The Verdict is out...

Manohar Parrikar, I keep saying, is an excellent administrator. But I am surprised that he suddenly turned populist and promised to abolish the VAT on petroleum products. If I were him, I would stay away from tall promises. As a BJP CM and, most probably, the State’s Finance Minister, he cannot afford to forget that he has to deal with an antagonistic Congress-led UPA government at the Centre

By Mário Cabral e Sá

 

nd the winner is: the self-defanged BJP. They have their work stream all cut out for them. They have to prove that they have changed for good from their khaki chadis, kali topis and lathis in their hands. They have to also prove, in the days to come, that the secular image Manohar Parrikar sculpted for his party was not a Carnaval mask but a permanent - at the very least 5 year - change from their Hindutva creed to a real belief that Ramayana and the Mahabharata are not the only epics to go by. That the Bible, too, is a fine book, essential reading so to speak. So is the Koran. That Guru Nanak spoke a lot of sense when awakened from his sleep by an acolyte for having his feet pointing to the West and he said, "Then turn them to where God is not".

Manohar Parrikar, I keep saying, is an excellent administrator. But I am surprised that he suddenly turned populist and promised to abolish the VAT on petroleum products. If I were him, I would stay away from tall promises. As a BJP CM and, most probably, the State’s Finance Minister, he cannot afford to forget that he has to deal with an antagonistic Congress-led UPA government at the Centre. Or does he count on fellow-BJP Narendra Modi of Gujarat, who is an excellent administrator and has loads of money (his communal bias notwithstanding) to come to his rescue?

The exhilaration about the voting percentage being an incredible 81.3 per cent, an all time high (much to scientist Dr Nandkumar Kamat’s bewilderment, over 90 per cent in remote Vishundrem, Nudem, Verlem) is in the air. I for one shamelessly confess that I have never been to any of those places. And with my computer in disrepair for so long that nothing anymore can be done, Google world is beyond my reach.

But remember, the best perfumes evaporate if you keep the bottle open. I think it is time to seal the bottle and store it in the loft as a happy memory which might not repeat in the near future. There were plenty of reasons for people to come out and express their angst against a government that started well, but, sadly, soon lost its way.

And just as well that I did not vote. It was a more effective way of expressing displeasure and rejection of all candidates than the much tom-tommed section 49 O by the pro-honesty Anna Hazare team. EVMs, as some voters discovered to their dismay, have no button for it, and one has to declare it loud and clear to the presiding officer and embarrass oneself.

I must be honest with the reader and admit that in my last week’s column "Of Scullers, Scoundrels and Scallywags" I had thought that, nevertheless, the "Churchill team stood the best chance of ruling Goa" though I had also said "it would be a crying shame". As it turned out, Churchill, the football aficionado, was defeated by his former goalkeeper Avertano Furtado. Of course, his estranged Cumpar Luizinho Faleiro had a hand in it. If last time Churchill won with the BJP’s ‘tenko’, Luizinho did it this time in exactly in the same way. It is something Madam Sonia would not like to hear. For she implicitly trusts Luizinho, and would not like to see him stabbing a fellow-Congressman in the back, even if he more than deserved it. Just as well that Glenn Ticlo, who mauled Dayanand Narvekar, is a former footballer and not a cricketer or the indoor Duler stadium would vanish from under his feet.

If a Goan generally is "socessegado" (that is the correct spelling post the 1957 Luzo-Brazilian linguistic accord, please note) and silent, (sweet talker as well) this election she/he just went berserk as a bee would if its hive had been stoned.

I had also put my money, despite their heavy criticism by me, on the Congress-NCP alliance. To my immense embarrassment, the Congress could not reach double figures, and NCP scored a resounding zero.

According to newspaper reports Joaquim Alemao was left dejected when he and his son lost their respective seats on Tuesday. Joaquim Alemao had to request security forces and PI, Dharmesh Angle to get a car inside the counting premises at Damodar College, Margao to take him out. Denied a vehicle, he was forced to walk out amidst boos from supporters. Later in the evening, I believe, he suffered a mild heart attack and was moved to a hospital in Mumbai. His son Yuri and other members of the family rushed with him to the plane. Earlier, Joaquim had denied that the loss was due to the ‘family raj’ issue. Churchill and daughter Valanka contested polls from Navelim and Benaulim, respectively, who were all shown the door by the voters.

Valanka, on the other hand, thought it hard to believe that till Election Day it was "Valanka, Valanka everywhere", but that she was nowhere near the winning post on the counting day. The brave girl that she is (she is not one of those once bitten twice shy), she has vowed that she will be at it the next time round.

Diggu-bab, the wise man that he is, knows that he was done in by the High Command emissaries, Oscar Fernandes and Jagmeet Singh Brar. The way to feel the people’s pulse is not to shut oneself in 5-star + resorts. Like my grandfather and excellent physician Dr Luis António Xavier Cabral, the way to do it in poor hamlets is to sit on cowdung plastered floors and take the patient’s right hand in his own right hand, hold his pocket watch with his left hand and count the beats, not just once but at least thrice, and, then take the mean.

I know that Diggu-bab knows who let him down, how and why. It was men like Churchill and Vishwajit. For the gods from Manguesha to Shiva and Madam Sonia-ji were all for him. Every time I sought an interview, his trusted OSD Verlekar, the son of one of Goa’s greatest jewellers, Atmaram, and my co-villager, would tell me, very politely, that Boss either was on a pilgrimage or busy praying at a pooja.

Manohar-bab is shrewd enough to extricate himself out of a crisis. Even as a crisis of plenty as he is facing right now. His newly found Kirge-bav will be more difficult to handle then his Hindu apostles. He has just 12 loaves to go around, but count the corporations among the fishes, and if they are not enough for the first helping, he won’t lack the imagination to create some more.

All said and done this an experiment that must succeed if communal amity is to last in Goa and is not just a flash in the pan.