Edit Corner

Calm before the Storm…

Nothing can be as unpredictable as the allotment of tickets during an election; this is because in politics besides winability and credibility, bank balance also plays a major role to most parties whether it is national or regional.

Congress has been a beacon of confusion and corruption since it took charge of the Goa-government, the run-up to its selection of candidates is threading the same expected path; while many of the faces of the Congress high command appear to portray a virtue of holding up to party policies and ideologies, in actuality they are epitome of the corruption and confusion that we have seen so far in Goa.

On the defecting BJP MLAs that have joined the Congress party or are planning to join, it is so evident the double standards at play; when a senior BJP leader Gopinath Munde, last year was almost certain to join the Congress with a demand of a Cabinet portfolio; both the All India Congress Committee president Sonia Gandhi and Prime Minister of India Dr Manmohan Singh put their foot down, “ saying nothing doing, he needs to work for the party and earn his position”.  But here in Goa, just to please the political lobby of Vishwajeet Rane and Digambar Kamat we have the Congress Desk-in-Charge Jagmeet Singh Brar and Head of the Central Election (Screening) Committee Oscar Fernandes willing to oblige these defectors even though they know that they will be squashing the hopes of loyal Congress workers who have toiled for the party for so many years.

Similarly, to satisfy the demand of Atanasio (Babush) Monserrate of having two tickets from Congress they are willing to completely alienate the sitting MLA in Santa Cruz Victoria Fernandes. In fact Ms Gandhi found time to keep her appointment with the MLA, but Brar kept her waiting for two days before he met. Even more astounding is that on the first day when he kept Ms Fernandes waiting at his office in AICC, he was not even in Delhi but in Punjab.

On the Alemao demand for four tickets, Oscar Fernandes seems to want to settle for three and give Joaquim’s son Yuri the NCP or independent ticket.  These equations of the political lobby is expected to change soon as both Rahul Gandhi and Sonia Gandhi are both going to sit down on the final list; and as history with AICC has shown us before, normally lists prepared by Oscar are always changed by Ms Gandhi, since sometimes the decisions are not in the overall favor of the Congress party but appears to be tilted in favoring certain political sections.

BJP on the other hand have been extremely clever and quiet. Their strategy to field about 6 candidates from the Christian community and independently back another five, gives them an opportunity to act more wisely this time and concentrate effectively of their weak areas of Salcette, Bardez and Tiswadi. Even the firmness of not aligning with Mickky Pacheco-led Goa Vikas Party and Radharao Gracias-led United Goan Democratic Party (UGDP) is a sign that they are working with a plan and are not desperate to forge pre-alliance relationships with anyone, unless it matters to their strategy.

GVP-UGDP as expected continues to make tall claims but cannot get their marriage to work in the first place. It appears to be an open marriage, where the mantra is ‘we are married but we can have other affairs openly’.

On NCP the less said the better; its sole purpose in Goa is to be the buffer zone to put all probable candidates of the Congress who do not get a Congress party ticket. And it is kept alive because of the alliance at the National stage and because politicians here need the NCP for their bargaining power after the elections. No effort is being made by the Congress party to neutralize the NCP in Goa, when in fact they really have only one MLA with a strong chance of winning.

Maharashtrawadi Gomantak Party (MGP) is there primarily because both Manohar Parrikar of BJP and Digambar Kamat of Congress need it to exist because it will swing voter base either way depending on the alliance. Sometimes MGP say ‘We are with BJP’, sometimes it says ‘We are with Congress’. I suppose here they are waiting for which national party gives them the most money.

But in my opinion there is a general angst against all political parties, so people might not necessarily fall for the same promises made by politicians but will chose to side good candidates in the forthcoming elections instead of corrupt practices. And with good independents candidates coming forward supported by GRA and ZGE we could expect a surprise in the forthcoming Goa Assembly elections.

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