Narendra Modi & Special Status for Goa

By Prabhakar Timble
18 January 2014 21:03 IST

What is commonplace in other states of India also happened in Goa. Mass gathering as a part of election drum beats is a routine spectacle in ‘mera Bharat mahan’. For the liberal, non-bothering Goan culture it is an extraordinary event.  The show of numerical strength by the BJP at the rally to market Narendra Modi as Prime Ministerial candidate was indeed commendable. Goa has never seen such an organized mobilization in its post-liberation history. Hats off to Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar and the BJP organizing secretary Satish Dhond along with the non-questioning ‘karyakartas’ of RSS led BJP for such an impressive crowd pushed by the 85000 beneficiaries of Griha Aadhar and the targeted 60000 likely of Dayanand Social Security assistance on one side and further numbers pulled by the hype around Narendra Modi. The attendance at election rallies does not necessarily metamorphose into votes but definitely creates a positive image. The BJP can face the elections with a solid optimistic note more so because the Goa brand can be show-cased in other pockets where BJP is perceived as a threat by minorities. No doubt, this ‘vijay sankalp’ in Goa has lubricated the wheels of victory for the BJP with a rider that Narendra Modi should not graduate to become a liability for any BJP led post-poll coalition to reach the magic figure of 272. At the present, it appears unlikely for the pre-poll NDA to reach anywhere near the finishing line.

There is also an angle of concern associated with such drafting of crowds if the fall out generates frenzy and passion. Rally is a double-edged sword. Coming together for worthy public causes is strength. Large assemblies to relish hate and offensive speech multiplies intolerance, axes inclusiveness and liberal lifestyle. Goa needs to be on guard to ensure that such seeds do not sprout on its soil. Cut-throat competition between political parties for exhibition of numbers and arrogant wordplay will damage the culture of Goa which Narendra Modi has championed to protect.

 

 Lies and Rhetoric

The clarion call of Narendra Modi to liberate the nation from Congress (Congress mukhta bharat) is more of an election jargon. Modi gives a dressing down to the Congress party for corruption at all levels. BJP has made Congress corruption a household name and rightly so. However, this does not mean that the BJP is a saint. Sinners are present in plenty in this party. The shining example is the home-coming Mr. B. S. Yeddyurappa, former BJP Chief Minister of Karnataka who was forced to vacate the post due to stinking corruption. The assurance on transparent mining with preservation of environment appears to be a play on words as the BJP legislators in Goa fully match with Congress legislators on this pitch. Narendra Modi avoided reiterating his resolve on the exclusive use of natural resources for internal consumption rather than exports.

Special status for Goa under the Indian Constitution or for that matter any state of the Indian Union does not depend on the person in the chair of the Prime Minister.  If the local government desires, there are enough weapons in the armory to protect identity, language and culture. There seems to be no special conditions in respect of Goa to be constitutionally eligible for a special status under Article 371 of the Constitution. The issue of Portuguese nationality and citizenship that has sprung up in Goa cannot be answered unless the Indian parliament approves dual citizenship. There cannot be special treatment for Goans as it would be an impermissible and invalid classification. Any assurance on these two issues is only an attempt to con with eye on votes.

Narendra Modi did not speak anything different in Goa than his offensive rhetoric at such rallies in other parts of the country. The well-wishers of Narendra Modi pinpoint of the golden metal but never elucidate on the vision or enunciate on the policies.  At the same time, one cannot expect such issues to be expounded in election speeches. The language and content for rallies is meant for the gallery to cast a magic charm of make-believe on the electorate. On this count, the BJP has succeeded.

The Home Minister, Mr. Sushilkumar Shinde has been attacked for no reason. The instruction from the Home Minister to the States only advises that care and caution needs to be taken whilst arresting youth from Muslim and minority communities. This was because of the general trend to clamp down on Indian Muslim youth under TADA. This is evident from facts and records. The Home Minister never meant that criminals from minority community should not be arrested. However, Narendra Modi added salt and spice to have an unceremonious dig at the Congress and at the same time to convey to the Hindutva brigade that BJP is for justice as opposed to appeasement. It looks that the mega statute of Sardar Vallabhai Patel marketed as statute of Unity is initiated primarily to have a dig at Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru. The BJP used the opportunity of the rally in Goa to inject the poison that Nehru was responsible for the delayed liberation of Goa. It is no secret that this thought originates from the RSS think-tank as the Chief Minister of Goa sang the same song a month back. It looks that the focused agenda of the BJP is to ensure that those who vote for the Congress should stay under the guilt of being supporters of corruption and or of committing treachery against the nation. It’s a fiery campaign to cash on national sentiments and emotions as opposed to programmes and policies.

Liability and asset

Election speeches are for mass appeal and cannot be expected to roll specifics. However, anybody aspiring to be the Prime Minister should have the healing touches rather than a tiger’s roar which hurts. Organizationally, BJP is best equipped for 2014. The present sick and fallen state of the Congress silently contributes to the growth prospects of the BJP. Narendra Modi brings life, luster and spice to the election campaign but at the same time falls short to don the chair of the Prime Minister.

Amongst the large numbers that joined the Vijay Sankalp Rally, there were also suggestive sounds. “Muhan nahi dikhaya toh kaam nahi hoga. BJP ka lafda nahi mangta hamko”. There is a lesson here for all the political parties including the BJP. The more I listen to Modi’s verbal abuse and the repeat performances, I am reminded of the story “The Fake King” from the Panchatantra tales.

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Prabhakar Timble

Mr Prabhakar Timble is an educationist and a legal expert. He has served several educational institutions, especially as the Principal of Government College at Quepem, Kare College of Law in Madgao as well as couple of Management Institutes. He was also the State Election Commissioner of Goa.

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