Each of us has a single vote. It appears to be of little or no value. Today with so many candidates and parties in the fray, it often seems that our vote is slowly losing its decisive edge. We as voters cannot wish away the right of some individuals and political parties to legitimately field candidates and seek our votes. Yet the presence of so many candidates and so many political parties with their varied political ideologies can really confuse us. Alliance of some like minded parties may or may not come to assist us to make an informed choice. The heat and dust of the political rhetoric will refuse to settle. We may witness dirty mudslinging cross the board. Some may seek to polarise on the basis of religion and caste even as the Supreme Court has rendered it illegal. Some others may attempt to socially engineer and manufacture our consent for them. The battle for our votes is just about to reach a high voltage encounter. Some of the political parties seem to have been caught napping while others are raring to go. Accusations and counter accusations are coming thick and fast. With the elections being fixed on 4th February 2017, the great political slugfest of Goa has commenced.
Much of the halla bollo of elections is normal. But it takes a while for us to recover from its residual effects on us. Things are not the same this time. With several other options available to Goan people, the more traditional players have lost their privileged location and began to look intolerable. Perhaps, instead of staying politically correct, we might be honest to admit a few things that are discomforting and politically incorrect. This loss is not just right to rule but right to exploit and loot. Well it’s embarrassing to speak the hard truth. We Goans were not naive to elect several rulers in the past even when we clearly knew that we were handing over our future in the hands of those that might destroy it. It was often a choice of lesser evil. This suggests that corruption and exploitation was tolerable. Our collective past manifests this openly. Something else is seriously not tolerable. All toleration reaches its limits when political organizations appear to have lost their public function and influence and are left with nothing but themselves. In this war of perception, what is lost really is not just privilege to rule but toleration of the people to let loot and to let exploitation continue much under the mask of governance. We seem to have reached a point where we cannot understand why we have to tolerate such a scenario.
Though we can see a welcome change in the proliferation of options that we enjoy, we still have reasons to worry. Corruption has become almost intolerable. But has communalism and corruption reached the same fate? What makes some of us tolerate this dangerous cocktail? Do we somehow think that corruption and communalism has a function in our society? Or is it that this vicious combination of corruption and communalism is also waning in its hold and power over us. Therefore, the question is simple: why do we Goans accept the power of these political outfits over us? There is a rationale for such a tolerance. Yet even this caustic and corrosive combination is rapidly losing its holds over us. The Supreme Court has ruled communalism as illegal. Besides, things are changing among us. Happily, several of us are debunking the madness of hate politics. The intolerance of politics of intolerance is on the rise. Does that suggest that we are beginning to tolerate something else? Time will answer this question. Thankfully, the hate mongers are beginning to look parasitical. The demonetization fiasco looks ready to boomerang. While it is easy for us to believe that political outfits are the real authors of all evils that we face, the uncomfortable truth is to discern how we have become co-authors and contributors to all of it. We have to accept this truth that may be politically incorrect. This truth invites us to receive our share of blame for the sad state of affairs. Within this train of thoughts, we may have asked another difficult question: is our vote losing its power to shape our destiny?
Come elections our vote suddenly acquires its full potential. It is as if the power of our vote rises from the ashes like a phoenix. Perhaps, an analogy of football is appropriate. The power of the foot ball changes (in terms of the danger it poses to its opponents) depending on its location vis-à-vis the position it enjoys corresponding to the location of the opponents. It also depends on who possesses the ball. If the star striker has the ball in his possession the threat perception is more. Same may be thought of our vote. The power of vote shits and becomes decisive when we reach closer to the day of reckoning, the day of election. The politicians understand this more than anyone else. That is, why they seem to have diverse strategies to subvert it. The vote bank politics that several political parties nurture and cultivate indicates this politically incorrect truth. The taming of migrant shanties or use and abuse of religion, caste and region certainly manifests a desire among other things to subvert the power of our vote. Religion, caste and other considerations are often politicised to minoritise others. Hence, we have the duty to reclaim and recover the power of our vote. Thankfully, the Supreme Court’s move to render asking for votes on the basis of caste and religion is a good step in this direction. But still a lot depends on each individual voter. Are we going to sell our vote for thirty silver pieces? We have to face the uncomfortable truth about us. We elect the leaders that mirror us in several ways. That is why it is we the voters that need conversion before we demand the same from our political leaders. Are we going to tolerate our own down slope slide down the moral ladder as voters? It is time that we reclaim the power of our vote by being critically watchful about our voting behaviour. Ball is certainly in the voter’s court. Let’s not kick it away. Let’s stay in its possession and strike a decisive goal for Goa and our common future.