The Tangle of the One and the Many in Goan Politics

Image Credit: Media India Group

The political context in our country seems to have become a contest of the same. Each political party is trapped into playing the other of same to us. What does this mean? Maybe an example will assist us to illustrate this dynamics. BJP seems to play the other of Congress. We may ask: what is wrong in being the other of Congress? Ostensibly, there appears nothing wrong at its face value. If one looks at this dynamics profoundly with the help of psychoanalytical tools, we may get an insight into the politics both in our country and Goa. This means we have to attentively discern the question of the other raised by political parties inhabiting our political space. Another way of looking at this vital issue is to study how the many are subjugated by the one in our political scenario. Here we will have to interrogate some of  our assumptions that uncritically hold that the one has to be over many. Therefore, what is many will have to become a copy of the one. The many thus is hierarchized and kept second to privileged one. Now, in a multi-party democracy like India, it would be interesting to trace how all parties have played second to the one that is regarded as the original archetype. This original archetype becomes the background for the rest of political parties to claim their political space from time to time. The political landscape being dynamic, the one that assigns the rest a second position keeps shifting. Sometime ago the one that occupied this dominant position was Congress. But things have changed today. At present the privileged one that has pushed every other party in a secondary position is undoubtedly the BJP. Within our political landscape, every other major political party like the INC, NCP, AAP and the rest are playing the other of BJP and in a way playing second to it. Hence, we seem to be trapped in a familiar discourse of ‘tu tu mein mein’ between and beyond the voices that have become second to the first (BJP).

In a political scenario where one ensnares the other to be second, the political discourse is set by the one and every other voice becomes its echo at the other end of the spiral of communication. This means in our contest, the political discourse is mainly set by the dominant BJP that has also usurped the apparatus of mass communication. Even when the secondary other (like Congress, AAP, Goa Forward in the Goa ) contests and interrogates the discourse of the dominant one, the secondary other can speak only within the discursive framework of the one (BJP). This does not mean, the secondary other does not have to contest the dominant discourse. Indeed, the secondary other in our political landscape is not a monolith. Neither does it have to merely generate a counter discourse that remains imprisoned into the discursive frame set by the dominant one. It however  has to raise a new discourse by changing the discursive framework at play. The change in discourse has to be simultaneously counter-discourse to the political discourse of the dominant other and dismantle the privileged location of the imperial one (the BJP). This is the only way of breaking the chain that pushes the otherised parties to be others of BJP. Hence, instead of becoming  relatively good copies of the Imperial one (The BJP in our context), each political party has to strive to dismantle/ derail the dominant and dominating discourse unleashed by the imperial one. Democracy should be the reversal of many over one but we seem to be hooked by the regime of dominant one over many. This is why we seem to be replicating the same old corruption under different labels where each political party becomes nothing but the other of the same. Maybe, we have to rethink the relation of one and many as a plural relation of many and not one over many.

The political reproduction of dominant one over secondary many can be arrested by extricating the otherised others from the dominant one. This will open us to the plural relation of many and is truly a democratic practice. It is only by refusing to be the other of the same (one) that true democracy can flourish among us. This means the plural of the many finds its sovereign voice and does not merely echo/repeat the voice of the dominant one. The change of discourse that will reverse the regime of one over many has to transcend the discourse set by the dominating one over the rest. Therefore, in the context of the simmering political situation in Goa, we have to ascertain which parties are best suited to change the discourse that can dismantle the dominant one. We have already found that the Congress seems to have lost its unique voice and has somehow settled to be the other of the dominant BJP. Hence, it fails to inspire confidence to unsettle BJP. The politics of playing the  other of BJP cannot succeed because the people of Goa have several viable choices which they lacked during the last election wherein  BJP craftily played the other of Congress. NCP also appears to be playing the other of Congress and hence, the political space it enjoyed is shrinking very fast. The independent legislators who won last time cannot become invisible players of the BJP once again. With MGP apparently dancing to the tunes of BJP and reinforcing the discourse set by it, we seem to be left with AAP and Goa Forward to usher in the change in discourse that will unsettle the ruling BJP and its (visible and invisible) allies. Hence, the question boils down to the fact that determines whether these two parties will become sucked into playing the other of BJP and die the Congress way or would they come together as two distinct voices that refuse to  be the other of ruling BJP and stay together without being the other of each other. The anti-corruption of AAP may not be enough to set a new discourse to unseat the ruling BJP. Besides, sometimes AAP has been appropriated as the other of BJP that would only lead BJP to power. Hence, its anti-corruption stand long with the Goa-centric core ideology of Goa Forward that seeks to make the people  of Goa as the sole high command  seems to  have seeds of destruction for the BJP and its (visible and invisible)allies in Goa provided they refuse to be the others of BJP.

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Hypocrisy is the tribute that vice pays to virtue.

- Fr Victor Ferrao