Politics in Goa is getting murkier by the day!
Complementing its unique identity, the state has today attained that exclusive status where the persona of individual political leaders has clearly overgrown their respective parties to charter a totally different course for the region.
Although unheard of in any part of the country, Goa is taking the lead by ringing in a new era of political awareness where leaders will take precedence over political outfits.
Moreover, the frequency with which independent legislators have been gracing the august house in the last few years, it is more than evident that winning elections is nothing about political affiliations.
Personal charisma and the sincerity to address local issues are by far the most sought after qualities and there has been no dearth of such leaders. It is just that the convenience of established political outfits has made contesting polls that much easier for them.
However, a democracy cannot exist without the presence of political parties. ‘Independency’ as a stature for the elected representative cannot assure the efficiency to promise people any major policy change.
The very fact that a regional party held sway over the state for nearly two decades indicates that Goans have all along preferred a ‘locally centred’ government to deal with their problems rather than have a dispensation running to Delhi at the slightest hint of inconvenience. The substantial presence of legislators from the MGP and GFP in the assembly vindicates the fact.
Moreover, by the mere act of prospecting for legislators from the opposition to strengthen its base, the ‘elite’ party in the nation today is giving proof of the fact that politics and ethics have never been complimentary with each other.
But in the process the state today boasts of a plethora of leaders who have redefined the very concept of a political party by hitching on to the ruling party merely for partaking in ‘the spoils of power’.
Besides, diagnosed with a dysfunctional Opposition, there has been no checks on the orchestrated ‘cross-overs’ that is assuming an alarming regularity in the state.
Threatened by the prospects of having a ruling alliance with almost all the legislators in the assembly owing allegiance to the ruling, it is time the electorate woke up to the macabre machinations that go for politics in Goa today.
In recent months, the uniqueness of Goa has been further enhanced by a few incidents - shocking nevertheless - which have had no parallels in the history of Indian politics.
To begin with, the rising frequency of the CM’s hospitalization, even today, is shrouded in as much ambiguity as the ‘resurrection’ plans of the Opposition in making a bid to grab power in the state.
Serving to successfully manoeuvre the public minds off the excessive obsession with its non-performance over the past one year, various diversionary tactics adopted to distract the locals from the inadequacies that plagued the government was all too obvious to be ignored.
The ‘expansion exercise’ where two new ministers were hastily inducted into the cabinet spoke of an urgency where any further delay in taking corrective measures would only worsen the situation for the ruling combine.
However, the Goans are made of a sterner stuff!
As much as a sporting event, various intrigues that go for politics in the state amuse the masses in only as far as the entertainment quotient goes.
Except for the profuse show of concern over the CM’s ill-health, a government that is presumed to be dysfunctional during his long absence from the state has not unduly perturbed Goans except for screaming headlines in the media, drawing public attention to this issue.
Posts flying across a hyper-active social media discussing this unusual state of affairs too have failed to ignite public indignation over a government that appears to go in hibernation every time the CM has had to fly abroad for his treatment.
However, things have gone a bit too far for comfort this once!
It is the resilience of the locals that has so far prevented the elected representatives from being taken to task for their insalubrious acts.
With the machinations that go for governance in the state bordering around the most ludicrous, it is a big surprise that anarchy has not set in and Goa continues to have its motley crowd of political leaders whose vain efforts at projecting themselves as that face of a non-existent government amuses the populace no more.
Amounting to the shaming of democratic values, the manner in which some of the state’s legislators have succumbed to the lure of power in recent times is extremely disgusting.
In fact, beginning with the ‘coup d’état’ effected immediately after the 2017 assembly election results, Goans were in for a series of overt scheming that saw an alliance-of-convenience assuming office in the state.
Nonetheless the brief period of brisk business enthusiastically conducted by the new ruling front proved to be nothing more than a mirage in a vast desert of uncertainties.
The alliance government in Goa had thus far given impressions of an association which is overly dependent on the support of its partners for survival with some of them not beyond extracting their pound of flesh for propping-up the coalition.
Right from the outset there was an element of mistrust against the ‘coterie’ that supported the larger dispensation in its obvious attempt to hijack the people’s mandate. However, the public outcry in the wake of the ‘deceit’ then is nothing in comparison to the numbing pain delivered now by the new turncoats.
It is becoming increasingly difficult to understand the psyche of a modern day legislator. With the argument that the welfare of a constituency depends on the elected representative being a part of the ruling front encouraging MLAs to switch loyalties, very soon Goa would be the first in the country to be an ‘Opposition mukt’ state.
It is indeed a queer situation where the enticement of a place in the cabinet is inciting elected members from the opposition to desert their party and pitch in with the ruling.
In order to amply compensate the ‘defectors’ for their treacherous act, it is the loyalists within the party who are now clearly expressing their displeasure for being sidelined.
The shocking defeat of a stalwart of the ruling party at the hands of an aspirant to the seat on an opposition ticket who subsequently drops a bombshell by quitting the house to contest the by-polls again as a nominee of the ruling-party deserves the sensationalization reserved for unethical political practices indulged in by the current corps of leaders unfazed by such dirty politics.
Moreover the practice of embracing ‘deserters’ without any qualms, as is happening now, will portend a dangerous trend where political parties will cease to have any purpose, only serving to be platforms for candidates to win elections.
But having said that; the opposition - if it could be called that - too has been very conspicuous by its reticence shown for exploiting the opportunities presented exposing the reservations within the organization which never allowed it to capitalize on the follies of the ruling alliance.
Keeping the flock together has not been an easy task for the opposition in Goa this time around, and the results have been very evident. However, if it does not wake up to the dangers of the steady exodus of its legislators to the ‘promising land’ of the ruling front, the damages caused will be irreversible.
Simply speaking: That will be the end of the Opposition in Goa!
But, can such a scenario ever be envisioned in a representative democracy like India! With every elected member, immaterial of his/her party or independent standing, vying for a slot in the ruling dispensation, the unhealthy prospect of a government without any opposition will soon threaten the state.
The need of the hour is to have a strong and stable government that ensures the progress and development of Goa. However the type of politics being played out today in the state is an insult to the common sense and questions the very validity of the elections which allows for the selection of such representatives to the state assembly.
What an about-turn for Goan politics!(Published on 12th November 2018, Volume XXX, Issue 46)