How’s the josh?
Fellow-Goans will readily agree that it will never be the same again. For a man who virtually conceptualized the notion of Goem Goemkar Goemkarponn to live and lead by example, the loss of the titan from tiny little Goa is irreparable.
The visionary full of ‘josh’ will tread the state’s political scenario as a Colossus no more. A man who loved to take battles to the enemy camp has finally succumbed, losing his life after a year-long struggle with the horrors of cancer.
After the marathon innings the MGP had at governing the state, the ‘Aaya Ram Gaya Ram’ culture which pervaded the politics in Goa post-statehood saw a number of governments being formed - and making an exit in equally fast time.
The most incompatible of alliances that couldn’t stand the test of time throwing Goa into a state of political turmoil every now and then was a legacy of the politics of the 80s and 90s. But after the demise of Parrikar, it does appear that such uncertainties have come to haunt Goa once again.
That the search for an ‘acceptable’ candidate from within the BJP ranks for the coalition allies to endorse finally bore fruit after marathon negotiations and multiple meetings of the ruling coalition legislators with central BJP emissaries speaks for the insensitivity of the whole exercise which threatened to take away the solemnity of the occasion.
At a time when a pall of gloom had descended over the whole state, the death of the great leader was being exploited by the motely crowd of ‘allies’ to strike a hard-bargain with the BJP leaders.
As his body still lay in state with thousands congregating at the venue to pay their last respects, the hectic parleys and striking of bargains between those intent on capitalizing on the ‘moment’ all but made Goans revolt at the very thought of the type of legislators representing them.
Although Parrikar’s imposing hold over the politics of the state for nearly quarter of a century has been made more than evident by the sense of disorientation Goa has experienced during his temporary periods of absence from the state, it must be said that the needlessness felt by the people’s leader to groom a successor who could be depended upon to carry forward his legacy has clearly been his undoing.
Moreover, the absence of a second rung of leadership has severely hampered the continuance of the saffron-rule in the state with the necessity to go out to coalition partners to sustain it every time there is an eventuality throwing a big question over the credibility of the party sans Parrikar.
Turncoats can never be depended upon to lend a feel of stability to any party. Switching their loyalties at the drop of a hat, self-interests more than anything else motivate them. What is to stop them from searching for greener pastures if the ‘opportunity’ presents itself again!
Moreover, how well can the BJP in Goa manage the affairs within the government it heads with ‘imports’ from the Congress gradually outnumbering the party legislators!
In spite of the contention that smaller trees can never grow in the shade of the bigger ones, a smaller and a younger tree will be more resilient and more vigorous. But yes, it takes time for a young tree to grow large enough to create a cool pool of summer shade.
Arguably, leaders like Parrikar are hard to replace. But in today’s politics, ‘alternatives’ play a very decisive role in stabilizing parties, and in turn the governments they are part of. The BJP in Goa is paying the price for this oversight.
It is however crystal clear that the present arrangement that goes for government in the state is nothing but a by-product of the political compulsions that finally had the BJP-leadership succumbing to political pressures from its allies to see the agreement-in-place from their perspective.
Nevertheless, nothing could have been more preposterous than the idea of having two deputy CMs in the present set-up. With the arrangement suggestive of the coalition-partners’ lack of confidence in the new CM, we now have a queer situation where the expression ‘looking over the shoulder’ will acquire a whole new meaning in the present context for the incumbent.
More pertinently, the question that stares every Goan in the face is the matter of the ‘longevity’ of the new dispensation. Will such an arrangement where the interests of the allies get precedence over sensible governance bode well for Goa orphaned by the demise of an iconic leader who purportedly carried the aspirations of the whole state with him!
Meanwhile the BJP-led Pramod Sawant government comfortably cleared the crucial floor test.
An ‘association’ that has come together to serve individual members’ interests rather than the state of Goa in general, some of the incongruities are too glaring not to have created enough consternation all around.
The matter of two deputy chief ministers in the new government for instance!
When it is more than evident that the support from the MGP and the Goa Forward Party was a crucial factor in the government formation, did it really call for the matter to be made so obvious so as to have both the party chiefs named deputies in the new order!
Acknowledging the ‘debt’ so brazenly, the BJP leaders have only given an indication of their future election strategies where the saffron brigade will not hesitate to stake claims to form governments in other states using similar tactics, even when in minority.
A bad precedent has definitely been set and Goa has shown the way!
Moreover, the manner in which the President of the MGP has reneged on his promise to the BJP central leadership of withdrawing from the Shiroda electoral fray is suggestive of dissent within the oldest regional party of the state which could threaten the alliance in days to come.
However, the very fact that two of its legislators were allegedly believed to have been ready to be bought off for berths in the new cabinet makes matters all the more interesting.
Definite reports that if denied the ticket to contest the Mapusa bye-election, both Joshua D’Souza and Sudhir Kandolkar would rebel against the BJP have not been less worrying for the party either.
The ‘vociferous’ legislator from Calangute, on the other hand refuses to assume a ‘silent’ role in the Sawant-led government!
Meanwhile the Congress, which has so far been giving a cosmetic appearance of Opposition in the state, could yet tilt the power-scales in its favour in the event of the bypolls springing a surprise on the ‘turncoats’ who resigned their seats in Shiroda and Mandrem.
Without a doubt, the whimsical politics of Goa that has given the state some queer alliances will one day ruin it.
But having said that, it would not be appropriate to remain silent over the manner in which leaders in the state have been taking the public for granted.
With the farcical dramas enacted during the last days of Parrikar becoming demeaning by the day, absurd machinations characterizing the political scenario in the state with every round of ‘concern’ exhibited purported to question the very intelligence of the masses.
As it is, the popular people’s mandate of 2017 stands violated in ‘letter and spirit’.
However, going by the current trend where a series of by polls within two years of the highly-hyped existence of the BJP-led government have re-defined the politics of defection in the state, the dissolution of the state assembly and the holding of a fresh round of elections for all the 40-seats would appear to be a far logical proposition.
Admittedly, such a move would impose a huge expenditure on the exchequer, besides being a heavy burden on human resources; but at least the state can be spared the political uncertainties arising out of the frequent party-hopping indulged in by leaders who place their self-interests above all other considerations. Goans definitely deserve a better deal!
(Published on 25th March 2019, Volume XXXI, Issue 13)