DR OSCAR REBELLO 15th Dec 2021
First, let me set the record straight.
I am no longer a card-holding member of AAP.
But I still remain wedded to the original, idealistic, romantic vision of AAP.
You can take a Man (or Woman) out of AAP, but you can never take AAP out of the person.
Second, this is not an AAP-bashing spree, I still love my original AAP guys and gals, just an honest critique that I need to get off my chest.
Third, sure AAP is making some compromises and playing realpolitik because it is impossible for a political party to be a virginal saint when the entire electorate they seek to serve want an unhindered, uninhibited, shameless wild romp in the hay.
So in Goa, what is AAP doing right??
And what is it doing grossly wrong??
Let's get to the right stuff.
1. Talking to the Hindu voter.
This was absolutely necessary as 65% of Goan voters are Hindu.
And any political party worth its salt cannot take such a huge vote bloc for granted.
This is not communalism or soft Hindutva.
This is democracy the last time I understood it .
And when you have a conversation with a community, you must talk in their language, their idiom, their symbolism.
So yes AAP must talk about the festivals and religious symbolism of the Hindus, the ancient traditions of our original inhabitants, the Kunbis and Gaudas and Velips (who by the way are the only Goans who genuinely love this land, the rest only pay lip service and look out for the next Delhi buyer).
AAP must talk about Shivaji and celebrate Sambhaji, in particular for their heroic exploits in taking Goa back from the Portuguese.
These heroes are etched reverentially in many Goan minds.
And most importantly, despite the continuous attempt of branding AAP an RSS front, never has AAP weaponised the Hindu faith against the minorities.
It is not in their genetic make-up.
And AAP celebrates the Christian traditions and Muslim festivals, but not just so that the left liberal intelligentsia can anoint them "secular".
2. Instituting the myriad schemes and policies which have been successful in Delhi, and which get implemented on the ground.
That drive by AAP has been replicated by other political parties as well.
A perversely @Me Too political movement.
3. Having a strongly committed and dedicated Cadre on the ground.
Credible, fastidious, and never say die .
They are the real unseen treasures of AAP.
And now for all that's wrong ....
1. Every political party has a non-negotiable core.
That is what makes it unique.
Whatever the faults and inadequacies of the Gandhi clan, they do not allow the Congress to flinch from its pluralistic, liberal core.
Whatever the faults and inadequacies of Modi - Shah, they don't flinch from their Hindutva core .
AAP’s signature tune was NON-CORRUPTION
And demonstrably, by inducting and now powering to the helm of affairs guys, who do not know how to spell non-corruption, is a disaster in the making.
There are still ideologically driven personally non- corrupt folk in the AAP who must be showcased in the sun.
Even if you are compromising with some unsavory characters, they must necessarily be in the shadows.
2. This inexplicable deificatiom of Manohar Parrikar, a completely staunch BJP giant, as an AAP icon.
For God's sake we fought the Manohar Parrikar vision for Goa all our lives.
We exposed his double-speak on every issue he fought for as opposition leader only to then backtrack when in power.
How does his vision of converting Goa into concrete suddenly become appealing now??
Sure, Manohar Parrikar had sterling qualities as a leader but he did not fight and deliver on our demand of Goa being an environmentally progressive and sustainable state.
Why not salute Pratap Singh Rane, another stalwart leader who has delivered for Goa immeasurably??
Is it because there is no vote forthcoming from that stable for AAP??
If so, that is cynicism at its best.
3. I have spoken to quite a few political observers who insist that AAP is playing the Congress-BJP game—and playing it badly.
The same money splash, personality cult and cut-outs, the tall promises, the same push and shove.
But this again is not the AAP genetic trait.
It's like a Rajnikant vs Ranbir Kapoor boxing bout.
Rajnikant easily wins.
The reason I write this, though frankly I have no moral right to do so since I am off the field, is because AAP needs to keep its morale going post 2022. Even if they don't set the Mandovi on fire this election cycle.
They have the selfless volunteers, they have the passion, they have the sense of service (as evidenced during the Covid crisis), and like the Revolutionary Goans, they have a Cadre prepared to fight the good fight.
My prediction for 2022, despite the hype and hoopla that it is going to be: as George Carlin the insightful American comedian would say, Goans are only going to shovel the sh** around!
So TMC or BJP or CONG or MGP are going to serve you as the same destroyers of Goa, perhaps in a different avatar.
So the plunder and promises, the destruction and deceit, the horror and humor that will ravage Goa post 2022 will continue unabated.
There is one tiny little solution possible, but I know no one will bite.
Every Goan voter, in all 40 constituencies, whatever thy political persuasion, must strive to elect a completely brand new legislator to the assembly.
Show every single current and past legislator the door.
That way if you have new faces who do not yet know the ropes, Goa can push them hard to enact legislations for Goa’s betterment.
Or else if you go for the old wine in even older bottles, you are not just going to pushed around, but crushed forever post 2022.
Rest In Peace Goa!
Wouldn't quite say it was a pleasure knowing you!