New Delhi: The Congress’ de facto boss Rahul Gandhi is enroute his mega campaign dubbed Bharat Jodo Yatra, and even as that happens the Congress party itself seems to be swinging from one problem to another.
The latest once again coming from India’s smallest state, Goa. Eight of the eleven Congress MLAs have decided to pledge loyalty to the BJP in the state. The MLAs are led by Michael Lobo the MLA from Calangute who ironically jumped ship from the BJP to the Congress just ahead of the state elections in February this year.
Along with him is Congress veteran and former CM Digambar Kamat who was also imported from the BJP into the Congress. With this defection the Congress unit in Goa is virtually destroyed.
In Goa, MLAs jumping ship is something the Voters have now got used to. With a cumulative strength of just 40 MLAs in the assembly the mathematics are prone to trading. In 2019 when the BJP led by Pramod Sawant formed the Govt after the death of Manohar Parrikar eleven MLAs from the Congress resigned and then contested on a BJP ticket to return as MLA and even minister.
That group was led by Atanasio Monserrate and his wife, three years later it is another husband-wife duo that have done the Congress in. Michael Lobo and his wife Delilah, both elected MLAs managed to convince eight of the 11 MLAs to crossover and end the Congress’ hope of being a token opposition in the state.
For those with elephantine memory will recall the visuals from February 2022 when these MLAs publicly pledged loyalty to the Congress at a Church, a Dargah and a temple and then again with Rahul Gandhi in attendance. Well, that loyalty sure means little when it comes to a state like Goa.
Every MLA wants his pound of flesh and there is no better way to ensure survival than by being close to the seat of power. Digambar Kamat who faces both ED and CBI cases had been publicly castigated by the late Manohar Parrikar and much of his 2012 campaign was based on allegations of corruption against the Kamat Government.
Now Kamat has found refuge in the BJP and very likely will be washed clean of any such allegations. The same goes for Michael Lobo, one of the richest MLAs in Goa who faced multiple allegations of corruption even when he was a BJP minister. Today both of them and their acolytes have donned saffron, truly necessity is the mother of political compulsion.
In the middle of it all is the Goan voter, watching all the action from the sidelines. Each of the forty assembly constituencies have an electorate no larger than 25 lakh people, so the chance is that each voter knows his or her MLA closely.
When a voter chose a representative, he votes not just for the man but the ideology that he or she represent. So, the voter is truly being cheated by the opportunistic MLAs who have absolutely no intention of serving anyone but themselves.
Having said that this is also an obituary for the Congress party in the state. A Konkani proverb goes “If a blade cuts your hand, do not blame the coconut.” For the Congress that realisation hopefully will dawn.
In 2017 the party then helmed by General Secretary Digvijay Singh saw power slip from its grip despite being the single largest party and now when the party was fighting to survive the onslaught by the AAP and New entrant Revolutionary Goans it has seen its base completely destroyed and is in no position to make a comeback. Goa is now “Congress Mukt”.