Herald: The Ides of March: When the public doesn’t get to decide its own CM

The Ides of March: When the public doesn’t get to decide its own CM

24 Mar 2019 06:14am IST
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24 Mar 2019 06:14am IST
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Over the last two years, more stress has been laid on who will be the State’s chief minister rather than delivering on the people’s expectations. Forget respecting the public mandate, legislators are quick to jump parties for individual gains and in the process, make a mockery of the democratic elected systems in place. JULIO D’SILVA takes a look at the latest developments surrounding Pramod Sawant being sworn in as the new Chief Minister

The manner in which Dr Pramod Sawant was sworn in as the Chief Minister of Goa reminded Goans of one of the political shenanigans that characterized Goa in the early 90s, where the State had a chief minister for even just six days. The latest development and what is expected to come shortly raises a big question about morality of the legislators.

Former minister and Member of Parliament and senior politician Ramakant Khalap likened the situation to being caught in quicksand. “With three different groups coming together to form the government, there are bound to be pressures, duress and temptations,” he said adding that such a bonding cannot be stable as every group will be keen on getting its pound of flesh.

While opining that Vishwajit Rane’s resignation as MLA and getting re-elected as Bharatiya Janata Party MLA initiated the latest string of party hopping, he said the assembly will somehow survive till the Lok Sabha elections and its future will solely depend on the Lok Sabha election results adding that it will get a longer lease of life if BJP is voted back to power.

“Personally I feel the best option would have been dissolution of the house and seeking a fresh mandate,” he said, pointing out that it would have brought a government truly wanted by the people and not one hobbled together based on necessity and convenience.

“Goans should stop supporting and voting for independent candidates and small parties and I think we should go back to the two party system that we had two decades ago,” he said. He recalled that then there were ideological differences between the two parties, which are sorely lacking today where the differences are reduced to merely individualism.

Ramakant Khalap strongly advocated that elections in Goa be contested only two the two national parties namely the Congress and the Bharatiya Janata Party with the smaller parties including the Maharashtrawadi Gomantak Party that once ruled the state having no role to play.

“I see no justification for a small State like Goa having two deputy chief ministers ,especially as in the past, Dayanand Bandodkar managed Goa, Daman and Diu with the help of only two other ministers,” said senior journalist Cyril D’Cunha, who termed the latest developments as a “circus without a ring master”.

He however could not suggest anything to avoid repetitions in future. “Goa has people who have not only a very rich imagination but also the ability to make their imagination a reality,” he said.

Former minister Dr. Wilfred Mesquita pointed out that Goa and Goans have accepted defections in the past and hence there should be no objections to the recent ones. “Has Goa got a good name given the ills like prostitution, gambling, etc prevalent in the State,” he asked.

About two deputy chief ministers, he said that it will only be a burden on the State exchequer and soothing the concerned ministers’ egos as they will get an escort car and added security personnel. “Is the deputy chief minister superior to other ministers?” he asked.

Dr Wilfred opined that while naming two deputy chief ministers, the chief minister should have taken away the Public Works Department and Town and County Planning portfolios from the two and given them some other minor departments instead. “That would have really established them as deputy chief ministers,” he said.

Former MLA Uday Bhembre argued that even late Manohar Parrikar had formed the government in 2017 going against all norms of decency as the people had clearly voted against the BJP reducing its numbers from 21 to 13 MLAs. “And yet Manohar Parrikar formed the government,” he said.

He wondered where Goan literacy, education and civilized history are lost at the time of elections where people without any principles are elected. “Vishwajit and Mauvin quit the Congress and get elected as BJP MLA even though ideologically both the parties are poles apart,” said Uday.

He said that unless people become wise and elect people who have principles and will stick to those principles, the political quagmire in Goa will not change and added that in the future , it is the people who will have to make their elected representatives accountable.

A senior journalist from the vernacular press was also highly critical of the latest developments and squarely blamed Vijai Sardessai for the machinations. “This kind of politicking will not survive and unfortunately it does not augur well for Goa and the younger generation,” he said while recalling how smooth and admirable governance was with Dayanand Bandodkar as the chief minister.
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