Goa Elections: Making Impossible Possible

By Prabhakar Timble
12 March 2012 22:59 IST

With the electorate giving an absolute mandate to the BJP, all eyeballs are on Manohar Parrikar due to the expectations fanned by his consistent commitments to development, zero tolerance to corruption by public men, corruption-free public offices, scrapping of the Regional Plan 2021, reversal of decision of grants-in-aid to English medium at primary level of education and complete halt to what is commonly described as “illegal” mining. Even as the leader of the Opposition, he was held in high esteem and perceived as the one-man army against the greedy Goliaths. The earlier role was to undo and hence easy. Now, it is to perform and construct, hence the odds are heavy.

The Opposition to the ruling coalition is reduced to single digit. Further, the individuals who will occupy these benches are fragile and out of touch with the art and science of the agenda to be handled under the changed roles. Under such circumstances, there is high probability that the angry driver of the coalition government joined by many hungry faces would break traffic signals with gay abandon. In the very first press briefing, the Chief Minister told reporters that he had directed that all state-run corporations should be free of “parasites”. The dictionary gives me fleas, lice, bedbugs, pests and bloodsuckers as synonyms of parasites. For newlyweds, honeymoon period is one of excitement, nervousness and non-achievable vows. Hence, use of such phraseology could be ignored but not later.

Change as a value

Change is a precious value in democracy. Goa elections 2012 have upheld this in all its forms. Firstly, we saw an unparalleled record in the percentage of voting. The youth, professionals, business group and the white-collared, whom I prefer to classify as generally the “beneficiaries” of corruption largely stay away from soiling their finger with the indelible ink. They participated along with the underprivileged and the middle class whom we describe as “vote banks” but who in reality are the “victims” of corruption. Secondly, the elections brought a change in the ruling party, a new leadership and clear mandate. Thirdly, we have now fifty per cent new and young faces in the Goa Assembly. Fourthly, though the fever of “family raj” is present, the perceived threat of “family raj” stands buried.  Fifthly, a qualitative change is seen in the voters in their attempt to dethrone the theory of “vote banks”

This spectacle would not have been possible unless the Catholic community led by the Church and their social action groups had not taken up the cudgels in favour of the BJP sponsored and supported candidates. For this community, it was “Mission Goa”----protecting identity, culture and land resource.  The traditional Congress voter decided to give the electronic voting shock to their age old friend i.e. the Congress to treat the “winnability” disease contracted by this delinquent adult. Many consider this as a deliberate alignment with the known “stranger” to rescue and reform the friend. Of course, the credit has to go to Mr. Manohar Parrikar and the BJP think-tank for the confidence creation measures amongst the minority community including fielding and supporting of new faces. It was natural for the Bharatiya Bhasha Suraksha Manch (BBSM) to remain locked in the safe vault since basically it was an initiative of BJP activists wherein the Konkani lovers were relegated to salt and pepper for the soup prepared by erstwhile Marathi protagonists. The BJP made the optimum political use of the torch bearers of our “mai bhas” and identity. At the same time, the Congress did everything to write in advance its own obituary.

Secularism will haunt

At this stage, let me caution that secularism neither ceases to be a social and political issue nor it is overshadowed by other subjects such as development and crusade against corruption. This is an examination time for the BJP. The minority community tilt cannot be construed as a divorce from the Congress. It is a testing time and the BJP including its frontal organisations and the other hidden “ants” would be kept under watch. The BBSM cried hoarse to engineer a communal divide beating the drums of patriotism and nationalism. The Church refused to provide fuel and did not allow the medium of instruction issue to come in the way of politics and governance despite knowing fully well the contrary stand of the BJP. I consider this as maturity and sagacity of their “Mission Goa”. Herein lies the lessons for the Congress and also the BJP. Good governance means secular, participative and democratic governance.

The election result which has decimated the Congress “winnables” is not a rejection of the Congress ideology. It is a slap to those whom Congress projected as leaders and supposedly representatives of the people including those who descended to Goa as emissaries of the Congress High Command. The party should now go for new brooms and clean up at all levels. The clean-up exercise should not mean the re-entry of the same old, pale, yellow and dusty faces which were in hibernation during the current elections or who played the spoil sport behind the curtains. The focus has to be to rejuvenate the party and the frontal organisations at all levels with young blood. The legislature wing has to function as an alert and responsible opposition and fill the vacuum created due to the elevation of Mr. Parrikar and his group on the Treasury benches. Goa needs this than ever before considering the thunderous popularity wave of the present sharp and able incumbent in the chair of the Chief Minister. Undoubtedly, the personal charisma of Mr. Parrikar provides a positive multiplier effect to the BJP government.

Elusive shadow

The Goan electorate heaved a sigh of relief after the result. As far as money power was concerned, both the major political parties were equally placed. None grudged or was stingy at election spending. ECI as usual could keep the visible expenditure under tight control. It was a month of paradise for invisible spending in all constituencies. The era of zero-tolerance to corruption commences under this backdrop.

“The new permissive, sexy BJP in mini-skirts is much more appealing than the old prudish, staid BJP in short pants!" This is one of the thousand SMS that was traded which communicates the story of results. The near slaughter of the ruling Congress party testifies that voters across communities went for the kill. The near future will show whether the Goan traditional immunity stays intact and indeed whether it was SAFE SEX!

A deliberate watch is a must to guard against the virus of domineering and dogmatic tendencies on the ground as the kites of development, anti-graft, lokayukta and good governance float in the skies.

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

I am reading this today on 15th April, long after the results and government already in place. Mr. Prabhakar Timble, you have correctly analyzed the political situation in Goa and have written about the pitfalls this popular elected government have to be wary of.

- Deepak Chari, Goa | 14 th April 2012 07:37


Nice disection of elections results.very good anology of events and facts. Yes, it will be test for everybody but with manohar parrikar firmly in the saddle we hope goa will march towards glory.

- Deepak Datar, Goa | 14 th March 2012 10:51


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