Make no mistake. The joke is on us. As each of the eight betrayer MLAs goes back home to the sound of drum beats as if a grand victory has been achieved, dancing on the ravaged corpse of democracy, Goa stands permanently consigned as democracy’s basket case.
Will any one of us have any honour in convincing our children and their children about the sacrifices and struggles of our forefathers when the case study they experience, or at least remember, as a fresh narrative is this- of ideology and ethics less politicians who can belittle even an oath in the holiest of shrines of not betraying their mandate, and do exactly that and shockingly justify the same as a mandate from God?
The smiles, the laughter, the congratulatory messages exchanged among those who left no stone unturned, as eight sellers of Goa’s soul, are a slap on everything Goans held dear, bound by a ribbon of integrity. We wonder how alien that word would be to those who are rejoicing in their new avatars with brand new party scarves as prizes around their necks.
Even God was invoked almost jokingly, almost dismissively as Digambar Kamat said he went back to God and sought and received blessings because circumstances have changed. It was the same God he went to before the elections and promised that for five years he would not leave his party.
But he cannot be singled out. Everyone participated in that exercise of genuflecting before the Gods, which has turned out to be a sham.
IT WAS GREED THAT MATTERED,
Herald had said that the same script of mass defections would be played out again
Your paper had said this was bound to happen a good three to four months before the last Assembly elections. It doesn’t take rocket science to know this.
But sadly, a section of people of faith and institutions, who people respect, showed their political colours and played a part in blindly backing the Congress, because of which the eight defectors who have gone to the BJP, now won.
One priest who begins his politically laced videos with the greeting Gôychea Mhojea Gôykaramno was openly nudging people’s attention toward voting for Congress, at any cost, when Herald underlined that 2017 would be repeated after the 2022 elections. This priest played his hand in running a narrative to sideline and isolate former Chief Minister Luizinho Faleiro who gave the Congress hope and victory in 2017. Why was there a narrative to belittle him and besmirch his reputation carried out?
When the same script has been played out and the Congress stripped bare yet again, isn’t it time for him and other revered men in such institutions to also introspect on their actions of calling people to back potential and sure-shot defectors.
The Congress party and its candidates who went to the people wearing the medal of not giving tickets to defectors became defectors themselves doing exactly what their previous batch of defectors did. The Congress is producing an assembly line of defectors and it was only Herald who said again and again that this would happen.
Unfortunately, even this call was scoffed at by the same forces, leaving the politics of checks and balances with a robust opposition, torn to shreds.
The MLAs who defected today were not the least bit worried about meeting their voters. This time they even did away with the customary response, “My people have told me to take this call”. Did they tell their people that they would be loyal to their party and their vote only if they are on the ruling side? Or else they would defect in the name of “development”. People would have then taken a call.
This is not funny or light-hearted. This “I don’t care” attitude comes from getting power which is found in the Mount Everest of greed. And these eight climbers of the greed mountain took step after step, till they reached the pinnacle of betrayal. And from that height, they have distanced themselves from all promises made, vows taken and the paeans of ethics and morality they have sung.
EVEN SHAME HAS BEEN SHAMED. Yes, the politicians have betrayed but have people stood up against this betrayal ever
But what about the people? Haven’t the people acted as sherpas, literally carrying the load of the mountaineers of greed and helping them along the way instead of saying, this is the wrong mountain to climb?
Let us ask. Will people come out on the streets and ask the eight MLAs now and the ten MLAs earlier why their vote was stolen and given to the party they voted against? Will one person come out?
If democracy has been murdered, haven’t the people of Goa- at best- have been not-so-innocent bystanders and at worst partakers of this killing by figuring out the best deal for themselves after they jumped from the opposition to the ruling camp?
For the BJP the template is clear. The period of building the cadre, the organization rooted in the ideals of the Jan Sang and RSS is over. Political consolidation without opposition is their goal and they are working towards it in a cold calculated manner.
This brings us to a sad reality. Hasn’t posts, positions, power in the village, talukas, council, and panchayats, due to closeness with the MLA, been a magnet, giving lifelong security and insurance? This magnet has become a greed. So, it doesn’t matter which party the MLA is in as long as he is ruling. That gives power to the boys with its added advantages.
There are many Goans who are still aghast, they still get shocked and disappointed, and angry. But is that section large enough or decisive enough to ensure that they, who are right, ensure that politicians with flexible spines do not do wrong? And even though they voted for the Congress, in 11 constituencies in 2022, and 17 in 2017, they got reduced to 3 both times. In 2017 it took till 2021 to reach this figure, this time it has taken just a few months.
In the debris of ethics, as the fires of betrayal leap on to become big flames, will we find integrity in the embers, when the flames subside? Will we finally learn lessons and see through fake promises, even if they are made in the holiest of shrines? Will we understand this breed finally; a breed that only has greed in its veins? Will we have the humility to accept that in many places, our greed to get the loaves and fishes of office is the strength on which defections are done and betrayals are brushed aside?
And finally, will we recognise that the word “development” has been violated? Each time a defector says he has left his party and betrayed the mandate because of “development”, it is a rape committed on the very sentiment of development which is linked to progress and growth, both of which have become permanent victims of the politics of greed.