The day when Goa will elect its new MPs, and electors in three constituencies new MLAs is 48 hours away.
Five years ago, Goa too rode the Modi wave and sent both BJP candidates to Parliament. The promises made were many and full of bravado, but the delivery after five years has been insignificant. What have the MPs been able to give back to the people of Goa who reposed their faith in them and sent them to New Delhi as their representatives? The fact that the BJP leaders currently campaigning for the party in the State are assuring that the mining issue will be solved and that special status can be taken up, loudly and clearly avows that Goa’s MPs have failed in the past five years.
In the run-up to the polls Goa was promised that special status will be taken up if the people want it. This was by the then PM candidate Narendra Modi. There is no ambiguity here, the people do want it, they are still asking for it, resolutions have been passed in the Assembly seeking special status. But, not only has the demand for special status not taken even a minuscule step forward, thousands of mining dependents are crying as their only means of livelihood has been stopped. Despite agitations and even dharnas in New Delhi, the Union government has not taken up the issue. The BJP is now renewing the promises, what is the guarantee that it will find a solution to the mining crisis in Goa? There is no roadmap provided, only a promise made.
And that’s exactly what the BJP did during the campaign in 2014 – promises. There were loads of assurances that have failed to materialise after the party came to power. Remember the assertion of ‘achhe din aane waale hai’? Who could have forgotten that statement, even if five long years have passed by since it was made? It was on the front pages of every newspaper, and television channels kept repeating the clipping. But, where are those good days? We haven’t seen them – the mining dependents haven’t seen them, the tourism industry in the State hasn’t seen them, the common man who got hit by the demonetisation blow hasn’t seen them, the farmer across India who is committing suicide hasn’t seen them, the trader who has been burdened by GST returns and filing hasn’t seen them. Who has? Can anybody stand up and say that the achhe din are here?
Five years after this government took over, there are more questions than answers, there are more failures than successes. Let’s look at some of the failures. The prices of fuel and LPG soared, railway fares increased, and demonetisation did not end the problem of black money. Proof of this is that the election in a constituency in Tamil Nadu had to be countermanded due to the large amount of unaccounted cash found there.
The rupee spiraled downward, devalued and was on the brink of a crisis. There was a period during which it created a new record everyday of its lowest ever. In the meanwhile business magnates who were wanted in India managed to escape from the country and are living abroad. The BJP had promised 2 crore jobs every year, but the figure of new job was nowhere near that.
The list is long and can go on. But there is one that has to be added – the discrimination on the basis of religion and the lynchings that have taken place. This can’t be allowed to continue. India is a country that has traditionally embraced all religions. That should not be allowed to change. All communities have lived together in peace, and should continue to so live. Any tinkering with the secular ideals of the Constitution should not be allowed.
As Goans get ready to press the button on the electronic voting machine that will send their representatives to Parliament, they need to look back at the past five years and consider whether they are better off today than they were in 2014. That answer will tell them who to vote for.