Saturday 25 Jun 2022

A twist to Kannadiga script, but it’s time to smell the coffee

THE GOAN NETWORK | MAY 21, 2022, 12:40 AM IST

The Akhil Goa Kannada Maha Sangh on Thursday announced that it would form a panel to contest the upcoming panchayat elections. In what was announced a few days back that the Sangh will float a panel under the name Goan Kannadiga, the president of the Sangh did a U-turn and blamed the media for misquoting him and announced that they will contest the elections under the banner “We Goans”.

While there has been a lot of heat generated over Kannadigas forming a group to contest elections with common citizens going all guns blazing on social media and forums, a large section of the political class remained muted with some expressing helplessness in a democratic setup. A section of the politicos has maintained that anyone is welcome to contest in a fair democracy, while another section saw it as divisive politics with Kannadigas trying to set a unique non-Goan narrative.

Let’s not forget, that Kannadigas, and a large number of migrants from other States, have been active players in the local body elections for several decades with some even scaling the ranks of sarpanchas and deputy sarpanchas for multiple terms. There are certain panchayat wards in migrant-dominated villages where a Goan is reduced to a wafer-thin minority and where wins of migrant candidates are certain, no matter the money and muscle power. With the consistent influx of migrants, the issue of ‘outsiders’ forming a group of their own and fighting out against Goans has understandably created a certain level of unease, but at the same time, it has set the alarm bell ringing. It is undoubtedly not a comfortable situation for any devout Goan even if it is within the ambit of the Constitution because it sets off the Migrants versus Goans narrative, and, secondly, it polarises. On the flip side, the issue has set the common citizens thinking and has brought about rare unity.

While the migrants continue to flock to Goa in search of greener pastures and a second home away from their home, the issue of their acquiring a Goan identity has never been dealt with the seriousness it deserves. Now, for the first time, fear has set in even into the political class that this steady political growth of Kannadigas and other migrants could backfire on political careers and very soon the State could have a Kannadiga MLA in his own right.

The need of the hour is for our political class to go back to the drawing board and think hard about finding ways to secure the identity of the State instead of shouting from rooftops against ‘migrants’ invasion’. There is a need to revisit existing laws like labour laws, inter-state migrant workmen act, and contractual labour act, while also exploring other legislative options. Shun vote-bank politics, stop hiding under the veil of constitution and democracy and kick off a debate in the forthcoming Assembly session in the true spirit of Goem and Goemkarponn.

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