Indians are steadily coming to terms with the double face of the BJP. We in Goa are also faced with the discomfort of seeing the falling of mask that hid its fearsome face. The view that watches the past of BJP and the looks at the future that seems to emerge out of the growing culture of intolerance and hate puts our present into a nauseating state of anxiety. Babri is followed by Dadri today. It has become unbearable because the crypt under which BJP tried to hide vis-à-vis minorities in country during the national elections can no longer cover its face. In Goa too we have to cope with the same hard truth. The sword of Damocles that seems to be hanging on us in the context of MOI, regional plan, future of Dabolim airport, Romi script etc., seems to be indicating that our Government is dragging its feet only to act at what it deems as an apt moment when it can believe that it is no longer under the watch of our people . This repetitive need to hide into a promised future has begun to test the patience of all Goans. The fact that promises concerning MOI are threatening to remain unfulfilled and clear negative response slammed on the proposal of the Diocesan Society of Education to begin Higher Secondary Schools in remote regions of Goa lead some among us to draw parallels with what has come to be called “First Babri and Now Dadri’. The Psychic impacts of rising intolerance in our country opens us the challenge to fearlessly cross the boundaries of religion, food habits and embrace every Indian in his or her full blooded humanity.
The de-recognition of humanity of some of the sons and daughters of India on basis of something as basic as food has set free a fringe that is allowed to become mainstream. The main streaming of the fringe has raised several questions in our society and several of our great literary souls have raised concern about the growing denial of the right to dissent and have returned their laurels to the Sahitya Academy. While in Goa, the deafening silence to the cry of our people in Ramnathi and others to close down the controversy hit Sanathan Ashram also draws parallels with what we can see at work in the centre. The constant need to show a Nelson’s eye to the issues that paradoxically claim to promote national interest but unfortunately, threaten the very idea of a plural India seems to suggest that our democratically elected Government is weak and lend its strings to be pulled by extra-constitutional forces that form the fringe. There is no secret that the fringe works as foot soldiers to create and maintain its vote bank. Hence, it appears that it is time for the Government to pay them back. Yet in the process, the fact that our people become objects of a double exploitation, one at the hands of the fringe element and the other at the hands of our their political masters becomes an ethical imperative to bring our people to a critical awareness of their predicament. This imperative draws several of us to understand the complex ways by which vote bank politics is generated and maintained by the mainstream political parties, particularly the ruling BJP.
The Article of Mohandas Loleinkar on the Sunday review of Herald, titled “BJP Colour apparent in ward reservation” has brought to light the seemingly unbecoming use of the political apparatus by the ruling party. The apparent use of the state apparatus to carve out delimitations of the wards in several of the Municipal Councils has been echoed with alarm, particularly in Margao. Besides, some people claim that even the ward reserved for women and S T candidates are manipulated to craft a victory of panel led by the ruling dispensation. The situation seems to look like tossing a coin that is manipulated to always read heads. Besides, this alleged crafty delimitation, there is the normal process of manufacturing consent through corner meetings, visits to homes, distribution of literature etc. Here everyone has a level playing field. But there are claims that dummy candidates are fielded by BJP led panels to cut into the vote share of their rivals in places like Cuncolim and Margao . May be others are also indulging into this practice. The fact that the minorities are said to be used to cut into the vote share of minorities opens us to a profound moral dip into our electoral process and speaks ill of us as Christians. It is a democratic right of all to contest elections and cannot be questioned. But an intelligent and responsible voter is challenged to understand the games that politicians are playing only to seize power. The fact that BJP merely won the national election on thirty percent vote share leads us to become watchful of its visible and invisible allies. The same alertness needs to be cultivated with others in the fray too. Besides, there appears a clear use of beef politics to divide Yadhavs against Yadhavs with Lalu Prasad walking into the trap laid for him in Bihar. This calls the voters to be responsively awakened to the sinister practices of divisive politics
The fact that Churchill appeared to have cut into a sizeable minority votes share of Reginald and during the national elections also makes the task of the voter more critical. Fortunately, it appears that the voter today has become alert, sharp and intelligent. The complex dilemmas that a voter is facing today cannot be simplified. Thus, for instance, the battle for Margao has brought a sharp divide in the ST community in Fatorda area which is the sole strong hold of S T region in Margoa . This has led several among us to think that Fatorda is the new lab of the divisive politics of Sang Parivar. The poison of divisive politics appears to be injected against the Mull Goemkar or the original settlers and bearers of Goan-ness. The divisive poison can break the back of the Mull Goemkar and put their future into disarray. This means the Yahav against Yadhav model of divisive politics that seem to have gripped Bihar is being replicated in Mull Goemkar belt in Fatorda. Fortunately, several among them are working against the tide to remain united under difficult circumstances. The battles lines are crossed and heat and dust of the election is rising high and the vicious and vitriolic party politics is throwing its weight upon the people in several ways. Within this hard fought war, the question arises: Will the people of Goa tolerate the BJP that is unable to reign in intolerance in our country? The challenge is not for the BJP to survive. It is challenge for the voters to remain faithful to the core values of Goan-ness and not get swayed by any kind of divisive politics. Will the people stand up for Goa and not fall into the traps laid by a divisive vote bank politics?