|TOWARDS RE-INVENTING THE POLITICAL WHEEL -I|
TOWARDS RE-INVENTING THE POLITICAL WHEEL -I
I have been following the Gomantak Times’ series by Julio D’Silva and others the ‘Grassroot Champions’ with relish. And it makes me happy to see that so many a good people are defrosting to get themselves organized to demand that the elected government performs in the long term interest of the common people and not in it’s own self-interest, which has been the ‘raison d’etre’ of any past or present government which blame must be owned-up by the electors themselves. And it is seen that the government of the day has consistently been going on the defensive, especially after it has been humiliated into taking back it’s callous decisions and policies w.r.t. RP-2011; SEZs etc. But the coterie that is backing the government is demanding it’s pound of flesh, advising the government not to relent or to give-in to the demands of the people, terming them ‘enemies of development and progress’. They are suggesting that those who are leading these agitations at village levels are just some tin-pot self-appointed local leaders who are misguiding the village folks. Examples of the government going on the defensive are many but a few of the shining ones are, (1) the Amendment to section 16 and 16 A of the TCP Act and (2) various ways, even police intimidation to dilute the clout of the Gram Sabhas which have been seen erupting like active volcanoes hitherto lying dormant and passive.
And one thing that has come out openly from these Grassroot Champions is that something has to be done to arrest this self-serving characteristic or perhaps better defined as the role of ‘commission agents’ played by our elected representatives. But when it comes to the potent question: “will you contest elections”, a spontaneous and forceful ‘NO’, ‘NEVER’ is heard loud and clear. “The System is rotten” they say, “and whoever gets into the system is bound to get rotten too”. “ individuals cannot change the system” …. so on and so forth …. a plethora of valid reasons for not leading the pack of ‘mice’ to bell the proverbial cat.
To me, the happiest and the most un-perturbed persons are those who are being termed rotten, and who are in absolute command to run or ruin our lives through ruining our staple GOA. They see no CHALLENGE, no THREAT forthcoming from any of these potential grassroot champions to try to displace them from their positions of power. They know that come election time, they will be the preferred lot because of their money bags which they have been busy filling up while in power. Besides, they know very well that fighting for a common cause is a very difficult thing to sustain. That it exacts lots of self-sacrifices and inconveniences, commodities which are in very short supply. That the resolve, however iron-clad, is bound to falter in due course of time, if not for anything else, then for being tired-out. They feel safe in the understanding that in time, they will be able to divide and rule, trampling over the grassroot champions, more so, with the vast ammunition at their disposal, the meticulously cultivated vote-banks, not necessarily of Goan origin and their acquired political experience and acumen to sustain these.
So the question that pops up is: ‘What prevents these Grassroot Champions to join forces and come together to develop a SYSTEM that can resist all the forces that sets the rot in? A SYSTEM that has an in-built heavy dose of immunity which can keep the rot at bay? First of, is it possible to come by such a fool-proof SYSTEM? And if it is possible, what would be the first thing that will have to be struck at? If anyone wanted to go in search of immunity from something, wouldn’t one need to identify the very something in the first place? If one does not know or if one is not able to identify what it is that one wants immunity against, then it is clear that a clean system cannot be had. That is what we see happening with these grassroot champions, prompting them to fall back saying “the system cannot be changed and therefore I shall go on doing what I am doing and God help the rest.”
But, if these grassroot champions were to sit down, put their heads together to identify the sicknesses that are affecting the present day politics and politicians, which/who has/have graduated from going worse from bad, one would openly realize that to strike at the base of rotten politics one would have to administer ‘‘political euthanasia’ to the present day politicians, since prolonging their political lives would be of utmost danger to Goa and Goans as a whole. Besides, what guarantee would there be that this infected breed will be cured completely when the infection is complete and absolute? (here, I am hinting at the laudable suggestion made by the maverick freedom fighter, Mr. Lambert Mascarenhas in his article “The Party of my dreams”). The question then arises about the replacement. If the grassroot champions backed-out, one by single one, saying ‘not me’, ‘no’ , ‘never’, then the picnic is over and done with. It is time to fold the chairs and go home.
But let us suppose the resolve is very much there to bell the cat, snatch the rotten SYSTEM OF GOVERNANCE that has done and is doing immense harm and bury, burn it once and for all. In so doing, where would grassroot champions want to start?
To my mind, if self-sacrifice is to be enrolled, the necessity of which cannot be discounted, the thing to go for – like going for the jugular- would be the ‘Office of Profit’ which is the cancerous growth in any political system. The first commandment, therefore, comes into full view. ‘Thou shall, as the elected representative of the people, the MLA, forfeit the right to hold ‘Office of Profit’. That means, as a MLA, one cannot be the Director/Chairperson of any government Institution/Corporation” Incidentally, aren’t these Corporations the gifts to disillusioned MLAs to keep them happy after the plums in cabinet berths have been distributed? Are the grassroot champions OK on this? If yes, ‘very well done’. Let us now try for the next rung.
Does Goa, which is the size of a District of Maharashtra, really require 12 full-blown Ministers, with their ever increasing office trappings, to work individually and un-coordinately, especially when if Goa was merged into Maharashtra to fulfill the MGP’s basic ideology, Goa would be ruled by just one Collector? If profound ‘NO’ rings out as the chorus from the grassroot champions, what would they settle for? Half the size? Six?. Yes? Whow! By this simple and valid reduction, see how much you have SAVED for the beleagured public exchequer? This amount can get hot-mixed roads for the entire length and breath of Goa, even gold-plated at certain important places, to remain intact for 10 or more years. Congratulations! Self-Sacrifice is seen literally over-flowing here…. Cheers all round. Shall we move ahead to gauge the dept of self-sacrifice sack?
How about another commandment ?………. !! “If elected, thou shall not seek re-election for the second term’ !! That means, if elected, none can make a profitable political carrier out of politics like Narvekar, Rane, Churchill, Neri, Ravi, Dr. Wilfred D’Souza, Manohar Parrikar etc. to name a few. Yes? Agreed? How wonderful ! That means Goa can look forward to producing dynamic new-generation-leadership to be guided coaxed and cajoled by the ex-veterans. Well done. Looks like the sack is bottomless. Nevertheless, let’s test it further.
How about “Thou Shall not hold dual posts”.. ‘What do you mean by ‘what is this?’ It is very simple. If you are something in the Party organization, (an office bearer, say ) you have to resign the post if you get elected to any public office. Yes ! Only one post at a time…. Explain? Most willingly. See, if you are the President of the Party ( say GPCC). You have to resign from that post if you get elected as MLA or MP. Capice? How does it help? Simple again. If you take the people/voters as one block, the Political Parties as the second block and the government as the third block, then before elections we have just two blocks which interact with each other. i.e The People and the Political Parties, since the government will come only after the elections. The Party or Parties give lots of promises to the voters to lure them to vote for them. After elections, most of the Party office-bearers who get elected move into the Government to become Ministers etc. The Party sinks from sight or more specifically goes to sleep, since the same guys (office bearers) from the Party who promised the people heaven on earth are now in the government. They have other ideas now, of not sharing the promised ‘HEAVEN’ with the voters/people. Then the duel starts. You say ‘you promised’. They say ‘Government has no money to spare’. You want to complain to the Party. Sadly, it is not there any more. The Party is now the Government. Do you now see how this ‘no dual posts’ thing works? With this commandment in place, the Party never vanishes or goes to sleep. Someone else occupies the post in the Party organization as you move forward as the MLA, MP etc. The Party remains solidly planted in between the people and it’s government, to listen to the people on the one side and to direct the government on the other-side…… ‘Hey, Look here, Charlies!.”The Party has promised to the people the heaven on earth. You make that happen and stop giving them sorry stories. Comprende?”
We do spot big smiles of understanding here? Does that mean that commandment is acceptable? Yes? How wonderful ! Shall we move ahead and try more untested waters for a good measure?
How about – ‘Recall’ ? – Yes, Recall. Just like the team manager in soccer or hockey recalls a player in the middle of the game for lack of performance, substituting him with another. The Indian Constitution does not have it? Of course it doesn’t. But should that prevent you from having it? Come on, any takers? …Who will recall?? The constituents, of course. They are not happy with your play, you come out. There will be a by-election and the constituents will bring in another player and test him/her. This teaches the ousted player a good lesson too, and it also sends a cryptic signal to the new one… Isn’t it?? Ah! You have got it? Fine then. ‘Recall’ we shall have.
Is there some problem here?... Money? What about it? Where will the money come from to fight elections? A Wonderful question especially when we are used to politicians who are flushed with money. Take a good look at that cartoon poster on the wall there, especially designed by Alexys. Don’t understand? Well, let me explain. There are two twin sets -- ‘BEFORE’ & AFTER elections.
See the fat candidate distributing Rs. 500 notes? See the endless line? See the crowed voting booth? See the sting in each voter’s neck, all bunched-up in the candidate’s one hand while he waves a Rs. 500 note in the other? Move on to the next frame. Morcha ! That is right. The same people who took Rs. 500 to vote are now protesting ‘We want water’; ‘No Garbage’; ‘we want decent public transport; un-interrupted power supply……’.The candidate turned MLA commanding his ferocious dog ‘shooo..ghaaa? See how the protestors run helter-skelter, falling over one another? And what is the MLA saying? “ I bought your votes – Now take what you get??
Now see the contrast below. People sitting around their candidate, discussing? People are putting money into the box which says ‘campaign funds’? Read that slogan on the box? Says ‘ SMALL MONEY FROM A LOT OF PEOPLE MAKES BETTER SENSE THAN A LOT OF MONEY FROM ONE PERSON? See the small print below this slogan? “ NOT TO BE SPENT FOR ANY RELIGIOUS PURPOSES” … Now move on to the adjacent frame?. Same Morcha? The candidate turned MLA has no dog but is cornered and sweating? What do the people say? We funded you with our money. Now execute your promises.
Yes? I see there are questions. ?After elections what? ?Who gets to become Ministers?. ?Who will be the CM? Good questions. But we shall have to tackle these in another session.
Until next time then, bye for now. And don’t you forget what you have heard.
| LIFE LINE
|Goa Su-Raj Party has been in existence since 31/08/2000.