Perhaps, Goans are the most simple and humble people I have come across till date. The kind of hospitality that you will enjoy in Goa will be seldom to get in any other part of the India. Although, Goa is very much part of India but people of Goa are completely different compared to the people in rest of the India. Goans love to dwell in Peace and Harmony. They like to wine and dine and partying whole night. But one thing they don’t like at all is the intrusion of unknown people in their personal space. The people of Goa are highly reserved as far as the acceptance of any adaptation is concerned. Basically, they do not like the alterations in the existing system and when someone tries to change their mindset against their will and wishes than that is the end of their relationship with that particular entity. Under such circumstances, the political battle in Goa is spreading the different colours. Along with the existing political parties, the new players also trying to penetrate into the Goan politics. Does this changing face of the politics in Goa will be able to change the mindset of Goans? or the Goans will change the game? This article will give you the comprehensive insight into The Changing Face of Politics in Goa. 

Goa had been ruled by the Portuguese for more than 450 years and that is a classic example of how much Goans get adapted to the system regardless of the prevailing situation. Even today if you ask any hardcore Goan, they will say, the Portuguese were the best rulers. After Goa attained the freedom with the efforts of Goan freedom fighters and interference of the Indian Military the first political party that took over the control of Goan politics was MGP (Maharashtrawadi Gomantak Party). MGP ruled Goa very well for more than a decade, under the able leadership of Bhausaheb Bandodkar. followed by the Congress that ruled Goa for more than two decades.

When MGP was ruling Goa, people did not want the change and it took nearly one and a half decades for the Congress (that was the only party in the center then) to get their hold on the Goan politics. Congress ruled Goa for more than two decades with few breaks in between. After Congress took over Goan politics, it became nearly impossible for the MGP to regain the power in Goa. MGP was struggling to get their hold back into the politics of Goa but they forgot that Goans may not accept what they have already given up.

During the Congress rule, another political party that started raising its head in the Goan politics was BJP (Bhartiya Janata Party), but people of Goa did not accept it. It took BJP more than a decade to get into the Goan politics. Slow and steady they finally managed to enter into the Goan politics with few seats in assembly but still the dream of ruling Goa was very far from the reality. Mr. Parrikar was carrying the baton of BJP in the state and he started building the stronghold on Panaji which otherwise remained as an unimportant seat in the Goa assembly till Mr. Parrikar made it the most important.

People of Goa, as mentioned earlier, were not ready for the change and the Congress regime continued for more than two decades with virtually no developments taking place in the state. Goans were not bothered about the same as according to the sources, the ruling party was feeding many wasted interests for keeping themselves in the power. At this juncture, the BJP under the guidance of Mr. Parrikar started showing the dream of development in the state to the Goans. By that time, the people of Goa started getting ready for the change. But the dream of BJP still remained unfulfilled as the Congress were not in the mood to give up the power since it has become the most intoxicated for them.

The ruling Congress was doing hardly anything in the name of development in the state, except for running the tourism and mining business into the complete disaster by exploiting it to the maximum for their personal gains. The people of Goa have begun realizing the value of development and started looking out for options. No doubt that the BJP took full advantage of the situation and provided the people of Goa with the option of better leadership and development in the form of Parrikar Government. Mr. Manohar Parrikar knew that people of Goa were getting ready for the change and he offered the complete development of the state and BJP took over the Goan politics in the year 2004 for the first time but it was the coalition government with the help of some rebels and other power hungry politicians in the Goan politics.

At that point of time, the BJP started telling the people of Goa that, Congress gave Goa nothing except the Statehood and Casinos and that they (BJP) will remove the Casinos out of Mandovi and will give the Goa corruption free and transparent governance. But at that time BJP had no power in the assembly but due to Mr. Parrikar’s witty politics, BJP became one of strong opposition in the house. It was at the end of 1999, Mr. Parrikar found the backdoor entry into the Goan politics by the way of opening the doors of opportunities to some rebel congressmen which resulted into Curtorim MLA, Fransico Sardinha taking over as CM of Goa with the help and support of Mr. Parrikar.

Although, as the per game-plan of Mr. Parrikar, Sardinha did not remain CM for long and soon BJP formed their first coalition government in Goa in the year 2002 by making the opposition leader Mr. Manohar Parrikar the CM of Goa. Mind it, here the people of Goa were still not ready for the change but it was their elected representatives who deceived the Goans then.

BJP entered into the politics without the people’s (Goans) mandate but it did not remain there for long and Congress took over the baton Goan politics once more. This time Mr. Rane (Pratapsing) took over as CM of Goa once again and he was later succeeded by Mr. Digambar Kamat, who remained in the power till 2012 when the people of Goa finally decided to give a complete mandate to BJP by throwing the Congress out of power. In 2012 elections, the Congress was reduced to a minority with hardly 7 seats. People gave the mandate to BJP only for one reason, and that was the overall development Goa. Mr. Parrikar assured the people of Goa that he will soon resume the mining and will throw Casinos out of the Mandovi river when he took over as CM in 2012.   

In 2012 assembly election people of Goa gave a complete mandate to the BJP and brought them to power only on the assurance of Resuming of the mining and eradication of Casinos from the Mandovi river. But according to the people of Goa, whatever happened in the past 5 years was the complete disaster. People of Goa started feeling deceived by the BJP. Casinos did not leave Mandovi and Mining was never restored back to normal. People started asking, What development took place in the state besides the number if bridges and permanent venue for the IFFI? The time started changing as the new generation of the voters started asking the questions. (which they never asked ion the past). The people of Goa and media started reminding Mr. Parrikar about the promises that he made before coming to power but he had no satisfactory answers except his arrogance which started getting uncovered with the time. 

According to the people of Goa, While Mr. Parrikar was sitting in the opposition, he assured the people of Goa of removal of casinos from Mandovi, but when he came into the power, he did not keep his promise. In this bargain, the Parrikar government got the trademark of “U-Turn” Government from the people of Goa. But before things go further, Mr. Parrikar left the Goan politics and went to become the Defence Minister of India, under the newly formed Modi Government. People felt betrayed one again when BJP imposed the new CM candidate on them without their consent. According to the people of Goa, they had elected the BJP under the able leadership of Mr. Parrikar and that they always wanted to see him as the CM of Goa.   

As mentioned earlier, the people of Goa have now started asking the questions and unlike earlier, the new generation was getting on to the social media and started expressing their rage over the misgovernment of BJP during past few years. BJP came into the power due to their tall promises and strong leadership which was somehow lost after Mr. Parrikar left Goa to take over the bigger responsibilities in Delhi. The new CM, Mr. Parsekar started becoming the subject of mockery in the social media where the today’s generation dwell day in and day out. This changing trend made many more political parties get mushroomed in the state and that resulted in the entry of new political party “AAP”.

AAP (Aam Aadmi Party) which has already generated the substantial amount of media publicity due to their governance in Delhi, had decided to enter into the Goan politics and within a short span of time, they gained a lot of publicity in the state of Goa. Their agenda was very simple, provide the corruption free government and remove the highly corrupt BJP and Congress from the Goan politics. With this agenda, AAP appointed nearly 40 candidates in Goa and also declared the CM candidate for Goa. Till this time only MGP and AAP managed to declare the CM candidates in Goa.

AAP’s policy of clean and corruption free government gave them a lot of mileage in the political arena of Goa. By now the Goan voters have started becoming more alert about their rights and role they play in the formation of the government. The split of MGP from BJP amounted into putting one more nail in the coffin of the ruling party. But smart BJP somehow managed to get two Congress rebels into their party turning their loss into the gain. MGP under the leadership of Mr. Sudin Dhavalikar decided to contest the election with the help of BBSM (another BJP rebel) and Shiv Sena. Based on the current proposition, BJP fell apart alone in this game with nobody was ready to form an alliance with them.

Babush Monseratte, the Taleigao heavyweight, formed his own party UGP (United Goans Party) and joined the hands with Vijay Sardesai’s Goa Forward keeping the Congress as one more option (alliance) in the assembly election to defeat the ruling BJP. According to the sources, this resulted in the four-sided fight which became the deciding factor of the political parties in Goa. BJP was on one side (going solo) and the AAP was on another side. Congress along with the allies were holding the position and MGP who was almost reduced to the minority was taking one more chance this time by getting connected with (BJP rival) BBSM and Shiv Sena. But according to the sources, the chances of MGP is very negligent this time.

Finally, the elections are already over and the fate of each candidate has got sealed inside the ballot box. The political proposition is changing in the state as the Goans are becoming more responsible and aware of their rights. The social media is also playing the key role in the formation of political equations in the state. The chances of survival are more for the political party that will assure the development and reduction in the corruption. People of Goa are also famous for giving the chance to the new entrants as they have done in the past and hence the chances of AAP getting the majority may become the game changer in Goan politics. There is another possibility of getting the hung assembly also cannot be ruled out this time. It will entirely depend on what people of Goa had decided this time. Taking the above fact into the consideration if the elections are won with the money and muscle power (as everybody says) then chances of AAP winning this election is completely ruled out. Nevertheless, the final victory will only display the changing face of the politics in Goa.