Babush Monserrate (left) and Surendra Furtado (right)

By Tara Narayan

SAY what you like? In the perennial fight for ache din the only choice we have today is between Hindu religious mythology’s Lord Ram and the demon king of once upon a time Sri Lanka’s demon king Ravan. Except that we’re getting confused between who is really Ram and who Ravan! Politics has degenerated into a quick turnover of deceptive masks. If you remember both Ram and Ravan were Shiv bhakts and in the end nobody asked Sita if she had a soft corner for her kidnapper or her husband! The public of Ayodhya judged her and I dare say she vanished to commit suicide or something like that.
After all it is ancient Hindu mythology we’re talking about with lots of mirch masala added in later ages….religious lore is rarely gospel truth although we like to think it is so increasingly in our monetized times. We don’t really know! We can only arrive at a more intelligent, credible understanding.
So cut to the present and the civic polls coming up on March 20-22 where two panels of candidates are fighting for the fish and loaves of power. There is familiar face Babush Atanasio Monserratte, bogged down by a slew of accusations against him, legal and not legal, only personal fights where many accuse him of being a moneylender, womanizer, politician incarnate – the original demon king Ravan himself although for some time now he has been playing at being Lord Ram of course with the appropriate mask on. And Lord Ram – is it Surendra Furtado and his panel of engineers, doctors, layers, professionals who’re swearing love for Panaji and are keen to do right for it?
It’s anyone’s guess if the BJP-Babush Atanasio Monserrate moneybags team versus Surendra and Ruth Furtado’s We Ponjekars (Ami Panjikar Team) will make for any kind of a formidable fight – many in Panaji laugh indulgently and say it’s no fight.
Money will call the shots as usual! That’s how monetized how life has become, never mind the mockery we continue to make of democracy or “democrazy.” Our democracy is crazy for money, money, money…. the sacred holy cows and barking stray dogs amongst the human race are chasing it and of course in the game of mask switching some will con you as Lord Ram and many as demon king Ravan… cast your votes in this murky political scenario where no lotuses will dare to bloom! Or will they?



Vote for We Ponjekars or Ami Niz Goenkar for a change!
THE long-suffering residents of the gracious old colonial town of Panaji, who’re truly fed up of the moneybags kind of idiotic beautification development and progress happening courtesy the rule of Panaji MLA Babush Atanasio Monserratte & Family, they do have a choice this time around!
Consider this quickly and bravely founded “Vote for A Change” team put together by a most savvy couple of Panaji — Surendra and Ruth Furtado. They are not new names for Ponjekars. Surendra Furtado has been six term sitting corporator and four term ex-mayor, while wife Ruth Furtado is a four term sitting corporator. Both are niz Goenkars and squeaky clean (having no police record for creating trouble or supporting criminals).
For the March 20 Panaji civic elections coming up they have decided to put up the following persons, who’re united by a keen desire to see sweeping change for the better, than hitherto seen in the recent life and times of Panaji! Their team comprises many new faces and some of them are refreshingly so.
The We Ponjekars or Ami Panjikar team standing for the Ponjekar vote are, namely:

  1. Nelson Cabral (ex-corporator)
  2. Devendra Kuttikar
  3. Jose Martins
  4. Bharati Heble (ex-corporator)
  5. Sheela Pai Lotlikar (supported Independent)
  6. Surendra Furtada (six term sitting corporator and four term ex- mayor)
  7. Tushar Asulkar
  8. Joel Andrade
  9. Ruth Furtada (4 term sitting corporator)
  10. Sandeep Heble
  11. Rama Naik
  12. Meera Medhekar
  13. Nilkhant Chari
  14. Ratnakar Fatarpekar (ex-corporator)
  15. Varuna Mandrekar
  16. Ramnath Bandodkar
  17. Selvyn Godinho
  18. Alisha Chari
  19. Milind Shirodkar (supported Independent and ex-corporator)
  20. Damu Vaigankar
  21. Rekha Kande (supported Independent and sitting corporator)
  22. Parshuram Kerkar
  23. Saquib Quadri
  24. Uma Volvoikar
  25. Vasudev Manerkar
  26. Rupa Dalvi
  27. Malisa Simoes
  28. Suresh Chopdencar (ex-corporator)
  29. Acacio Tavares (supported Independent)
  30. Muktamala Fondvekar
    The candidates are from mixed background from different political parties, social activists and as Surendra Furtada takes pains to say, “We have doctors, engineers, lawyers, professionals who care about Panaji and its surrounding areas, who are determined to set right all the wrongdoing which have taken place to date in our one time lovely serene city of Panaji which has been degenerating for quite some time now for the original residents!”
    So in conclusion here We Ponkekars or Ami Panjekar Citizens Group has fielded 22 new faces and out of the remaining eight candidates, three are sitting corporators and five ex-corporators. As is the mode in elections these days the candidates are going around in groups and speaking to citizens house-to-house during the course of the days running up to D-day or elections day when it’s anyone guess how many will step out to cast their vote for whom. Increasingly, there’s a feeling that all voters must get a chit or receipt in return for voting and this chit should register their vote for whom – by way of a voter’s possession. It’s the only way to combat any electoral malpractices creeping into the entire exercise of casting a vote in a failing democracy! According to Surendra Furtada their Team Ponjekar will be contesting every one of the 30 CCP seats so if you’re going to vote take stock of the symbols of the candidates. There’s the usual big confusion reigning here!
    It is up to the citizens of Panaji whether they want the kind of development and progress which Babush Atanasio Monserrate has shown us to date or a different kind of sustainable model of development and progress which stresses on Panaji infrastructure and people-friendly welfare development first, and one which encompasses the needs of young as well as not to young.
    If we don’t make the right choices what will happen is Panaji will turn into a high-rise honky tonky sleaze city of casinos where the environment will continue to deteriorate and power, water and clean will be the prerogative of khaas aadmi rather than aam aadmi who incidentally make up the large chunk of voters for ache din every time, but miss the boat or get taken for a ride every time. See the larger big picture of the present and future instead of the small picture of pin money, gifts of liquor and chicken biryani, bicycles and scooters for captive migrant vote banks – enough of that now!

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