Herald: Musical Chairs: Making a mockery of the electoral process

Musical Chairs: Making a mockery of the electoral process

13 Jul 2019 05:43am IST
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13 Jul 2019 05:43am IST

There is a wave of resentment sweeping across the State. Cutting across party lines, workers of political parties including that of BJP and Congress are voicing out their displeasure and strong opposition to the latest development that has seen 10 Congress MLAs join BJP, a move which has received widespread condemnation from Goans


Several prominent BJP leaders in Panjim met on Thursday and expressed their unhappiness over induction of Panjim MLA Atanasio 'Babush' Monserrate in the party.
Sources stated that the attendees at the meeting that included several leaders and some corporators from Corporation of City of Panaji (CCP), were not in a position to be convinced with the latest political happening. However, none were willing to come on record for obvious reasons. 
"Certainly, the Panjim mandal is not happy with Babush's induction. How can the party, which campaigned against him in the Panjim by-poll and criticised him in public over his criminal cases, welcome him. It is very difficult to accept Babush," said one of them. 
Another senior party office bearer also confirmed that majority of the mandal members are not convinced with the merger of Congress MLAs. "We are not happy," he said declining to comment further. 
Interestingly, the women's wing of the party, which had held a press conference to express their fear on the safety of women after Babush was elected as MLA, has remained silent. Even though they had warned the BJP not to induct Babush into the party if he had any plans to do so. 


Few Congress workers and locals from Tivim have vented their anger over the decision of MLA Nilkanth Halankar to join BJP.
While they have criticised his move, others claimed they were happy as now the pending works in the constituency will be carried out smoothly. 
Few karyakartas who toiled with him during the election campaign opine that he should have taken them into consideration as they worked day and night to get him elected in Tivim. They feel betrayed by his decision. 
The President of Tivim Block Congress Committee, Shivdas Kambli told Herald that they have received mixed response from the karyakatas and people of Tivim constituency.
“The Congress karayakatas are happy with this move but we cannot deny the fact that there are a few who are angry. We have received a mixed response from the people,” he added. 
Some of the locals however pointed out that they had voted for him because had contested on a Congress ticket. “We elected him and made him MLA but he has betrayed our trust. He has forgotten that we exist and gone against our will,” he said.  “We respected him as a Congress MLA and the party has never let him down. The reason for him to switch parties has come as a shock to us. The people of Tivim plead with the party not to take back these leaders who defect in the name of silly excuses,” added a Congress supporter. 


While BJP block mandals of Taleigao, Santa Cruz and St Andre have officially expressed support, unofficially, some of their karyakartas (workers) have expressed their unhappiness 
with the leadership for inducting the defecting MLAs.
There has been a lull in the ruling dispensation’s youth as well as senior karyakartas in the three Assembly constituencies, whose MLAs have now joined the BJP as part of their Congress Legislative Party (CLP) merger. Most of the karyakartas have remained silent on social media, which is very unusual. 
It may be recalled that a month ago, when the rumours of Congress MLAs joining the ruling side first surfaced, the BJP president Vinay Tendulkar stated that he refused to accept them. Back then, the party’s karyakartas were jubilant and actively went cheered the leadership for its stand. The St Andre block mandal had even opposed the entry MLA Francisco Silveira into the party fold.
However, after Wenesday’s merger the BJP workers have been left shocked and are yet to come to terms. Nevertheless, like faithful and disciplined workers the official line is to back the leadership’s decision. None of the karyakartas wanted to come out with any statement or comment on the party accepting the defecting MLAs into the party fold.
Senior BJP leader in Taleigao, Dattaprasad Naik said, “Whatever decision the party has taken, we are certain that they have taken the same after considering everything. Therefore we are with the party leaders in the decision. Every karyakarta is with the party.”


During the tenure of former Chief Minister (late) Manohar Parrikar, Canacona MLA Isidore Fernandes was considered to be quite close to Parrikar, that works concerning Canacona were always given priority.  However, post Parrikar's death all of his fresh proposals were apparently sidelined, according to many of his well-wishers, who believe this is the reason why the MLA chose to defect. 

Ever since the news of the Congress merger with BJP broke out, there have been mixed reactions on social media with some calling it a surgical strike while others calling it the murder of democracy in the middle of the night.Janardhan Bhandari the poster boy of Congress in Canacona and the general secretary was more vocal than any of his other Congress counterparts as others adopted wait and watch policy over the development. Bhandari said that Congress is the oldest party, and who ever leaves the party will not make a difference. He added that there will always be ups and downs and that there are young and capable Congressmen who will get a chance and that they all would work hard and come back strong."All those who split were elected because they had contested on the Congress ticket. It’s a murder of democracy,” said another youth congress office bearer. While some BJP karyakartas in the constituency welcomed the joining of Congress MLA's saying that any move to make party strong is always welcome, others felt it will be a tight rope walk at least in Canacona as Canacona BJP already has two ticket aspirants-  former Minister Ramesh Tawadkar and former MLA Vijay Pai Khot.

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