ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Carrying on a Dubious Game in Goa?

Once again at the superficial level, Goa seems to be going back to having its politics dominated by the two big national parties. Both have leaders hopping across party lines and who seem well disposed to lobbies ranging from those advocating casinos to destructive strip-mining, especially once they are in power. Neither of these parties seems to be able to go beyond conservative and divisive politics to create a vision for the future of one of India’s most affluent, best educated and outmigration-oriented states.

(This article was earlier posted in the Web Exclusives section of EPW website.)

The Congress and Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) have dominated Goa’s electoral politics for some decades now, with the former beginning in the 1980s and the latter from the mid-1990s. The obvious result of the recently held assembly elections was that the Congress, contrary to all expectations fared better than the BJP with a tally of 17 and 13, respectively, in the 40-seat house. And while the headlines were about the BJP rebounding quickly and unabashedly, a number of important issues have been overlooked.

Depending on one’s viewpoint (or even bias) it is easy to justify one or the other side. The BJP’s snatching or grabbing of power despite winning only 13 seats points to the divided house that the Congress is. The latter’s inability to decide on a leader led the BJP quickly and straight to the governor. It got a head start with the support of smaller parties post-elections and an invitation from the party-nominated Governor Mridula Sinha. Her act was and continues to be contentious to say the least.

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