Today is the date when the election notification will come into force and the nomination process for candidates will begin. But far from being battle ready for the people of Goa, a section of the Congress, led by Digambar Kamat and supported by Pratapsingh Rane, is battling against the interests of their own party and doing a private battle to enter into alliances at the cost of sacrificing Congress seats.
Throwing almost every norm or process in the book, Rane and Kamat both former Chief Ministers, tried to hijack the candidate selection process and go against the decision of the blocks and the state election committees to shortlist candidates for each of the 40 constituencies, by not just pushing for an alliance but for giving as many as ten to 15 seats to a combination of Goa Forward, NCO and Babush Monserrate.
What was witnessed in the AICC was a battle between party interest and narrow personal interest. Messers Rane and Kamat clearly represented the latter. It is absolutely no secret that the immediate former Congress Chief Minister is being fronted by the powerful mining lobby and an industrialist Godfather, to be the main player, in a post poll situation where the Congress needs many players to cobble up a majority. Luizinho Faleiro’s plan of contesting the elections without an alliance and building up the party goes against the plan of this lobby. This is because political business and loot can only take place in a fragmented multi party situation.
When Goans voted in 2012, it was not a vote in favour of the BJP. It was a conscience vote against the Congress. In these five years what has the Congress done to make people believe in them and shift the conscience vote back to them?
A strong party, an honest approach to politics and the refusal to cut deals, can still get back the Congress votes. But if the Congress or the people in Congress who are doing deals do not want the party to be rebuilt, then the people of Goa, will simply say “WE HAVE HAD ENOUGH, WE WILL GO ELSEWHERE”
For the first time in years, sentiments were moving back to the Congress and sympathies too. Groups and institutions which had moved away from the Congress were seen coming back to them. This groundswell of goodwill happened only and only because the Congress was willing to make amends. And this is why many of those who would have shied away from the Congress ticket came up to join the good fight.
In the middle of this came the disturbing manipulative forces, which launched a conspiracy to hijack this process and take over the candidate finalisation by ceding ground to alliance partners at the cost of sentiment of workers and probable candidates. It almost seemed as if a desperately sinking Congress is hunting for alliance partners by standing in the middle of the poll bazaar when ironically, that is not the sentiment of its workers.
If the Congress high command muddies the waters by opening the doors of unholy alliances with parties whose aim is to get power, it will be forced to break its alliance with the conscience vote of Goa to be cast by voters who want honest clean governance. Mind you, this is not about winning or coming to power. The conscience vote this time is ready to go to an honest party which feels for Goa rather than a deal making party and if the ugliness witnessed at the AICC in Delhi (see our detailed report alongside) is going to be the norm than the exception, then ordinary Goans, fed up with this band of politics, will move to a cleaner, simpler alternative.
If the Congress cannot see this, we are sorry. Goa will move on.