Parties eye BJP, but in Benaulim ready to fight each other


Coastal Benaulim suddenly turned into a war zone on Sunday.The constituency which is now with lone NCP MLA Churchill Alemao, finds a hotcontest building up. Till now what was a straight fight between strongcontenders Aam Aadmi Party and NCP, has now turned into a four-way battle forsupremacy with Congress and new entrant Trinamool Congress flexing theirmuscles.

The objective of seeing a bigger enemy in BJP and LuizinhoFaleiro's introductory remarks that he is in TMC to bring together the Congressfactions appear farfetched against what is seen in Benaulim where all fourparties eyeing the secular vote bank are crossing swords to have a largershare, and the BJP is nowhere in the frame.

TMC national leader Derek O'Brien thundered in Benaulim thathe bought a house in Goa and will stay put till the Narendra Modi-ledgovernment is ousted in the 2024 elections. The new TMC recruit in Benaulim, anoted tiatr producer, heaped lavish praise on party supremo Mamata Banerjeesaying she is the only one who can destroy the BJP. The point here is, if TMCis out here to fight the BJP, what is its objective in Benaulim? It appearsthat the TMC is riding on Mamata’s victory in Bengal to only position itself asa staunch BJP opponent. In Benaulim, it is obvious that the TMC is attempting asplit in secular votes.

Cut into the Congress, and P Chidambaram descended on thecoastal constituency on Sunday holding out a new promise but remainingnon-committal on aligning with the NCP. Congress like always keeps the suspensegoing probably to keep its leaders and rivals guessing. But why did Congressdescend on Benaulim? Was it to reassure voters that the party is going to enddefections, and the mistake of 2017 will not be repeated?

Yes, the trend of defections has to stop, but there's hardlyanything that Rahul Gandhi, Chidambaram and others can do as leaders continue towalk in and out of the party. Defections have become part and parcel ofpolitical regimes, and therefore, instead of an empty assurance, there have tobe more realistic goals. At this time, Congress needs to seriously introspecton the quality of leaders it is importing, rather than crying over spilt milk.

So what’s the Congress mantra on defections now? Compel theleaders to take vows in churches and temples as indicated in Benaulim? Whippingup religious sentiments to restore public confidence is an old trick that hasno relevance. It's time politicos refrain from giving such false hopes ofsecurity to the people of Goa.

Congress has shown seriousness in words, but there is verylittle change on the ground. Thankfully, after a Herculean effort, the partymanaged to salvage Aleixo Reginaldo from the brink, although it remains to beseen how it manages to deliver the "new role" promise. If the partyis to shun defections, then it should have shunned the party-hoppers anddissidents instead of showcasing them as probable winners. The Congress has tofirst walk its talk.

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