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Bend It Like Parrikar

Bend It Like Parrikar

The election results this time around have been a revelation of sorts.

Although the electorate gave a clear mandate against the rule of the BJP with as many as six of the eight ministers in the fray, including the CM, losing the polls to their rivals, the viciousness with which Parrikar pounced on the options on hand to put together a dispensation of his own and stake claims to form the government may have amazed even the worst of his critics.

And to succeed, did he garner support from the most unimaginable of ally!

Vijai Sardesai, the Goa Forward mentor, is today being blamed for executing to perfection the ‘U turn’ policies that he once was a staunch critic about.

By purportedly reneging on his poll pledge where he promised to stick on with his “Goem, Goemkar and Goemkarponn” agenda without bowing down to the fanciful designs of the communal forces, he has come out as the villain of the piece considering his haste to align with BJP in forming the government.

Going by the manner in which he constituted the lone voice of the opposition in the last assembly, it was assumed that he would be supporting the Congress. But isn’t it the same party that very nearly jeopardized his poll prospects by back-stabbing him twice in successive elections?

Then, why should he be blamed for shunning the Congress and embracing the BJP?

Indifferences and treacheries apart, the Congress would always like to believe that he is that prodigal son whose return to the party fold is as obvious as it could ever be. For that matter, Vijai did wait for the Congress to approach him for the support of his party, didn’t he?

However, a party characterized by indecisiveness taking disagreements between members to the point of no-return should never be entrusted the governance of any region.

It is assumed that politicians are all opportunists. Going by that dictum, Vijai Sardesai is one; but will his ‘opportunistic demeanor’ hamper any progress work in Fatorda constituency? In that case the electorate has every reason to cry foul. For, even as a member in the opposition, Fatorda did see some amount of developmental work!

He may be perfectly justified in taking the decision that has brought him brickbats. Let’s wait and watch! Better than having no government at all due to faulty perceptions, a sound dispensation handling the affairs of the state is always welcome.

The Congress having tons of experience on its side with a few past Chief Ministers and ‘several times’ ministers in its ranks could however not convert the best chance available to come out of a self imposed political anonymity succeeding in only pushing itself further into an oblivion from where there is no revivification.

The contention that the Governor failed to honour spirit of law is secondary considering that with the saffron flag flying high at the center, that all-out efforts would be made to install a BJP government in Goa, the party’s poor showing at the polls notwithstanding, was to be expected.

Saying that the Congress was caught napping would be an understatement, what with the host of ‘astute leaders’ it boasts of having in its ranks!

The MGP, the GFP and the independents extending support to the Parrikar-led BJP does not come as a big surprise either, for at the moment there is no other leader of standing who can give a sense of credibility to a government made up of an assorted bunch of legislators, and make it last the whole term too!

The sudden-found fondness for Parrikar among the current corps of legislators may well stem from these beliefs.

With the resignation of Vishwajit Rane as MLA as well as from the party, the frustration that has consumed the Congress MLAs could not have been more evident.

Not only has Congress in Goa cut a sorry figure, but even elected party members have shown a deep resentment towards the party leadership which couldn’t cobble up the necessary numbers to form the government, in spite of being the single largest party leading the tally.

However, rumours that another four are to follow suit are quite disturbing indeed!

As things stand today, a complete disgust at the central leadership characterizes the mood of the Congress legislators. But were there to be a mass exodus with every disgruntled MLA resigning and making a beeline for the BJP, wouldn’t every conceivable notion of democracy held so dear by the masses fall by the wayside!

Maybe the Congressmen in Goa are dismayed at the prospects of going powerless for the second consecutive term. But if every elected member is to vie for a slot in the ruling where does that leave democracy as a system of governance?

For an effective democracy, a formidable opposition is as important as a competent ruling. And a strength of 17 in the assembly is not trivial by any standards. The group of 17 can definitely make an effective opposition, if they chose to.

The present dispensation is a collection of individuals united for a certain time and space by a specific idea, experience or other common bond. Any group of affiliated members is an organization dedicated to promoting the interests of its group members. The moment it ceases to do so, disintegration is a natural corollary.

Yet, we should not forget that a group may assemble, take action together, may communicate, may agree on points as well, but a group never has one mind, one personality and one set of values. This has been the undoing of many a coalition.

The Parrikar led BJP government in Goa today is precisely that, an assortment of sorts, which has got together purely for basking in power. But, for the moment it is not the alliance partners but his party MLAs that the CM needs to be cautious about.

In the hurry to please his coalition partners, Parrikar has gone about and satiated the over-bloated egos of his associates, even if some of them are fresh entrants into the assembly.

Cadre-based party or not, when it comes to personal gains it has been observed that no one likes to compromise on his/her share of the ‘spoils of the war’. Moreover, dissent has not been atypical to the saffron party. It is this faction that could pose problems for Parrikar.

Finally to put it in the right perspective, the fate of this government depends all on how well Parrikar walks the tightrope.

#(Published on 27th March 2017, Volume XXIX, Issue 13)