Silence of electorate on the defection plot is deafening

THE GOAN NETWORK | JULY 27, 2022, 12:01 AM IST

The Congress defection plot appears to have changed course.  Quepem Constituency MLA Altone D’Costa and Cumbarjua constituency MLA Rajesh Faldessai, both prime suspects in the script, while speaking their mind over the weekend made it clear that they will remain put in the Congress party. On Sunday, Altone became the first legislator to invoke the vows taken before God and said that he would do nothing that would displease the divine. Similarly, on the same day, Faldessai announced that he is happy in the Congress and never intended to quit the party.

If we may recall, the 10-day session was a tumultuous phase where perhaps for the first time a leader of Opposition lacked the confidence of his party, and for a short period, winds of political change blew thick and fast. While clouds of uncertainty still hover over the Congress with a section of the party men either disgruntled or ‘retired hurt’ or isolated in the party ranks, the turf war till now has certainly gone the Congress way. To rally back from the edge of a near-wipeout a fortnight back, and at the same time survive the BJP’s power play and hold itself forcing fence sitters to mend ways and retrieve only meant that the Congress has succeeded in outplaying the BJP at their game.

Interestingly, where the flames of defection were still flickering in the background, a motley gathering of citizens gathered at Gandhi Circle, Old Goa on Sunday, to protest against the defection moves of MLAs. While this turned out to be a symbolic protest that did not resonate loud enough across the constituencies, it sent out one clear message - to wake up.

While the news of eight Congressmen partying ways to join the government was raging, the steady silence of the electorate in all eight constituencies was baffling. Ironically, this is the nerve centre of all political issues that Goan politics is grappling with in recent times. Defection has been a poll plank in the 2022 Assembly elections, and despite the vows in churches and temples, the results reflected a resounding slap on those who went against the mandate, none of the promises withstanding. Given this background, the electorate was expected to question its representatives and seek answers when faced with a similar situation once again. This was nothing short of a betrayal and people were expected to speak their minds, not remain muted spectators.

The defining silence in respective constituencies is not a healthy sign for any democracy, especially when a mandate is being brazenly trampled upon. Citizens have every right to seek accountability and demand an explanation for such deceitful and dubious actions from respective legislators. The citizens gathered at Old Goa to protest, even if they were few in numbers, put across a point that nobody found the courage to put forth. Submitting meekly to the whims and fancies of legislators is perhaps the biggest drawback of current-day politics and something to seriously ponder over.

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