AAP AADMI PARTY ANNOUNCES ITS CHIEF MINISTER…advocate Amit Palekar of the Bhandari Samaj as its chief ministerial face, he will be contesting from Santa Cruz. There was lots of band baja exuberance, high tea tid-bits, lunch laid out for AAP candidates and family who turned up with goodwill and blessings! Delhi chief minister and AAP national convener was not smiling but on the dais Goa desk in-charge Atishi was as she did the presentation with Goa convener Rahul Mhambre. AAP is fielding candidates in 30 constituencies in the Goa Assembly polls.

MORE election news on the roll funny and not funny! Every political party is now anxious to acquire or be a political strategist to win the Assembly elections coming up in Goa next month on Feb14, 2022. This week two press conferences made headlines beginning with the master political strategist of them all – Arvind Kejriwal – announcing at a packed press conference at his favourite haunt of the Cidade de Goa on Wednesday, January 20, 2022 that AAP’s chief ministerial face for Goa is Amit Palekar, a Bhandari Samaj advocate who has seen bad times, good times. He is going to rid of corruption in 24 hours if Goans elect him chief minister!
It’s very definitely a first time ever for such an announcement although not many in the media are happy about AAP high command flaunting the caste status of a candidate to win an election! It’s not done and this is a first time in breaking an unwritten rule. Good or bad, you decide. The Bhandari Samaj makes up 35% to 40% of the population of Goa and has historically benefited courtesy the first chief minister of Goa, Dayanand Bandodkar (whose first action when he became CM was to open a whole lot of Marathi-medium in Goa so that even the backward and underprivileged classes could benefit from free education). Marathi was the medium of instruction because the various dialects of Konkani were not so developed in the Devnagari or Romi script. Bandodkar was also a much loved human and humane CM of Goa, the first and last if I may say so! Some say former chief minister of Goa Ravi Naik also comes from humble Bhandari Samaj background and was one of the better CMs of Goa (never mind some sex scandals).
The AAP function was a scene to see with an Usgaon band playing up (it has a woman dholak player), colourful paper confetti showering down, mother Jyoti Palekar blessing her son and cheering shouts from community members, friends, fans, mother, wife, children. Arvind Kejriwal looked on benignly though he was most likely feeling under the weather with a cough afflicting him. Remember he has been one very hard-working man flying down from Delhi frequently, campaigning arduously in Goa for AAP candidates, visiting homes in various constituencies, greeting small fry, big fry – wooing the Bhandari Samaj with his undoubtedly disarming, non-flamboyant manners. The announcement of Amit Palekar as AAP’s chief ministerial face is a sheer stroke of genius and Palekar started campaigning long ago!
He made news in recent times with his participation in the Old Goa heritage site land use scam (some bad media following him in its wake). From the sound of it it’s been a tough ride for an educated person, seeking government aid in vain…nevertheless he made it on his own steam and merit till today’s arrival and the beginning of a new chapter in politics – his own people recognise him as amiable social worker, who took up their causes and ran interference for them. Time and again it’s said he stood up for Goa’s larger causes of not selling out to big development interests, for he is niz Goenkar in love with his Goa of old. If he seeks ache din for himself he also seeks them for his people and the rest of Goa. It’s left to be seen if he will be real time chief minister of Goa if AAP wins!
With a Bhandari Samaj chief minister and a Catholic deputy chief minister (as announced by AAP’s Manish Sisodia) AAP hopes to make it on the hot seats of power, much better than the last time at the polls. They’re getting to know their Goa and Goans. Both Bhandari Samaj and Catholics make up something like half of Goa’s voters and needless to say the elitist ruling BJP hasn’t been paying much heed to the marginalized sections of Goan society, or merely indulging in token gestures to win their hearts come election time. BJP is more mesmerised by the amount of unaccounted money coming from drug mafias and casino lobbies seeking a permanent money-laundering and women entertainment haven for the country in Goa.
Say Arvind Kejriwal is making up for the BJP’s sins of omission and commission with this master stroke, having picked up many cues from the by now illusive Prashant Kishor, who one is never sure is working for which political master or masters! We know Prashant Kishor has won fame, name and fortune by now and everybody is trying to step into his footwear be it chappal or boots…I don’t know. The eventual results will tell us if all the inspired out of the box thinking on the part of AAP, the TMC and smaller parties like Revolutionary Goans, etc, will pay off interesting dividends.
DON’T ask me why but I’m getting interested in politics and their high or low tea-parties at venues ranging from three-star to five-star to quick in-office press conference with tea, coffee, nice solitary samosa at the TMC offices or at Congress House in Panaji. These days more snacks may be served to media people so that they may feel like they’re a little more human than machines on the run between chota mota press conferences…dealing with a host of similar political smiles of promises and freebies than ever heard of before.


ONLY NCP AND SHIV SENA ALLIANCE : At a preliminary first executive press conference at the Grand Hyatt are Nationalist Congress Party National Secretary and Ex-Aviation Minister Praful Patel with Shiv Sena spokesperson Sanjay Rawat and others inducted into the party to fight collectively for the forthcoming elections in Goa.

ON the heels of AAP announcing its prime ministerial candidate Amit Palekar, came the first major press conference of the Nationalist Congress party (NCP which is Sharad Pawar’s party) with the arrival of its national secretary and ex-aviation minister Praful Patel to Goa. There was a huge entourage of the executive body present at the press conference which happened after one cancellation at the Grand Hyatt Bambolim on Wednesday, January 19, 2022.
The NCP has seasoned and polished politicians with long years of political experience. Praful Patel traced a little interesting history of the NCP, reiterating that the NCP always likes to seek like-minded secular parties to come together in alliance, but their appeals to the Congress have failed in Goa and they won’t be able to do a Maharashtra-styled three-party combo campaign in Goa. So the NCP is coming together only with the Shiv Sena, both will individually field 10 to 12 candidates in the forthcoming Assembly polls in Goa who are sure to win for their candidates don’t lose!
Shiv Sena MP and Goa incharge Sanjay Rawat said Goa suffered too much from a Aaya Ram-Gaya Ram political syndrome and this should come to an end if any justice is to be done in the interests of Goans and Goa. NCP state general secretary Sanjay Barde rued the fact the people of Goa may not accept the NCP-Shiv Sena alliance, for the SS had always partnered BJP previously. It’s a pity the Congress wants to do it alone this time. From the sound of it there’re still a lot of mysterious confusion with the various alliances struggling for better leverage for the polls coming up quickly now with barely three more weeks to go.
I asked about the stand the NCP-SS alliance would take on drug mafias, sleaze tourism and casino takeover of Goa and Goan politics, but none were inclined to make a moral commitment of any kind, with the exception of Rawat who commented vaguely, “We will ask the people what they want!”
Press conferences can be very superficial and merely fresh induction ceremonies with candidates unable to make up their mind which party which will serve them better. None of the political parties are taking a stand on vital issues affecting and dragging down the wellbeing of Goa. Issues concerning Goa’s faulty development model of mega bridges, highways, transmitters in wildlife sanctuaries, airports and mega everything else! So that Goa reaps mega dirty air, dirty water and dirty food. Is political life all about making mega financial killings on mega development projects, like the kind the BJP has been concentrating on to build up its war chests for the future? Where is conscience, where is morality, where is honor, where is truth, freedom and health?
No party talks of the mega problems created by plastic wastes as a top priority. On that one promise alone I would vote for anybody! I would vote for any party which has a manifesto stressing that the day it comes into power in 24 hours they will take steps to ban the plastics industry, at least on the plastics in the food catering business. Give away prizes to catering services which do not patronize plastics in their eateries, restaurants, take-away kitchens – fine them, reward them.
Together with that most aam aadmi is seeking free water and power for 24 hours, decent homes, streamlined roads, pavements, gutters, public gardens, the opening of public use food canteens and shelter for those hard hit by new levels of impoverishment …some politicians don’t even talk of corruption for it is so entrenched now, it would be laudable if they spoke of how they would clean up the monumental stealing that goes on at the expense of primary infrastructure for the people of the country. We really have a case of unending amir sarkar rolling out red carpets for itself …but look at how garib its praja is becoming.
On that note it’s avjo, poite verem, selamat datang, au revoir, arrivedecci and vachun yeta here for now.

— Mme Butterfly

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