While the hype balloon around Anna Hazare’s kick-off of the Anti-Corruption drive campaign in India from Goa burst when it was announced that he was not to attend the proceedings organized in Goa on account of ill-health – a decision taken at the last minute; the bigger balloon that burst was the notion that the people of Goa are against corruption – this was clearly visible by the shocking crowd of only near to 2500 people who attended the main event on the India Against Corruption agenda at Azad Maidan in Panjim yesterday evening.
Speakers Swami Agnivesh, Kiran Bedi and Arvind Kejriwal in their speeches spoke of key issues affecting Goa such as illegal mining and rampant real estate development, while strongly condemning the cowardly attack on the Caurem Youth Leader Nilesh Gaokar. They also urged the people to unite to demand for the Lokayukta in Goa and Lokpal at the Centre as it is the only solutions to bring about a check in the corruption plague sweeping the country.
But while the crowd in the venue, where enthralled by the words of fire and wisdom of the speakers as was evident by the loud cheer and claps; many who attended the event felt sad and shocked that the people of Goa in large numbers decided to stay away.
Many felt that if it was a rally or birthday party organized by some politician where there was free food and liquor flowing, you would have a crowd of over 20,000 attending as it has been evident in the past from the big birthday bashes thrown by the corrupt politicians’ year on year.
Yet some voiced their opinion that when a rally was conducted in the same venue to take up the issue of the Medium of Instruction (MoI), there was no place for anyone to stand and traffic had come to a standstill; while the issue raised at that rally was important; isn’t the issue of corruption even more subject of importance that effect every single person in Goa and India.
Some were of the opinion that the phenomenon Anna Hazare that had grown big in key metro cities in India and some pockets of the educated class in Goa has not been able to penetrate to the gross-roots levels in Goa and the wing of India Against Corruption in Goa has failed to take the message to village level.
But mostly while people who attended the event went home inspired, many felt it would require more than Anna Hazare to wake the people of Goa up to fight against corruption.