So the rubber stamp shall think of an ‘agitation’ and not start one; his MLAs would ‘support and join’ GPCC if they come out on the streets; not lead them. Meet Chandrakant alias Babu Kavlekar, prime accused in the IDC Goa plot scam and the best foot that Indian National Congress could put forward as Leader of the Opposition. Kavlekar, a child of chance who allotted/sold/converted dozens of Goa government plots to buy tracts of rubber plantations and other investments, and who survives because Manohar Parrikar gives him enough rope to survive the law asks us to wait for a week. 199 days since Parrikar’s poor attendance record became a habit, will Congress Legislature Party, “think of agitation”? The man who betrayed his own Dhangar community (which decides the fortunes of five constituencies including those of Junior and Senior Ranes) and could not get them their deserved reservations, now wants Goa to wait before he thinks. Goa is not being run on an autopilot just like that. Its politics resemble a football match where winning players have just swapped their jerseys with the losers and they are both living happily ever after.
As news emerged last week of Goa Congress workers threatening to come out on the streets, a section of its legendary fixers and setters (call them a few MLAs who cosy up to BJP’s ruling elite) let them down by saying they would rather wait for the ailing CM to return. Whether the CLP was behaving as an extension of BJPLP is for the people to decide but what Goa understood was that even when they voted BJP out of power in 2017, the usual suspects in Congress, especially the likes of Babu Kavlekar and the Ranes, were all okay with it as long as their works or rather cases against them such as SEZ scam and others were not invoked.
Sample this. Naïve Kavlekar says, “The Chief Minister had promised that Rs 25 crore for planned work and Rs three crore for unplanned work would be sanctioned... Later when CM was in the US, PWD Minister took a meeting and promised to sanction Rs 15 crore for planned work and Rs three crore for unplanned work. But still, work has not started in many constituencies.” Isn’t he talking about the same political party that promised every individual Goan and Indian to transfer Rs 15 lakh of black money in their bank accounts, four years ago? What was Kavlekar thinking when he expected this government to spend Rs 720 to Rs 1120 crore on planned/unplanned works when the government is selling its own bonds to pay off for social welfare doles? What stands exposed is a helpless Congress inside the House and a hapless Congress outside. The one inside divided to protect their own interests (read: avoid a jail term) and the one outside livid that their elected representatives were uninterested to bring down a government that first stole their mandate and now forces remote-controlled governance on the people. The Congress MLAs have just one choice – course correct history or else get voted out for being political pawns in the hands of an unwell man and his hegemonic party.
But why blame just Congress when BJP, the party that used to once scoff at Congress’ High Command succumbed meekly to the same High (handed) Command. 199 days since Goans have been suffering from a periodic absence of the Chief Minister and his coterie, the ruling party does not have a second leader of trust, credibility and competence to run Goa. Why is that? Is it because Sripad Naik is not from the upper caste or is it because the mine owners want a rubber stamp CM of their own from the mining belt or is it that the Yuvraj up North is a thorn in the side of many Sanghis because he still is equally comfortable with both BJP and Congress? Goa, despite having garnered fame as BJP’s lucky moniker, has been reduced to an outpost. An outpost that can only be remote controlled because BJP has its own MLAs that it cannot trust and are incompetent to run the State. And only a seriously ill man with a mystery disease can run the show by remote just as the way he did as Defence Minister. Dear Goa’s BJP voters, isn’t there anybody worthy enough to be tried out as a CM from your representatives? Or is that the best that you could have done was humiliate Shripad Naik when faced with the prospect of an alternative leadership? Did the ungrateful BJP forget that it was Shripad under whose leadership BJP rose to become Congress’ alternative and the party of Bahujans choice in the State?
Goa should forgive breeding the likes of MGPs and GFPs because revolution and sloganeering such as Goem, Goenkar, Goenkarponn fall flat when you side with an undemocratic status quo of letting the government being run by a coalition partner run by the whims and fancies of one man. Does this coalition think that Goa is the personal property of Manohar Parrikar and BJP?
Oh, wait! Didn’t we forget the new kids on the block who feel they must not attack an ailing Chief Minister facing health issues, the Aam Admi Party? Not a word from the ‘Different Party’ which is currently busy in party works. For 199 days, barring a statement accusing the Centre of running Parrikar’s show, AAP did not seem to notice the absence of a Chief Minister as mandated by the Constitution of India. They did not even notice that sometimes an unconstitutional Cabinet Advisory Committee and at other times bureaucrats were running Goa and signing out cheques from the exchequer. Did the party led by such a senior civil servant from the Goa cadre find nothing wrong in the way the Goenkars’ mandate was being tossed and flayed around?
There is something wrong with Goa if we ignore this insult to our intelligence and to our respect for democratic traditions. Goa demands Special Status. But the BJP-led government at the Centre and in the State seems to be treating us as those with ‘special needs’. The ruling coalition partners – MGP (waiting for an opportunity to lead the government) and GFP (waiting to spread their sphere of influence across Goa) should answer whether they have read the Constitution of India and do they understand the fact that when you swear an allegiance to it, you uphold it. That includes having a real and not a virtual Chief Minister to run Goa. The Opposition – Congress MLAs should either save Goa from this autocracy or resign and make way for young leaders who may have read about India’s constitutional democracy. And AAP should stop hoodwinking us with routine tokenism. This State requires answers and actions, not just dharnas and litigations.
Dear Goa, this probably is the worst time in your history and puts even the Salazar regime to embarrassment. No CM to govern you. No Statute (amendments to TCP Act to include TDR, the R & A Act or the greedy ODPs) that you mandated this government for. No decisions (Mopa Airport, Coal at MPT, RP 2021 et al) that you asked for to be taken on your behalf. So call up your local MLA (she/he may take your call or but if they don’t insist) and ask her/him something simple, something basic – Has she/he read the Constitution of India? If yes, does it mandate a remote-controlled government when people have voted for men and women in flesh and blood to be amongst them and listen to their views and woes to run the government?
Dear Goa, you voted for them. Why not demand an answer from them because it was your vote which was their ticket to Minister-ship and MLA-ship. This government is just 539 days old, do you want to spend another 1236 days to witness a complete mockery of democracy? Did we really vote for this unholy matrimony of the ruling and Opposition combined – driven by greed, corruption and lawlessness?