I like the people in AAP Goa. Some good and genuine people in the local political unit. But I am not a fan of Arvind Kejriwal. His political agenda is driven by a megalomaniac intent. Arvind Kejriwal is about Arvind Kejriwal only. A narcissist to be precise. It is not a character trait, I appreciate in people.
I disliked him more after his persistent lies over the truth of India’s COVID-19 pandemic and the diabolic usage of a health crisis to plaster his face over every television channel in India. He could have saved more lives and not resort to political drama over the health crisis.
In fact, I had openly mentioned my dislike to a friend of mine in the AAP central leadership looking at Goa affairs. I told him, “AAP Goa can work, Arvind Kejriwal will not work.”
If the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) assumes that it’s ‘I am Super CM’ Arvind Kejriwal will sell in Goa, then their reading on Goa is myopic and based on half-knowledge, especially on the nature of the people of Goa.
Goa is a state, where its people were ruthless and unkind to the Late Manohar Parrikar. He was one politician that genuinely had a vision for Goa. I remember the vicious attacks by some spineless political vermins that relentlessly attacked him, even as he fought for his life while doing his duty to the people of Goa and India. A Catholic priest took to liberty to shout out from the pulpit in a Church that “Manohar Parrikar was cursed by the people of Goa that’s why he suffered and died.”
When Congress faltered in governance, the people of Goa decimated them in the Assembly Elections 2012. When BJP, first led by Manohar Parrikar and then by Laxmikant Parsekar faltered in governance during the period 2012 to 2017, BJP was reduced to a minority in the Assembly Elections 2017. Of course, through political machinations, BJP retained power and further strengthened its position by inducting 10 Congress MLAs. I disagreed with that damning move but that’s politics.
In Goa today, you do not have the Bharatiya Janata Party in ideology, you have the Bharatiya Congress Party because 17 MLAs had been Congress MLAs at some point of time in their political careers, not too far back in time. Not all of them are beacons of virtue for BJP to have inducted them. One is accused of raping a minor girl.
There is growing angst in some constituencies against the BJP. There is absolutely no hope for Congress in Goa because it continues to pander to the old political horses that have become wooden rocking horses; they give Congress a feeling that it is galloping in the state but in reality, it is getting nowhere. The problem with Congress is that even with their five MLAs, each would be aspiring to be the Chief Minister of Goa. That is essentially the problem of Congress in Goa. Lack of selfless leadership to build the political party.
The new change in AAP Goa is focused on recruiting disgruntled leaders in both Congress and BJP to create a mark for itself in the state. Its previous strategy under Elvis Gomes focused on the activists’ style of politics. That will never work in Goa.
Activists are good at making noise, not winning elections. Winning elections is about building public perception and managing electoral numbers. The number of voters per constituency in Goa is less, managing electoral numbers is a major challenge and an art, that few have perfected.
AAP Goa has the potential to make a difference because there is a vacuum in the state as some people are disillusioned with both Congress and BJP, and the regional parties have not yet flexed their muscle across the state convincingly, they have strengths in few pockets. But if AAP Goa brings the Delhi brand of politics to Goa, then it will bite the dust in Goa.
AAP Goa may not have the potential to get a majority in Goa but they can bag a seat or two if they get the electoral arithmetic right and do not stray towards becoming a drama party in the state.
Unfortunately for AAP Goa, old habits diehard of Arvind Kejriwal, thinking Goans to be like Delhites, that will jump for freebies is the error that he has made on his visit to Goa this time. He has announced free electricity, good schools, and Mohalla clinics. Unfortunately, he has not understood that Goa is a state where the per-capita income is high. People are not short of money or shy of spending. We do have good schools and we do have a decent healthcare system that has been spruced up; of course, it can get a lot better. The failure to contain the COVID-19 pandemic in Delhi exposed the poor healthcare infrastructure that Arvind Kejriwal tomtoms about in India and globally.
Goans from Goa want a future and not freebies. Arvind Kejriwal through these antics is not catering to Goans but the non-Goan migrant population that is growing in Goa. For them, freebies will work.
I remember a story last year during the pandemic when the Goa government under the BJP was given free kilos of rice to Goans with a ration card under some welfare scheme, some people were taking the rice and selling it to their friends who did not have a ration card. That’s the true nature of a Goan, they are enterprising. Giving them something free will make no difference to their lives.
In fact, it was amusing seeing Pratima Coutinho, a former Congress leader, now in AAP, (which in my opinion was a good decision because in Congress she would get nowhere) distributing freebies in a bag to a lady living in a posh bungalow with a car and bike. That’s not the poverty of Goa. That’s the inherent nature of Goans, they do not say no to a gift.
AAP Goa has read the people of Goa wrong. If AAP Goa truly wants to bring a change in the state. First, stop selling Arvind Kejriwal to Goans, Goans do not care about leaders from Delhi. Let me say this bluntly, even Narendra Modi is not good enough to win elections for Goa. If Narendra Modi’s name could win an election in Goa, then Goa should have won both North Goa and South Goa Parliamentary seats. People from Goa like Modi as PM but that is not sufficient to win Assembly elections. Manohar Parrikar was Defence Minister of India and former Chief Minister of Goa, yet in 2017, BJP did not get a majority.
Delhi stamp does not impress Goans. The moot point is what can you do for the people of Goa.
People of Goa, think differently. They have understood politics, know their power centers but most importantly they know how to play the politicians.
AAP is talking about stopping corruption. Congress brought new faces to supposedly stop corruption. The new faces walked straight into BJP and made a mockery of democracy. That’s the penetration of corruption in Goa.
Corruption is a card that is beaten to death. Goans want Goa to regain its true identity in India and globally. They want a future.
The people of Goa are young, vibrant, and futuristic. They want an opportunity to build Goa and make it competitive with the rest of the world not only India. They want a government to create entrepreneurial opportunities for them. They want a government to bring better companies with job opportunities to Goa. They want sustainable tourism development that focuses on the culture, heritage, and content life of the Goans, they do not want that maddening crowd coming to Goa thinking it’s Thailand.
Young Goa has an aspiration. It is that aspiration that takes the most educated and talented Goans out of Goa. Goans want a better life and if they can get it in Goa, they would never leave Goa.
Goans living outside of Goa and India want to come back to their home but where are the opportunities to grow and compete with the benefits one gets in other states in India or globally.
Political parties that can fulfill the aspirations of the people of Goa with a roadmap on the socio-economic future of the state coupled with sustainable development and futuristic growth ideas will create a mark in Goa in the forthcoming elections.
Goans will take your freebies and vote for the political individual or party that focuses on the growth of Goa. Goans are not slaves to freebies. Goans do not want non-Goans eroding the inherent culture of its people by turning it into Bangkok or Shanghai. Goa does not want to become a Mumbai or a Shanghai.
Goa wants to remain – Goa.