Herald: Good riddance, 2018
Herald News

Good riddance, 2018

06 Jan 2019 06:14am IST

Report by
James Monteiro

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06 Jan 2019 06:14am IST

Report by
James Monteiro

We heave a sigh of relief! At last it has gone. May it never return! Every moment of it was excruciating agony for us, the harmless and innocent people of Goa, who were being harshly punished for a mindless single act ---- electing selfish people to the legislative assembly. We the people do not deserve to be subjected to this mockery and chicanery of the so called political class. Yes 2018 we are referring to you. We are overjoyed to see your back and may you never return. You were the year within which the political class showed us to what lower levels it could stoop, just when we thought we had seen its nadir. You were the year that showed us that politicians will do anything to wrest power for self-gratification. You were the year that further reinforced our firm belief that the gubernatorial position of the state should be immediately abolished or else an apolitical person with a proven track record of impeccable integrity should occupy it. You were the year that exposed all the rats in the political class and further strengthened our conviction that all politicians are slimy, speak in forked tongues, generally resemble a red sand boa (locally called malund) and most of them cannot (and should not) betrusted.

Some of the downright despicable activities of the present day politicians in the year gone by: 1) The MLA from Shiroda, who has been a minister in the previous government and has been the opposition party president, a man who runs educational institutions turns saffron and defects. Later we hear he has been awarded the EDC chairmanship.                                       Another fellow from Mandrem, who literally went for the tourism minister’s jugular in the assembly when in the opposition, proceeded to Delhi on business and returned saffronized. We then saw him with a grin on his face riding a bicycle shoulder to shoulder with the tourism minister whose jugular he had almost snapped! He is now the GTDC chairman. How much lower will they fall? As if that wasn’t enough, the opposition party which is riddled silly with scores of these jumping jacks of yesteryears in their front ranks (and ready to jump ship at the first available opportunity again), gave us lectures on morality and ethics. Can the opposition even afford to touch the subject of defections after giving us 14 governments in 10 years (1990 – 2000) and having the same defectors in their present day outfit? 

The CM of Goa (who had attained that rank not by popular mandate but by a backdoor entry) was diagnosed with a serious ailment almost one year back and has been incapacitated since, being shifted through various hospitals within the country and abroad. One cannot help sympathizing with him. Just imagine a national party in power at the Centre unable to hand over the command of a tiny state of Goa to any of its 15 MLAs to allow an ill CM to recuperate. One can just imagine how wobbly this self-serving coalition is and the rats that constitute it! Doesn’t the ex-Union DM (and present CM) deserve that much courtesy? Or are we to believe reports that he is adamant and refuses to vacate his chair? Otherwise how come two of his ministers were dropped from the cabinet citing their serious health conditions while the CM stayed put in spite of allegedly having terminal illness? Either way, how can a state run without a performing CM? Idle threats, implied warnings, public posturing is all we saw in the last nine months from the so called coalition of convenience. The king of U turns from Salcette said that he would support the CM and only the present CM, when he first extended support. As it seemed imminent that the CM would be replaced, he modified his stand by claiming that he would support for the whole term. The other coalition party (one of the two brothers who run the show) went on issuing idle threats to withdraw support if the older brother was not made CM. The deadline is long gone. Except for a handful, none of these fellows are confident of getting re-elected in case of early elections. The end result: No visible development, zero development in opposition constituencies and increased corruption since the cat is away and the mice are at play. One juvenile argument put forth by one of the local BJP loudmouth spokesperson was “Where in the Constitution does it say that the CM has to govern from within the state?” (This when the CM was in the US). The Constitution demands that a state must have a Chief Minister at all times, to aid and advise the Governor on the day to day affairs of the state. If in any other state there was a vacuum created in the state due to the incapacitation of the CM and with no charge handed to a subordinate for three months, the opposition would have put the government on the mat and clobbered it silly. But not our pathetic opposition! They appear to be scared stiff. 

It came as a jolt for Goans to wake up one morning to the fact that the fish on our plate is liberally laced with formaldehyde, the malignancy causing chemical, to keep the fish from going stale in transportation. Yes, the same chemical we injected the corpses with to preserve them till the arrival of the near and dear ones from abroad, before the mobile mortuary came into being. The bold lady who sounded the alarm was harassed, demoted, traumatized and ill-treated, all for doing her job. A weak opposition could do nothing to bring the culprits to book. Everyone watched in disgust as the mafia king led a fight against the FDA, instead of being behind bars. Hats off to Goans for deserting the fish markets and making the rascals-in-power run for cover. In spite of some lackluster measures finally taken, Goans are still very apprehensive of visiting the markets and prefer lifting their fish directly from the jetties/beach. And in all this fish fiasco the Fisheries minister was hardly heard. 

Claude Alvares saved Goa for posterity when he gallantly took on the mining mafia and halted their sinister design of devastating Goa and milking it dry. Mining stopped in 2012 and resumed partially in 2015 with the apex court’s strictures. For maximizing the state’s revenue, mining leases were to be auctioned. The political class got together and cutting across party lines decided to hoodwink the apex court’s directions. Our CM went ahead and brazenly renewed some of the lapsed leases just before he settled in Delhi. His successor renewed the rest. End result: Claude back to the apex court and mining again brought to a halt in 2018.  And not one legislator has the spine to declare that what is happening in the mining front is wrong and that the apex court’s directives have to be adhered to. Instead almost all of them, in an effort to safeguard the interest of the miners and their vote-bank, are trying all possible ways of circumventing the court’s directions, and in the bargain sinking more in the quicksand.  And nobody seems interested in recovering the loot and plundered as ordered by the apex court!And the audacity of the politicians to issue threats to a person who, against all odds has valiantly managed to stop the uncontrolled loot of the Goan natural resources. I think people like Claude should be conferred with the highest state award.

And what can one say about the gubernatorial post? Why is it needed anyways? Just as a constitutional requirement? I wonder if the constitution framers had envisaged that the level of our politics would drop so abysmally low, that the government in power would nominate its own “yes men” to these posts. We in Goa, have seen the partial behaviour of Governors, cutting across party lines and are prompted to say that Goa gets Governors only to add a further burden on the state exchequer. If at all their appointment is inevitable, the primary requirement should be that he/she has never been in any political party and has never shown any leaning towards any ideologies.  I suggest the only governors we need in Goa are speed governors. 

Oh, 2018 how glad I am that you are no more. How did you allow such miserable politics and be a mute spectator when all morality, ethics and protocol was trampled underfoot by some of these self-serving politicians, during your tenure?Only loud posturing was all we got. Poor Januz couldn’t get a decent burial, hardworking Goans working abroad were termed toilet cleaners by a senile politician,  nothing is heard of the huge haul of high end drugs apprehended by the authorities in the premises of a member of the BJP, why, why, WHY 2018? Good riddance to you. I hope 2019 is better than you!

Hey wait a minute! As I write I hear that an audio tape has surfaced wherein someone is heard saying that all Rafale deal files are in the CM’s Dona Paula Flat, is that true? If it is, it’s just a taste of things to come in 2019!

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