Goa Elections: The Show Begins

By Prabhakar Timble
17 January 2012 09:28 IST

“Happy days are here again” was the punch line of the then popular ‘Thumbs Up’ cola. “Beach, sun and lotsa funs!” is the new catchphrase of the media blitz to promote Goa as 365 days holiday destination. The announcement of general elections has added amusements and entertainments landing the State into ‘Party days all over again’. (Pun on party intended) The two-month season of festivity, bash and revelry has commenced in rural and urban Goa.

Only leaders everywhere

Goa is a fertile land of leaders without followers and political parties without members. The crown of diamonds goes to the three times Chief Minister of Goa, with the longest tenure not exceeding eleven months, Dr. Wilfred D’Souza for not only commencing the wing of Trinamool Congress but also the audacity to look at it as the ‘third’ alternative. Mr. Mickey Pacheco and his wife Viola with home nursing provided by Mr. Lyndon Monteiro deliver the Goa Vikas Party and even before it begins to crawl; it gallops to the forty constituencies of the State. Even a pre-mature born child, Ram Vilas Paswan’s Lok Janshakti roars to go alone. Zagrut Goenkarancho Ekvott crashes in the election arena. The conventional non-entities such as the Shiv Sena, CPI, CPM and the Save Goa Front take their positions at silly point on the election field. As usual, Mr. Anacleto Viegas and Mr. Radharao Gracias, the duo which is known as the United Goans Democratic Party take a mix of complementary and contradictory positions creating news for the front page of local newspapers. Just before the commencement of monsoons, we observe beeline of ants coming out of their hiding to make provisions for the season.  Probably, this is the time for the unseen political ants to accumulate hay or recognition. When it rains elections, it is advisable to make provision for the summer and winter.

Vacuum but no takers

The local outfit, MGP which once provided a semblance of good and responsive governance to the people is today a party without a base. It exists because of the oxygen supplied by the two Dhavlikar brothers and primarily to serve their political interests. The party will never align or form pre-poll coalition so as to enable the two brothers to join the ruling party or any such combination in a post-election alliance.  MGP cannot have an alliance with the Congress since it has to maintain its image that it’s different. It cannot align with the BJP since it has to implicitly serve the electoral interests of the Congress. Only a fool will recognise the existence of NCP in Goa. However, it is in the interests of the Congress to keep the NCP alive since it can absorb dissatisfied souls. An innovative entrepreneur will also manufacture and unload duplicate products in the market in a different name so that the demand for cheap duplicates is not serviced by the rivals. In practical terms, NCP is different clothing but not a rival or opposition.

The Congress is definitely floating on an incumbent disadvantage wave. Unregulated mining and widespread corruption is attributed to the Congress, though it is equally the property of the BJP. Mixed reactions to the Regional Plan 2021, the growth of migrants, the hold of non-locals on the coastal lands and threats to identity are the major irritants for the ruling party. The visible personal enrichment and greed of almost all the Congress MLAs and ministers and their confidence that they are all winnable with or without party support can prove to be the prime reason for their fall. Barring a few exceptions, they are a disgraced lot. The Congress has still the opportunity to improve its image whilst selection of candidates for the current polls. Knowing the party and their emissaries, they probably will not make the best of the occasion. However, the BJP looks to be totally unprepared and unarmed to take the benefit of the slump in the image of the Congress in Goa. To start with, this main opposition party does not have the required quantum of candidates to give a worthy fight to win. This has made the greedy Congressmen arrogant and the Congress over-confident.

Only Konkani Suraksha

The policy of government grants irrespective of medium of instruction at primary level though in a limbo has introduced a new element in election politics i.e. the Bharatiya Bhasha Suraksha Manch. All along the Konkani community was united in its struggle against the hegemony of Marathi. The banner of “bharatiya” is an intelligent ploy of the Marathi fanatics (not lovers) to divide those who hold that Konkani is the sole “mull-peetth”, the original place of belonging of Goa and Goans. Mr. Uday Bhembre, Mr. Pundalik Naik, Mr. Arvind Bhatikar are men of very high stature with unquestionable commitment to Konkani, Goan identity and our culture of tolerance. They have joined hands with interests who have always ridiculed Konkani, hunted ‘niz goemkars’ as agents of Portuguese and held the torch-bearers of Konkani and secularism as anti-nationals. After liberation, these same elements established government primary schools exclusively in Marathi medium throughout the nook and corner of Goa, eulogised it as the “devbhasha” (language of Gods), sponsored and supported theatre and cultural events only in Marathi. Though I hold no brief and sympathy for the Congress, but it is this party which needs to be given credit for the recognition and status that Konkani has achieved. Undoubtedly, it was the struggle of the Goan people but the odds would have been heavier if the political power was in the hands of the MGP or BJP.

I am reminded of Shashikant Punaji from Pedne.  As a student, he was all alone to declare on public platforms that Konkani was the language and culture of Goa. It needed the courage of conviction to proclaim this loudly on the streets in Pedne. Today, the scene is different. Marathi language and literature is respected in Goa but it cannot claim to be the language of our heart, soil and culture. True Goans who comprise the Team BBSM should be on the guard.  What objectives will Konkani serve if the Goan society is divided? What is the utility of Konkani language if we lose our ‘goaness”? There is absolutely no issue with the Konkani Bhasha Rakshaks. The others who masquerade as the “Bharatiya Bhasha Suraksha Rakshaks” have a different agenda. I find little difference between these elements and those associated with the Hindu Dev-Devta-Devasthan Suraksha Samiti. Like the bow of Arjuna, their eyes and tongue is focussed to pierce and throw in tatters the language, religious and cultural harmony of our land. Let us understand that Konkani is a major binding force of the Goan community and not any other language. The present status of Team Anna may provide valuable inputs to Team BBSM, if at all it is bent upon taking sides in election politics.

Interestingly, Goa is going to the polls during the Golden Jubilee year of Liberation. My worry is not on which political party will finally win or lose. The thought that a combination of Salcete, Taleigao and Valpoi strongmen may finally call the shots in cabinet formation irrespective of political party dreads and deafens. 

Disclaimer: Views expressed above are the author's own.

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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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Previous Comments

Great Article.

Goans have to vote in the overall larger interest of Goa rather than looking only at their candidates and own constituency.

While dynastic politics is here to stay, care should be taken by Goan voters not to leave Goa's destiny in the hands of only 4 or 5 families.

- Bhasker Assoldekar, Mumbai | 21 st January 2012 11:46


Abdul, If your a catholic , it does not mean you are secular. that is not my logic at all.

- terence dsouza, goa | 18 th January 2012 22:57


i like terence d`sousa`s logic....if one is a catholic..he is secular...but if one is a non-catholic ,he is a communal..vey very sipmple and elementary...keep it up...

- abdul shaikh, valpoi,goa | 18 th January 2012 20:16


I cannot understand the objective of your article. At least Dr willy is providing a thrid alternative in the form of the trinamool congress as an option to the corrupt congress and Communal BJP.

He is a very good administrator and i feel that everybody who thinks in the positive interest of Goa shoudl rally behind him.

Good job Dotor. Keep up the good work that you have been doing for goans over the years.

- terence dsouza, GOA | 17 th January 2012 20:10


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