Goa's 'tourist' polticians

sandesh prabhudesai, panaji | 13 March 2002 14:19 IST

With election fever gripping Goa once again in just 32 months, the main issue before the voter is how many 'loyal politicians' will be ultimately left in the race, no matter which party ticket they contest upon.

The tourist state has otherwise witnessed a game of 'tourist politicians', who roam from one party to another like a tourist in Goa roams from one beach to another, while people also greet them without any malice.

The tiny state of 40 Assembly seats is going for Assembly polls once again, with the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party going for dissolution, claiming to have been going to seek fresh mandate.

Govind Parvatkar, one of the state BJP general secretary, has however already admitted that they went for dissolution under Art 174 (2) b of the constitution, fearing another split within the ruling BJP, which would have been thrown into minority within 16 months.

This is the third government in last 32 months. The first Congress government could rule only for seven months in spite of electing them to power in June 1999 polls. Eleven Congressmen revolted against then chief minister Luizinho Faleiro, who had also engineered three defections of five legislators to strengthen his position earlier.

The coalition of the splinter Congress group and the 10-member BJP, headed by rebel leader Francisco Sardinha, could however rule for only 11 months. The saffron party withdrew its support to Sardinha and formed its own full-fledged government by joining hands with another group of rebel Congressmen, who ultimately joined the BJP.

At the time of dissolution, the Congress strength was reduced from 26 to 14 while the BJP rose to 21 from the ten members elected by the Goan electorate, thanks to series of defections and splits the tiny state witnessed in just 32 months.

The state has witnessed 13 splits since June 1999, involving 34 legislators, most of who have split at least twice. Among the 40 members, there are only 19 left who perhaps did not get an opportunity to defect, as the Assembly was also dissolved prematurely.

In fact, eight of the defectors have completed the full circle, to join back the Congress, the party they belonged to at the time of last Assembly polls. A cartoon in one local newspapers in fact termed them as the 'most loyals', since they came back to their own party after joining all sorts of parties and groups and enjoying ministries there.

Besides the BJP and the Congress, the dissolved Assembly had also representation for the Nationalist Congress Party, the Maharashtrawadi Gomantak Party and the United Goans Democratic Party. The UGDP vanished long ago with both its members joining the Congress while legislators defected also from the remaining two parties.

Though the BJP claims that none of their 'original' members defected till last, it is a fact that they went for dissolution precisely to avoid such a situation. Even otherwise, the party has already declared ticket for one of the defector minister Shaikh Hassan, when Gujarat has just calmed down and Ayodhya may perhaps repeat the history…

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