The Voter's Dilemma

By Prabhakar Timble
14 February 2012 05:25 IST

Political parties through the conduct of their high command and low command are putting party-workers and citizens in a Prisoner’s dilemma. The prisoner's dilemma is an example of a game that shows why individuals might not cooperate, even if it appears that it is in their best interest to do so. The dilemma makes cooperation difficult and defection tempting. The dilemma makes betraying always more beneficial than cooperating. As a result, all objective party-workers and voters would seemingly betray the other. We can see this in actual operation in almost all constituencies of Goa, whether it is a Congress-NCP alliance or the BJP-MGP alliance.

Today, there is a dilemma facing every thinking Goan. We are facing a situation requiring a choice between equally undesirable alternatives. The available alternatives before the voters have the same consequence. The voter is in a double muddle or bind. It is almost certain that any choice of the voter i.e. the victim will automatically be wrong. Actually, it is a difficult phase if one thinks before and after voting.

Hope and fear

The other day, Mr. Mathany Saldanha stole my thoughts when he said “Let me die in hope rather than live in fear”. He was providing an explanation to his close association with the BJP and the need to work on the next best alternative despite this party under the eclipse of a hidden agenda and known for minority bashing. The ruling Congress is under fire for the stinking corruption, lawlessness and the greed of the so called band of winnable candidates. According to the Congress party, all their sitting MLAs are winnable and any new candidate nominated in the election ring should be the close kith and kin of the extended family of these winnable only. This means that though democracy is present, the feudalistic mind-set of the leadership and the servant mind-set of the people have put halt to the flowering of democracy. As a consequence, a national party with a true constitutional agenda of economic reforms, social justice and secularism succumbs to five families in the State of Goa in the name of electoral politics. Through this action, the Congress leadership projects individuals as giants and the monumental party as a Lilliput.

It is common knowledge that BJP is a political corporate of the RSS and its final resting place is in the core ideology and philosophy of narrow nationalism and patriotism as defined by the Sangh Parivar. Wherever the party is not in power, the apparent tenor is clean, disciplined and less corruptible. Once in power, it can go the Karnataka way. The party has built up its image as worshippers of culture, but it is definitely a liability in terms of freedom of expression, social integration and inclusiveness and minority rights. The cadre looks at minorities as a lesser good, if not evil.

High Command & Invisible Hand

I have seen the Congress party making mistakes of all sorts and also taking wrong decisions. Sometimes, the wrongs are horrendous and unspeakable. Opening up the doors for few families and the windows to the same families through alliance partners is one such misdemeanour. The sudden decision of enunciating a policy for grants-in-aid to primary schools irrespective of medium of instruction was another. That the Congress party could not put up even half-a-dozen faces perceived to be upright, clean and honest by the general public speaks of the poverty of leadership. It must be said of the Congress, that the party also takes steps to rectify the wrongs though after a long lag. This is because the Congress is a party of multiple followers with equally multiple affiliations. As opposed to this, the BJP political culture is to plan what to do right and also what to do wrong. Even, their mistakes are planned and so are the “yatras” to seek pardon for wrongs. The danger of such parties is that they will not reverse wrongs or mistakes. They may retract to bounce back.  

The local leadership and the Chief Minister of the Congress mostly bears the brunt for being the rubber-stamp of the High Command at Delhi. There is also an invisible Hand working behind the leadership of the BJP and their Chief Minister and other ministers also plead helplessness before these pressures. As an instance, analyse on how systematically the BJP reduced Mr. Shripad Naik, a leader of the Bahujan Samaj to a non-entity. First, they demolished his claim for a nomination to the Porvorim constituency. Later, they offered the party ticket after creating all circumstances that the core workers are not with him. They removed his attire and did the flogging in public. They offered him the access to jump in the swimming pool after ensuring that the water in the pool was drained. And now, the leader almost ‘unwillingly’ adorns the campaign. Who can deny the Invisible Hand in BJP? We also need to introspect on how our creative and freedom loving Konkani youth are made the foot soldiers of the BJP under the garb of a specially coined “bharatiya or pradeshik bhasha manch” when what needs to be engraved in Goa is only Konkani and nothing less.

A third post-poll coalition

This time, it looks that the BJP has little better choices to offer in terms of candidates. The Congress wine is too intoxicating to be gulped completely. It is also necessary to ensure that the dose of BJP anaesthesia does not put us to comfortable sleep.  I am engulfed with fear rather than hope. The hope for Goa lies if the people make the “winnable” money bags of both the political parties and their allies to bite the dust. The hope is hidden in the third combination with fair numbers of good candidates making it to the finishing line without any pre-poll alliance getting a clear mandate to rule. It is the countervailing power and pressure of a third post-poll coalition that may serve the interests of Goa within the available candidates in the election field today.

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

sir, your article is very mature and a analytically drafted, you have nicely presented the scenario.

the election commission is making lots of efforts to check the money flow and other irregularities, but so far they are not able to crack the illegalities. if you look at the present day campaigning of many candidates you will observe that a group of 200 to 600 is moving with the candidate. in most cases these are hired workers who are paid daily allowances ranging from 500 to 1000, apart from food (mostly chicken biryani packets) and drink. the cost per day would range between 50000 to 1 lac and could be more. the money is flowing like water.

hence it is difficult to write off congress and assume BJP will gain power easily. the margin of victory in these election could be very very thin, i wont be surprised if it comes to single or double digit.

politics has become the most lucrative form of business which can make one multi multi billionaire in short span of time. and no wonder the political parties are running like a full fledged corporate houses, with sole motto of winability .

the so called dynastic politics is highlighted in these election bcz the number exceeded 2.

- y. nadkarni, margao | 19 th February 2012 22:24


Dear Sir,

Your article is quite appreciative, but we have experienced the more than 125 year old party administering and governing Bharat and Goa. What fruits did the common men get? Still we look at the Children of Nehru-Gandhi family. Switch on any news channel, we find Only Rahul-Priyanka talk. Why Bharat could become Super Power for the last 60years. Why are we talking about the same problems which we wer talking 50 years back? We should bear one thing in mind that All citizens are made to travel on the same road of Corruption, Religion Politics,Caste Politics and now Family Politics and the Leader is our 125 Year old

PARTY. And if a person like Narendra Modi speaks on

DEVELOPMENT AND GROWTH. He is maligned again and again on the same Issue-GODHRA.

Our Intelligencia is Not ready to Bury the Past and Move On To The FUTURE ON THE PATH OF MAKING

BHARAT THE SUPER POWER..It's high time for our intelligencia to Unite the people and stop discussion

on BJP-SANGH-CONGRESS Politics and also try to bring the citizens of This Country to think on the ROAD of MAKING INDIA-THE SUPER POWER

- N Karmali, Margao | 16 th February 2012 15:05


I agree that the need of the hour is to have an united third front comprising of "independents".

However if these "independents" are ex BJP or ex Congressmen and if they win and stay together(who are an aggrieved lot for having been denied tickets by their respective parties) then that could not be in the best interest of Goa.

A group of a few clean Independents in the category of "First Timers" would perhaps serve Goa well. As a group they could then have their say and put checks and balances on the Government and perhaps ensure good governance.

- Bhasker Assoldekar, Mumbai | 15 th February 2012 17:43


Prabhakar Timble Sir ji,

I really appreciate you for your correct and unbiased political analysis.CONGRATS.

Your comments are nutritious food for thought. You are really fearless in calling a spade a spade.

- Elston Baptist Fernandes, margao/curchorem | 14 th February 2012 22:54


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