It was a cunning move on the part of the then actual and now de facto Goa CM Manohar Parrikar to refer the issue of Dual Citizenship to Home Ministry at center. In doing so, he has converted already resolved issue into potentially explosive communal controversy for petty political gains. No wonder the dried hay will now be put to its intended use for stoking communal tensions.
This is all about the assembly elections which are only a months away. BJP is hopeful that by playing communal card it can create a divide which will deflect entire electoral debate away from its non-performance for last five years. Campaign has already begun when in the press conference on 7th June in Panaji, Goa Freedom Fighter Association has fired first salvo by demanding the closure of the Portuguese consulate in Goa and threatening to disrupt a heritage festival proposed by its own party. Before this Dual Citizenship issue snowballs into major controversy and pollutes the otherwise centuries of history of communal harmony, it is essential we understand what it is about and where all it started.
Dual Citizenship is a Global problem created by the process of Globalization. Every country is struggling to find a solution. This is an inevitability created in the post-modern society. If the process of Global mobility of labor and capital is irreversible then so is the phenomenon of Dual Citizenship. It is in a way interesting that in every country where this debate has become an important element of political discourse, its proponents often are the right wing parties in those countries who create fervor of jingoistic nationalism and divide the society along the lines of “us” & “They” in order to grab the political center stage. So much for its Global dimension. The Indian context is even more strange and BJP Parivar is not ashamed of being inconsistent about it over the years.
To begin with, the persistent proponents of the demand for Dual Citizenship concept have been the Indian diaspora some 20 million persons of Indian origin who are settled in various countries and hold a passport of their host country. A large part of this group has been important but invisible constituency furthering BJP’s/ parivar’s interest in India. These are the very people, the euphoric millions in Madison court in New York or Wembly Stadium in the United Kingdom who experienced orgasmic pleasure when Modi appeared on the stage.
It was under sustained pressure from this lobby that then BJP Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee appointed a high-level committee headed by BJP Rajya Sabha MP and legal luminary LM Singhvi in the year 2000 to study the Indian diaspora and their expectations of Dual Citizenship and check if it is in conflict with and constitutional provisions.
Justice Singhvi committee resolved most issues pertaining to dual citizenship and opined that the Constitution is no longer a hurdle because it permits the government and Parliament to do what is proper in this matter. Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee has accepted this report and declared that the issue of dual citizenship was resolved. This followed a statement by Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee on the first Pravasi Bharatiya Diwas (PBD) that “Dual Citizenship will soon become a reality”.
However, in a characteristic Vajpayee style, he left a twist in the tail when he stated “We are in favor of Dual Citizenship. Not dual loyalty.” This was a politician talking in the garb of a statesman which in my opinion Vajpayee has always been.
Fast forward to Modi- Bhagwat India. Today this “Vajpayee twist” has become Bhagwat’s test of Loyalty specially tailored for Goa. Ever since Modi came to power with ONLY 30 % of total votes cast, the Sangh Parivar has arrogated to itself right to decide who is anti-national and who is true Indian. One such test is if you apply or hold Portuguese passport you are Anti-national. It is bizarre logic of on one hand granting those rich, well to do Persons of Indian Origin(PIOs) Dual Citizenship, but when it comes to the poor unemployed Indians back home, BJP will neither generate employment for them nor protect them from powerful hotelier or miner lobby usurping their land and avenues for earning. But BJP will brand them anti-national if they apply or hold Portuguese passport which is their best chance to go to a place where they can earn their living. The targeted vengeance does not stop here. BJP demands that the Portuguese consulate be shifted to Delhi so that these anti nationals wanting to acquire Portuguese passport suffer the most.
It is time the Goan Aam Adami see through this BJP-Pariwar double talk and elitism and show them the door in the next Assembly elections