Whoever loses, Goa should WIN

By Prabhakar Timble
09 April 2014 06:25 IST

Out of the twelve times that Goa swung into the parliamentary elections, a single political party won both the seats only five times. It was the MGP in 1963, the BJP in 1999 and the Congress in 1984, 1991 and 1998. For the remaining seven times, the match ended in a draw. As the polling date comes closer, the probability of a single party scoring both the goals is high and soars up each day. A tie looks less and less uncertain.

The silent voter

2012 was an invitation from people across party lines to Manohar Parrikar to take the chair of the Chief Minister. 2014, there is a ground swell against Parrikar and the BJP. But, it is not easy to confirm on the actual voting because the opposition is not organized to motivate the voters to march to the polling booth. A leakage in the conversion of anti-incumbency into votes against the ruling party is almost a confirmed possibility. The initial euphoria to work for the party candidates has come down. The Congress MLAs and the other Congress politicians nursing ambitions are not actively canvassing and mobilizing their voters. By this, Congress leaders are eroding their voter base.

The Congress is depending on the silent voter to do the miracle and later serenade on the counting day if their candidate wins. It is true that the BJP votes can be counted before they are polled. The Congress votes can only be estimated. Business acumen teaches that mere silent voting cannot take the candidate to First Past the Post (FPTP). It can only give a decent total. Such voting would make the Congress eligible for the critics’ award that their candidates ran well and bagged a consolation prize. If the claims of the silent voting are to be believed, the logic should apply to both the seats, not just the minority dominated Salcete which forms the bulk of South Goa.

Goa needs a break from 2012 but the Congress has abdicated its responsibility to give such a rupture. Whatever may be the reasons holding the Congress leaders within the confines of their homes, it is a democratic crime not to make any attempt to rise up to support the aspirations of the people. People should not be left to fend for themselves. Under such circumstances, there is no reason why the Congress deserves to win unless the people have decided to be the cheer leaders for the second best party.

‘SMART’ management

 BJP has made this ‘yatra’, an election to install Narendra Modi as Prime Minister. The humble beginning was the entry of Narendra Modi as the superstar campaign chief with Modi professing to be a loyal soldier of the party. It was a vote for BJP to start with.  Later, it got positioned as a Congress Hatao and Congress Mukth Bharat drive. Further, it fossilized into the India First battle making BJP as synonymous with Bharat. The closing round is aggressive frenzy demanding Vote for Modi, thus making Narendra Modi as tantamount to India. Modi’s  appeal on the FM radio as in other media channels is loud enough--Mujhe vote doh, aap ka vote seedhe mujhe milega. There is no mention of BJP. As a communications strategy, full marks to the BJP for making the parliamentary form of government into a Presidential type. 

In the Goa campaign too, the party matters less. The candidates Narendra Savoikar and Shripad Naik do not matter. The appeal is to vote for Narendra Modi.  There is definitely a Modi wave in the majority community and amongst the youth of this community.  This will dilute the anti-incumbency factor against the local government. At the same time, the magic of Manohar Parrikar is on the decline. The vacuum awaits takers. This void is presently hidden by the shadow of Narendra Modi and the election fireworks of the BJP party organization.

To borrow the management jargon, the BJP election management is SMART--- Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Result-oriented and Time-bound. Whether it is making or breaking alliances; giving assurances or taking U-turns; raising monies; making course corrections during campaign; taking opposition head-on and using all forms of available communication to the fullest extent, they have left no stone unturned. The independent MLAs supporting the government are working to maintain their voters and also to spin them to the BJP. Manohar Parrikar would subject them for a booth-wise performance. The BJP is so organized as even to provide not just finance but also logistics to the Congress defectors. The rigor with which Churchill Alemao attacks Manohar Parrikar is stronger and more effective than the Congress. This would not have been possible unless the attack on the Chief Minister has the approval of Manohar Parrikar and is scripted by the BJP.

Winner takes both seats

Finally, the best team should win and the two seats should not go to the undeserving. Having said that the Congress is unorganized and disorganized in election management, Goa and Goans definitely deserve something better. It is in the interest of the people that the arrogance of the local government and its organized brigade needs to be softened. Irrespective of the overall parliamentary results, a signal has to go that Goa and Goans do not approve a figure like Narendra Modi whose apparent tenor is one of breathing, consuming and vomiting fire. More importantly, this is also a signal for the Congress to clean its house and elevate new and younger faces in the party organization and the legislature wing.

Both the major political parties have mis-handled the social and community relations in the state. No election comes for free. Every election takes a toll and the 2014 would impose a crushing social cost. BJP has worked with razor sharpness to win. The Congress has shown reluctance and indifference to bat and field despite a conducive pitch in Goa, if not elsewhere. If the logic is the Modi wave and this mosquito has stung Goa, it should apply to both the parliamentary seats. If it is Congress failure to convert the ground swell into votes, then again the picture in North and South does not differ. If the silent vote is going to determine the results, this common sense prevails in both the constituencies. Hence, whichever way it is, a draw is impossible this time. 

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

Congress has only two Commanders and soldiers. Prabhakar Timblo and John Fernandes. Both should sit together and thrash out future course of action to save Goa, India and universe from the danger posed by Modi and Parrikar. Just expressing fear is not enough. Fear is contagious. It spreads everywhere. So Prabhakar and John join and save this planet and universe from Modi and Parrikar. Congressmen face starvation save them.

- Madhav Bastodker, Ponda | 11 th April 2014 04:54


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