‘Amchi kama zaupak zai’: What drives voters to vote for a politics bereft of ideology
PANAJI: Politics is a dog eat dog world. There is no time for losers and it increasingly appears, there is no time for those with principles either. A quick glance at Goa’s political landscape and it is quickly apparent that it increasingly appears to be a politics that is bereft of ideology.
Democracy was set up with hallowed principles with the vision that the people will choose their leaders to represent them based on what they stand for, the causes they espouse and the economic policies that their parties represent.
But in Goa, none of that seems to be applicable. There are only two kinds of politicians — powerful politicians and non powerful politicians. Mostly it is the powerful politicians that win, and on the odd occasion that a non-powerful politician does manage to win, he is quickly bestowed the moniker — giant killer and his battle likened to a David vs Goliath battle.
But those are the exceptions — the norm is that the powerful politicians, more often than not, win. Having learnt this crucial lesson over the years, political parties have decided to abandon the pursuit of principles and today are only interested in entering upon a pursuit of the politicians themselves.
Examples abound. And in fact, as a recent report by the Hindustan Times points out — more than 50% of Goa’s elected MLAs are today in a party different from the one that they were elected from back in 2017. This shift happened seamlessly and barring a few examples many of them are confident of being elected again but this time on the ticket of a different party — so different that the stated ideology of the old and the new party are diametrically apart.
Even the parties that promised to change Goa’s politics claiming that the opposition has been ineffective — the TMC in particular– have not brought in anything new, besides thousands of billboards of course. They have only bought over the individuals calling into question whether they can really bring in a change when the actors are the same and only the theatre company is different?
Take the Trinamool Congress for instance — its oft repeated line of attack has been that it will not sell out MLAs to the BJP like the Congress has done — while simultaneously winning MLAs other parties — the Congress in particular — in a manner similar to what the BJP has done over the past five years. How can you claim to be different when you are doing the same things that you say you are here to fight against?
Another example is independent legislator Rohan Khaunte. Khaunte has done multiple gymnastics to reach where he currently is. He began in 2012 as an independent MLA fighting against the BJP and won despite a challenge from the BJP and the NCP’s Fermeena Khaunte. In 2017 he was an independent MLA supported by the Congress. He then joined the BJP led government and was made minister. After being dropped from the cabinet by Pramod Sawant, Khaunte started railing and ranting against the government and even got a case registered against him for allegedly attacking BJP office bearer Premanand Mhambre. It was quite literally a fight between the two. He is now in the BJP after a brief flirtation with the Congress in which he got his members to join the party in anticipation of his supposed entry.
He is now in the BJP and has seemingly been best of friends with the people he was cursing for a few months back.
The Congress, claims to have taken a principled stance in not allowing defectors back in the party. But will that payoff? Or does the party need to be more street smart as some are suggesting? Only time will tell.
If there are winners, there will also be losers. In this case the loser is the voter and the citizen, who is faced with a choice of himself abandoning all semblance of propriety and deciding that if politicians can cash in at the time of elections, why shouldn’t the voter when he has the chance and the cycle continues.
But more than that, it is the party karyakarta who gives his time, his money and his might into winning the seat for the party because he believes in the ideals that the party claims to espouse. However, for all his hard work he gets nothing in return, not even the satisfaction of having done a good job and ensured the victory of his party.
He can complain all he wants but at the end of the day he will realise that he was not valued by the party that he himself valued very much.
There is really only one way out of this — for the people to come together and decide that they will not be taken for a ride time and again and that the common good is more important than the individual need. It is time for the voter to come together and decide that we need a better system than having to rely on a corrupt politician taking advantage of a corrupt system to get their kama done. The days of amchi kama zaupak zai should be consigned to history and a system where the government works for everyone is the need of the hour
By – Andrea Fernandes