Life as a politician is never easy, especially for someone with immense intelligence, combining street smartness with academic intellect and political chutzpah. Over the course of time his words and speeches, his arguments and analysis have an edge which is so sharp that it either gladdens hearts or creates enemies and haters. And over the same course of time, this breed of politicians, raise hope of change and an aspiration of salvation from status quo. Vijai Sardesai, from 2012 had emerged as that kind of politician - creating hope and aspiration.
Therefore, when he makes a considered - and not a knee jerk - choice, to take giant faith-defying leap changing his uniform of battle in mid-air, and yet claiming that the DNA of his politics - Goenkarpon - is intact, he should also understand that his people and the people of Goa, expect explanations and that they may not forget this in a hurry.
Expectations, of sticking to a political course which he publicly chartered a year ago would not have been raised if he was not a people’s politician, because his party has indeed delivered a stunning electoral performance. He has defied all odds by getting the people of Fatorda to vote for him yet again and some credit to this has to go to his unique concept of Fatorda Dialogues, which was a strongest evidence of participative politics. Doesn’t he therefore agree, that in the same spirit, since as he says, his Goemkarpon has not left him, he should immediately, introspect whether his action of backing the BJP government is in tune with every word that he has said in his Fatorda dialogues.
He owes no explanation to anyone but himself and his people, because he won purely on their strength with no help from anyone. But he should indeed remember, that strength came from the peoples belief that he would be a change agent and a catalyst of people’s politics, and not join the forces, whom he stated, Goa needs a change from.
Evidence on the ground doesn’t suggest this explanation has been given and accepted. Goa Forward’s sympathisers, people like Dr Francisco Colaco, Datta Naik, Shridhar Kamat and Cleofato Coutinho have suffered deep anguish, hurt and anger. Can Sardesai disagree or take offence at these feelings? Doesn’t he need to assuage them, because they are not politicians but the truest goemkars and torch bearers of Goemkarpon.
One of his close friends and party members has ridiculed the wave of social media outrage against Vijai Sardesai by terming those posting on Facebook, etc, as “social media fanatics”. Does Dr Colaco too deserve to be included in the list of “social media fanatics”, due to his admittedly vitriolic posts, against Sardesai, out of a sense of rightful hurt? He is after all,a fatherly figure who loved Vijai like his close family member.
In a political world which is increasingly getting bereft of ethics, some of the guiding principles of democracy should not be waived off. And the biggest gift of democracy is that people get to chose their leaders and in turn their governments, based on principles, programmes and performances that the candidates offer and the performance they have delivered. But above all they also vote for what their candidate stands for. Goa Forward candidates have caused BJP to suffer two of the most hard hitting defeats, felling Dayanand Mandrekar and Dilip Parulekar. Meanwhile, the defeat of Damu Naik in Fatorda has left the former Fatorda MLA worry seriously about his political future.
People are asking, would the votes to his party, have still been cast if they had known that he would be supporting a BJP government and becoming a minister there?
In the end all that we have said here can be dismissed by Sardesai, by this one line “The time for optics is over. Now is the time for politics”. And GF can say that politics of this nature can deliver Goemkarpon. And Vijai’s inherent intelligence and ability to do research, plan and execute is likely to make him a performing minister. That time will tell. And perhaps none of this will seem to matter.
But couldn’t Vijai, before taking that life changing decision for him and his voters, gone back to his people, his entire party and his closest supporters and shared what he was planning to do and listened to them.
Finally, and this is applicable to all politicians and parties, a politician with a conscience should ask now and from time to time, if the foundation on which political success will be built was created on the bricks of fairness and honesty and crafted by the true masons of democracy - your voters.