Strange are the ways of the Congress in Goa!
As an Opposition while it should have gone all guns blazing at the ruling dispensation for its erratic governance in the state, it is contend playing second-fiddle to the BJP-alliance never really posing any serious threat to the ‘sustenance’ of the coalition.
The development agenda very fervently pursued by the Parrikar-ensemble presented the Congress opportunities in abundance to pull the rug from under the feet of the ruling. But it appears that the efforts of the Opposition are always directed elsewhere – and the results are not very much encouraging either! The avalanche of scams that described its last decade-old tenure at the centre has the Congress searching for similar rip-offs in every inconsistency noticed in the workings of the present government. This excellence has probably rubbed off on its Goa unit as well considering the penchant shown by its members for digging out ‘probabilities’ when there is hardly any trace of it.
Nevertheless, looking at the steady exodus of legislators from its ranks, it must be said that the Congress in Goa appears to lack the tenacity to hold on against all adversities. While the frictions within the ghatbandhan has been exposing the delicate relations between various alliance partners striving to hold up the government, it is indeed strange that the Congress stewardship in Goa has not given a serious thought to exploit the conditions and unsettle the BJP-sarkar in the state.
Although the rift within the Saffron-brigade and the oddities that accentuate the differences between the associate members in the alliance is threatening to dismember the whole union, the Congress has not pounced on the chance to unnerve the government. For all purposes, it is apparent that the Opposition in Goa is awaiting the self-disintegration of the coalition government before planning anything.
It is indeed perplexing to note the hesitation shown by the Congress in ‘enticing’ members from the ruling-combine to switch loyalties so as to win the war of numbers which would otherwise enable it to take a shot at government formation. With the BJP-coalition in Goa considerably weakened by the prospects of an ailing skipper marshalling his resources to keep his government afloat, the Congress surprisingly refuses to move out of the ICU and appears to prefer the comfort of ‘existing’ even if it’s for the nuisance value it proffers.
It is nearly two years after the Congress in Goa seemingly chartered a completely unfamiliar course and anchored itself in the turbulent depths of uncertainty. Although it did have a few scampering out of the sinking ship, the others who have held on stoically are made to believe that they are staring at a bleak future. Maybe that explains the sudden scurry of the Gandhi-caps to the saffron-fold! The BJP on the other hand is pleasingly calm heading a government that has a plethora of ‘outsiders’ guiding its fortune in the state. But the situation is such that the slightest of tremors could disturb the equilibrium maintained.
Yet it is more than obvious that it has to be ‘external’ forces that will have to take the initiative. However, instead of moving in for the kill, the Congress in Goa is conspicuous by the antics it indulges in to counter the government on its faulty agendas.
The latest one where party workers buried themselves in sand at Miramar beach to draw attention to the impact that Goa would face if the contentious Coastal Regulation Zone 2019 was implemented in the state reeks more of activism than any suggestions of a meaningful Opposition. Other than its own constituent members, the Congress continues to be the ‘official’ Opposition in Goa. But the party leaders need to realize that activism and political gambits do not gel with each other.
Activism is the policy of using vigorous campaigning to bring about political or social change whereas political gambits, in general, are shrewd machinations usually employed to unsettle parties and governments. But it is preposterous to have the Congress, even after having had a strong presence in the political periphery of the country, indulging in political gambols to stay afloat in the minds of the electorate.
Ever since the ‘hugplomacy’ of Rahul Gandhi in the Lok Sabha, the Congress across the country, wherever they have been reduced to ‘minority’, has been engaging in such gimmicks to draw the attention of the nation towards the ills that is to be expected of a ‘Congress-mukht Bharat’! It is a shame that things have come to such a turn where the Congress has to resort to various publicity stunts to keep alive the notions of a strong Opposition.
Not that the grand-old party of Indian politics is not used to the idea of sitting in the Opposition. But it has so overwhelmingly been subdued this time around by the Modi-wave that has swept the country that the Congress is finding it extremely difficult to come out of the rut that it has pushed itself into. Maybe it is a strong leadership at the helm that has deprived Congress of its gleam and shine. Nor have the top-leaders supposed to lend a guiding hand to the national President in managing the affairs of the party been persuasive enough to have had their voices heard in the right places.
This could have had a demoralizing effect on the party on the whole. It is essential to have leaders taking the whole party with them and instilling a fair amount of respect of their capabilities among their workers. With Priyanka Gandhi Vadra having made her formal entry into national politics, the Congress party at last has something to smile about. Let us sincerely hope that her presence in the party will regain Congress its lost glory!
But the question that is uppermost in everyone’s mind is whether there can be a Congress party without the Gandhi family in the reckoning. Well, as things stand today, it can be emphatically vouched for that the Gandhi family is the Congress party in India! However it is a paradox of sorts that with the fourth generation of the Gandhi family guiding the destiny of the oldest political party in the country, Congress is today metamorphosing into a party that is unrecognizable from the one that was synonymous with the country’s freedom struggle.
It is indeed astonishing to observe that in spite of having had so many capable and high-profile leaders in its midst, the Congress refuses to see beyond the Gandhi clan to helm the affairs of the party at the top. No wonder critics are going overboard with their cynical remarks about how the Gandhi family’s unhindered reign at the top has had the country witnessing eras of corruptions and scams failing to reinforce the public’s trust in a party that purported to cater to the interests of the common man. Nevertheless, within a few years of being out of power, and against a seemingly indestructible opposition, the Congress leadership appears to have lost its moorings – the Goa debacle is a strong reminder of this fact!(Published on 04th February 2019, Volume XXXI, Issue 06)