Tuesday 26 Sep 2023

Don't play with people's faith, stop 'God' politics


Have the religious vows in politics set a new trend in Goa? Are gullible Goans being exploited in the name of religion? Or is the political class making a sheer mockery of people's faith in the divine? These questions haunt us as legislators show a penchant for making religious vows and breaking them at will. Taking recourse to a divine outreach appears to be the new narrative in a state bound by religious belief and faith. It was in January 2022 that Congress decided to rebuild itself using religious faith as a cornerstone. Candidates invoked Gods and Goddesses and took vows against defections, knowing well religion is the single most influential factor that can bring about a paradigm shift in mindsets. To a large extent, Congress achieved what it had set out to do and resurrected itself, with eleven of its leaders getting elected. The party had started miserably, with pundits raising concerns about the party being decimated at the hustings.What was seen in September 2022 was shameful and in complete contrast to the pre-poll promises. If one goes into flashback, the vow of not playing 'dirty' politics akin to the 2019 defection stands out, which is why this defection is more hurtful. Margao MLA Digambar Kamat, who has been the butt of all jokes, has been quoted as recalling his conversation with God and how he was allowed to go ahead with the defection. Siolim constituency MLA Delilah Lobo had an equally mischievous answer that the vow was not to bring BJP to power. Cut into the Margao Municipality election, the sacred vow has retaken centre stage, but this time it was the BJP. The BJP-backed councillors and the Digambar faction had taken a vow before Lord Dambab at the Zambaulim temple to stay united at the election of the chairperson held last week. The irony is that five councillors cross-voted, leading to a stunning defeat of Damu Shirodkar, which left even Chief Minister Pramod Sawant red-faced.

On Sunday, a group of people prayed before Lord Bodgeshwar to "teach defectors a lesson". The bitterness and anger across Goa are apparent; in some instances, even religious figures have not been spared because they promoted candidates who have now switched sides.

The increasing cases of politicians taking vows to sway opinion using 'God' as a handy tool expose another dimension of the defection plot. People feel betrayed and cheated. It's time people shun politicians taking vows and pledges because the political class only reinforces their belief in the old saying, "promises are meant to be broken." A mockery is made of Gods and people's faith in the divine.

Legislators have exposed their selfish sides by breaking vows to fulfil political ambitions. The 'God' politics must stop because elected representatives are vitiating the space in a State like Goa, where communal harmony and tolerance are the highlights. Stop playing with the religious sentiment and the faith of the people of Goa.

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