It does not surprise that voters have found that the performance of the State government as below average on the top priorities listed by them.
Given that the State has spent over a year with a pause in governance, there could be no other result in the Goa Survey report 2018 released by the Association of Democratic Reforms. During the past year the media spoke of a failure of governance, ministers in the government went public with their grievances of there being a slowdown in the administration, and the people just suffered in silence waiting for a burst of speed that would set the wheels of governance in motion again. But it never came.
This is clear indictment of the government by the people of the State. The people are saying they have had enough and that there has to be a change in the manner in which this State is being governed. A government is elected to work for the people, but in this case it hasn’t happened that way. What has happened is just the opposite. What we have is not a government that has worked for the people, the results of the survey are quite clear on that. The poor performance of the government is a red mark on the report card.
In getting a government to work the voter too plays a crucial role. An observation made in the survey report merits being reproduced here. It says, “The fact that the electorate has no role once the politician has been elected, allows the priority of the elected candidates to be determined by the political parties. It is then hoped that the electorate takes care to elect a better politician to represent them.” This is something that the Herald has repeatedly said seeking that the people use the opportunity of an election to change the political system by changing the kind of politician that is elected.
Since a large number of voters in the survey said that they decide on their vote depending on who the candidate is, we have a very personality-oriented political system in the State. That perhaps is what gives politicians the nerve to change parties, sure that they will get re-elected from the constituency. Are we going to keep electing defectors, who have no qualms about turning their back to the voters and the parties on which they have been elected for their own personal goals and reasons? This has to stop, and the by-elections are the best time to start this change.
The needs of the people of Goa are simple and so should be easy to meet. The top three priorities listed are better employment opportunities, better garbage clearance, lower food price for consumers. Is that too much to ask for? And yet the government has not been able to deliver. Goans are not asking that the State be turned into a Singapore. Imagine if they had asked for that. Their aspirations are much simpler, and even these cannot be met by the government of the day. The delivery by the government on various demands and issues has been found wanting to a large extent.
There does appear to be a deep disconnect between what the people want and what the government is delivering. Goa deserves a government that is responsive to the people and with policies that are oriented to meet the needs of the population of the State. The people want job, want clean neighbourhoods and want to be able to make their pay packet get then their needs. If the government can deliver on this, then it can say that it has performed satisfactorily. If it can’t give the people what they want, it will be deemed a failure. For the moment it is the latter.