Five years ago, home they brought warrior Matanhy Saldanha - dead- for one last time before his final journey, leaving Goa in a state of nothingness and restlessness. In five years, after a gigantic churning - politically socially and environmentally, he will be saying, in his trade mark style, cigarette in hand and a glint in his eyes, that Goa has taken a 360 degree O turn. Most importantly Comrade Matanhy will be asking all of us, “Is the idea of Matanhy Saldanha still alive”?
Who would have thought so much would change and yet so much would remain the same? Manohar Parrikar was sworn-in around the same time as five years ago, is arrival back in Goa, as sudden as his departure. From the Manohar Parrikar cabinet, which was sworn in along with Matanhy, there are three survivors- Parrikar himself, Francis D'Souza and the omni-present Sudhin Dhavalikar, the constant creature of opportunism, feeding on the necessity of every political party to compromise.
Alina Saldanha, against expectations, managed to win a seat, when fancied senior heavyweights fell by a wayside. Thus Goa still has a Saldanha, as an MLA but will she carry the torch of her husband’s illustrious legacy when overwhelming popular opinion suggests otherwise.
Both Alina, and Matanhy’s legacy stands at the crossroads now. The only silver lining, because we have to keep looking for them even in moments of despair - is that unlike in 2012, when the BJP came to power because the people of Goa voted out the corruption-ridden anti-Goemkarponn, the BJP depends on its survival(for now) on the Goa Forward, a party whose projected leitmotif is Goemkarponn. While many in Salcete have challenged this too, due to the Goa Forward helping the BJP form a government, the underlying message is that people are not expecting a solo pro-Goemkarponn performance by the BJP. Rather the BJP will be checked and balanced, because the Goa Forward now needs to go an even greater overdrive to establish its Goemkarponn credentials, to offset the outburst of passion against it, all not unfounded.
Can Alina really, put aside her first term where she promised to step down as minister if Goa was not accorded special status, rekindle the movement, without the pressures of being in the cabinet. Will the issue of Special Economic Zones be treated as settled will there be a movement against giving SEZ proponents 30% of the land in lieu of they returning 70% of what was allotted to them.
And most importantly will the move to get Special status be rekindled or the Governments stated view that Special Status, in the form and manner demanded by Goans is no longer needed, due to central funding for infrastructure projects.