We are at the threshold of a new decade!
After the tumult of the past twelve months where the ebbing fortunes of a vibrant state were equally complimented by the confusion that prevailed throughout in the name of effective governance, Goans welcome the New Year with a fair amount of trepidation.
The demise of a larger-than-life persona who trod the political scenario in the state for well over two decades has ensured that it would leave a political void that would take some time to heal.
However, if the coup of sorts the incumbent Chief Minister has affected to rein in the ambitions of ‘certain’ power-brokers in the state assembly says something for his political acumen, the credit for bringing politics in the state to the abysmal depths of mediocrity is a dubious honour that he cannot but accept.
Moreover, the unabashed behaviour of some of his cabinet colleagues whose ineffectual ways have come to the fore on so many occasions makes it difficult to believe that the CM has his writ running large over them.
Besides, how should one be seeing his bouts of ‘sudden’ bonhomie with members of the Opposition that has even ruffled feathers within the ruling dispensation!
Who is feeling more insecure; the CM or his ‘Group of Ministers’?
It is amidst such a setting that the Goans expect a revival of their fortunes!
With the exception of the casinos alleged to be raking in mindboggling returns, tourism in the state has virtually come to a standstill.
Events like the Sunburn festival may have had EDM enthusiasts grooving the night away, but the ‘clandestine’ affairs which have been marring such programmes over the years have tarnished the fair name of Goa.
The government in the meanwhile is hard-pressed justifying its lukewarm response to the whole imbroglio!
Very much as the mining mess that has exposed the Centre’s duplicity over the matter of restarting the activity in the state, deliberations on the Mhadei issue appears to have gone off at a tangent with Delhi playing spoilsport once again.
But having said that; some of the recent happenings that have invited ‘political anger’ over the ‘matter of prerogatives’ have indeed been puzzling!
While a few days back it was the Chief of the Army Staff who drew the Opposition parties’ ire over his public criticism of people leading protests over the Citizenship Amendment Act across the country; media talk by the Governor of Goa on controversial political issues like the Mhadei imbroglio has unsettled quite a few ministers in the state cabinet who have impressed upon the CM Pramod Sawant to convey their annoyance to the governor Satya Pal Malik in no uncertain terms.
While the Army Chief has been accused of ‘breaching the limit’ of his institutional role by the Opposition, the Goa Governor has been blamed for frequently issuing statements in the media on issues usually outside the domain of the governor.
It does appear that when things tend to go against their ‘calculations’ the law-makers, whether in the Opposition or the ruling, do not hesitate to equivocally condemn such voices as ‘unconstitutional’.
For that matter, the political class in the country is evidently so close-knitted that they view any trespass into their dominion as a violation of their privileges.
Hence, straying into their turf is not above reproach and constitutes a cardinal sin. The manner in which the Governor was hauled over the coal for his ‘misdemeanour’ does not suggest otherwise.
Conversely, the ruling BJP in Goa has no business advising the Governor to stay within his constitutional limits.
Just the other day the Governor, known to be outspoken, had turned a hero of sorts after the Mhadei stalemate which was generating much political heat in the state was raked up by him at his first meeting with the PM since taking over as the Governor of Goa.
Today his dialogues with the media over matters that are ‘presumably’ to be dealt with ‘only’ by the political executive and the state legislature have turned him into a villain!
Politicians just do not like a mirror to be held up to their faces.
In the melee, it was all the more disheartening to have Goa engaging in the ‘will it-won’t it’ conjecture over what it should have been regarded as ‘personal debacles’.
Crying foul over the deceptive tactics of the Centre, the CM has fared no better than his ‘illustrious’ predecessors who have tread the same path only to come cropper, when faced with the impossibility of the situations.
It is a wonder that none of those who held high offices in the state felt the need to arrive at out-of-the-box solutions to the problems that plague the region today. Holding out hopes, and indefinitely at that, leaders in Goa have kept Goans permanently in a state of ‘suspended animation’.
With the susegado culture giving way to an ‘animated visage’ which characterizes the modern Goan generation, the youngsters today do not appear to be so easily lured by the empty promises proffered and have learnt to question the powers that be over the inordinate delays in arriving at workable solutions to various issues that have assailed the state over the past few years.
The recent anti-CAA and NRC protests in the state have thus come as an eye-opener for sceptics who have forever wondered at the spinelessness of the locals when it comes to questioning the government over its inconsistencies and irregularities.
Anti-plastic campaigns, fears over the piling dumps of garbage, crusades against drug and alcohol abuse, and a series of movement against a plethora of social issues in the state have brought teeming crowds out on the streets and raising their voices as one against the social malaises.
However, with most of the local issues on the back burner, it now needs to be realized that our sweet-talking leaders can no longer be relied upon for bringing ‘magical’ solutions to problems that are of their own making.
Where a little bit of arm-twisting would have brought forth desirable results, quite often we see that ‘political compulsions’ neutralize perfectly rational demands, thus compromising the efforts made in that direction.
With an indecisive government bringing about uncertainties in its functioning at every step, is Goa set for turbulent times ahead!
Unless of course, Goans decide to do something about the queasy politics which has made Goans aliens in their own land!
However, mind you, this is not an opinion based on twenty-twenty hindsight.(Published on 20th January 2020, Volume XXXII, Issue 04)