Luzinho Faleiro believes in Portuguese culture and hence is taking such decisions that are unhealthy for our cultural values,” At the time, the former Goa chief minister was heading the stir of the Marathi Bachao Andolan (Save Marathi Forum) in the state.

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