MORE WOMEN POWER PLEASE! Here are some of the women candidates fighting for a place under the political sun this Valentine Day’s 2022 assembly elections on February 14, 2022… (from top clockwise) Dr Divya Rane, Cecille Rodrigues, Delilah Lobo, Jennifer Monserrate Janita Madkaikar, ,Alinha Saldanha. advocate Pratima Coutinho, Out of 301 candidates there are only26 women candidates contesting the elections.
ONE THING I don’t understand and that’s the way we perceive our chota mota politicians as film stars or celebrities or some great leaders – most of whom have done little or nothing for our wellbeing! We forget most of our politicians live off the public treasury happily and culpably and then when once in five years they step out of their hallowed lifestyles to shake hands with us on so called home-to-home visits — we daftly go ga ga and welcome them with floral bouquets and a showering of floral confetti!
Never mind that we may have to wait for hours sweltering in the hot sun or late at night at crosss-roads at some scheduled hour but which is invariably delayed at appointed place for the darshan of a politician anxious to say hello to us! Be it BJP, Congress, AAP, TMC, NCP…they are only candidates seeking our votes and anxious to impress us with their false promises first, then reams of smart sounding words in expensive and glossy fancy manifestos. All of them filled with assurances of what they will do for the welfare of the people this time around in the Legislative Assembly or Parliament!
Same as five years ago and five years before that and little has changed except that the fight to stay alive keeps getting more and more frustrating for aam aadmi. Although I must confess I get a little captivated by the Aam Aadmi party’s Arvind Kejriwal wooing Goans so ardently to give his party just one chance (I’m tempted to do so for I reckon we must give a man as persuasive as him at least one chance, instead of giving the old unfaithful parties a chance over and over again to take us for a ride).
BUT I must confess I have little patience in the waiting game to go listen to our politicians in their security-ridden rallies. Yes, I also hate it when stopped in a traffic jam just because some so called people’s representative is passing by – be it VVIP or VIP politicians. Our attitude towards our politicians is a disgrace! Knowing well that those who come with namaskar and smiles contagious or sickly in the end are mostly a con story. We vote with our hearts and fall for the promises of freebies showered on us and once in power onto the hot seats – even our younger politicians turn into hard-headed businessmen engaged in puerile and criminal commerce!
So why do we spoil our politicians like this, like they are gods or dem-gods or celebrities or film stars with magic wands? Most often it is not warranted at all. At least film stars entertain us mindfully or mindlessly and sports persons thrill us with their excellence in various games of skill and strength…but politicians? What do they do except these pre-election days they’re busy brainwashing us and brainwashing and brainwashing us.
After the promises and guarantees of freebies come the plethora of vision documents and manifestos or sankalp patra…long, tall talk of what they have done for the people and the nation, but not what they have done for themselves — which is made themselves crorepati several times and in possession of half-a-dozen cars, fancy homes, exotic mistresses or nubile escort t girls, etc. All in a matter of a couple of years!
WE well know most of our politicians are criminals of various denomination, yet we fall over ourselves trying suck up to them with vainglorious buttering up so that maybe a few much needed crumbs come our way or fall in our laps by hook or by crook. It’s really, hey, now you’re in government, please give us back some of our own money so that we may live in some comfort and peace as your voters.
Politicians do us no favours when they collect from the public kitty to invest in a decent or rotten infrastructure for the people. They’re just doing what we pay them to do – not to live grand lifestyles themselves but to also provide primary and secondary infrastructure to the people so that they may live in happy wellbeing, instead of constantly falling prey to stress, anxiety, growing impoverishment, worried about where tomorrow’s shelter and meal will come for children and themselves! They may find it funny, do we find it funny too?
Well, I’ve got that of my chest at last for whoever has a mind to think it over. Not for the first time I will say it is high time we had prime ministers, presidents, chief ministers, politicians, bureaucrats who walk in the footsteps of an Angela Merkel of Germany or Jacinda Ardern of New Zealand or Sanna Marin of Finland (she’s 34 years old only) or Sai Ing-wen of Taiwan…admirable women leaders all who did their countries proud. In contrast our leaders still wear halos of British Raj colonialism and we continue to indulge swallow their lies hook, line and sinker.
THAT is why I often wonder if Goa will do better with more women up there in the echelons of power in the Legislative Assembly. This time around there’re more women participating in elections and swinging the votes of women voters at least I think – at one count I got the following women candidates in the various half a dozen parties: there’s Jennifer Monserrate and Delilah who’re possibly the biggest beneficiaries of political power (Delilah Lobo is Rs93crore rich while Jennifer is Rs48 crore rich! It helps to have political husbands who’re also equally if not richer.
Hey, it’s been said before, more than 50% of Goan voters are women but just 8.6% are women candidates in the current campaigning for the 2022 assembly elections happening this coming February 14, 2022. As many as 25 of our 40 constituencies have no women candidates in the fray. Goa has 26 women candidates in 15 constituencies and most of the women candidates are fielded by the Goa Trinamool Congress (which gives aspiring women candidates a fair chance courtesy West Bengal supremo Mamata Banarjee).
If it says anything there are four women competing in the Siolim constituency! Between the big time BJP and the Congress parties there are only five women competingcandidates…AAP and Revolutionary Goans have fielded two women, respectively. Never mind that eight of the 26 women in the fray are wives or daughters of politician husbands or fathers!
HERE I can’t help thinking that Mr Narendra Modi keeps harping on how dynasties are bad for democracy but here in Goa the BJP itself entertains several Jodi couples and we know what happens to governance then – so we end up with Mr and Mrs and Master and Ms 5%, 10%, 15%, 20% and more in governance. It is happening in the Asian countries more and more and also in South Asia where we are in India or Bharatdesh! It means the people who make up vote banks get a larger and larger slice of petty bribery…be it chicken biryani and beer, bicycles and bikes on instalment, their toilets or homes repaired, the children’s school fees paid for and so on….nowadays there doles for housewives, seniors, laadli beti and unemployed youth and one time freebies, freebies, freebies corrupting our brains to death!
And our political “good Samaritans” continue to make a killing on the public treasury in mindboggling amounts! In India it is said only a 100 odd multi-crorepatis who call the shots with the aya Rams and gaya Rams in government warming their pockets – keeping each other pockets warm to kill the golden goose of Goa or Bharatdesh! Politics has become endless and mutual back-scratching.
I KNOW, my dears, this has been said before and I’m on a repeat roll, but this time I’m keeping my fingers crossed with my heart in my mouth in the hope that at least the educated and not so poor voters amongst Goans, will go out there and vote for a younger and educated generation of candidates — who at least don’t sound like they will fleece the public treasury so mercilessly.
Come on, let us break the vicious cycle of corruption so that we may move into the first world with at least our poorest of the poor in the country assured of decent roti, kapda, makaan, paani-bijli, sadak to emerge as happy citizens! Otherwise we’ll continue to wallow in our misfortune and keep chasing the politicians to shower flower petals on them – to say the least here I’m happy at one level that it is flower petals and not plastic confetti!
IF I WERE a politician with any integrity I would realize that a country living on deficit accounts endlessly steadily turns into a basket case banana republic more and more. So I would discourage people from presenting me with dozens of floral bouquets or shower flower petals on me – after all, I am not gone with the wind yet. Don’t give me gifts either. Surely a Namaste, a smile, shaking hands… is fine, but please hang on to my pearls of wisdom on why you should vote for me and not so and so and so and so and so and so who promises heaven but delivers hell! I guess it is not easy to be a politician either with so many fawning on me to turn my head, basking in my genuine or false smiles!
On that note think about all this and don’t just think, it’s avjo, poiteverem, selamat datang, au revoir, arrivedecci and vachun yeta here for now!
The Goan Observer’s most deserving and suitable candidates in the February 14 assembly elections. Vote for them!
Keep in mind that our literacy rate of Goan MLAs is only 57%, but 100% are crorepatis! Forget the venal old crorepatis. Instead think…
• VOTE for ELVIS GOMES. He’s got 25 years in the Goa public service. His biggest achievement is building the Colvale Jail. He took premature retirement and joined AAP to fight elections from Cuncolim last time but lost out narrowly. He deserves better. He was the president of the Goa Football Association, defeating industrialist Shrinivas Dempo. Vote for Elvis Gomes, he is Congress candidate from Panaji.
• VOTE FOR DR MARIAN GODINHO. He is fighting Alex Sequeira in Nuvem. Dr Godinho was founding father of the Cancer Hospital at Dona Paula in the 80s, before it was sold to Manipal Hospital for a song; he joined Health Services and was in charge of the Primary Health Centre in Nuvem which included the Verna Industrial Estate. Dr Godinho also ran a clinic at Dona Paula for many years catering to the Aivao villagers and construction workers, who went to him for he charged very nominally and gave free medicines. He wants to convert his ancestral house in Marjorda into a home for seniors in need.
• VOTE FOR OLENCIO SIMOES. He is the nephew of Mathany Saldanha and president of the All India Fisher Folk Federation in Goa. His base in Cortalim from where he is fighting his aunt Alinha Saldanha (AAP) and Narayan Naik (BJP). Reportedly it is Olencio Simoes who has done much good work for the fishing communities.
• VOTE FOR CAPTAIN VENZY VEIGAS. He is contesting from Benaulim against Churchill Alemao (Trinamool Congress). Capt Viegas has been a captain in the Indian Navy’s Aviation Wing. He participated in the Kargil war in 1999 and stood firm with the large number of Goans against the three Adani projects of turning Goa into a coal hub, the double- tracking of South Western Railway and widening of highways, as also the power plant in the midst of Mollem wildlife sanctuary. His heart beats for Goa.
• VOTE FOR ROSHAN MATHAI. He is contesting against veteran giant Michael Lobo (Congress) and social worker Joseph Sequeira (TMC, former MLA from Calangute, used to work at the Taj Holiday Village). Roshan Mathai stood with those protesting against the infamous illegal construction of a villa on heritage property in Old Goa. He has a record of fighting for people’s just causes.
• VOTE FOR DIGAMBAR KAMAT. Former chief minister of Goa who served Goa for two terms, from 2003 to 2011, one of the best, fair and democratic chief ministers. He cancelled Regional Plan 2011 promoted by Babush Monserrate. Granted grants to Christian English-medium schools and also Konkani-medium schools. President of the Swimming Association, a lover of sports and culture. Digambar Kamat (Congress) is standing against Babu Azgaonkar (BJP) from Madgao constituency.
• VOTE FOR AMIT PALEKAR. He is AAP’s candidate and its chief ministerial face for Goa. He is fighting Rudolf Fernandes (Congress) in Santa Cruz. He has a reputation for fighting illegal constructions and social services for his samaj (Bahajun Samaj) as well as played a stellar role in finding ambulances, oxygen cylinders and medicines for Covid-19 patients in an emergency crisis during the worst phase of the pandemic in Goa.
WHO ARE THE WOMEN IN THE FRAY?
IT is of course the largest number of women participating in assembly elections of 2022 in Goa. But very little is out in the media about the 26 women candidates who are contesting in this elections and not all wives or daughters of political fathers, mothers, husbands, godfathers! Come to think of it Goa hasn’t seen a woman chief minister since Shashikala Kakodkar, who did a six stint from 1973 to 1979 after she took over from her father and the first chief minister of Goa Dayanand Bandodkar.
If 50% of the voters of Goa are women there is not the slightest reason why there should not be more justice done to them by way of offering more women candidates by the major political parties who’re mostly male dominated (with the exception perhaps of the Trinamool Congress). Mercifully, this time around there’re a maximum of women candidates in the fray fielded by the half-a-dozen or so political parties with the Congress having quite a sizeable women’s roll call in its cadre or in the women’s wing (about 2,000 women in Goa and about 50,000 on an all-India basis according to one source, namely Seema Fernandes who is the president of the AICC Mahila Women’s Wing).
To name some of the women candidates in the current assembly elections to take place in February 14, 2022 let’s begin with Siolim. There’s a surfeit of competition here in Siolim constituency where five women are vying for a seat in the Legislative Assembly – beginning with heavyweight Delilah Lobo(Congress)followed by Charisma Fernandes(NCP-SS), Diane Fernandes (Others), Sitabai Pednekar (Independent)and Pallavi Dhabolkar (Independent).
In Mandrem there’s Sunayana Gawde (Revolutionary Goans) and Maria d’Costa (Independent); Aldona has Pooja Mayekar (Independent); and in Taleigao constituency there are three women in the fray – heavyweight Jennifer Monserrate (BJP, wife of Babush Monserrate), and hoping to steal the thunder from her are Cecille Rodrigues of Aam Aadmi party and Shubhangi Sawant of Trinamool Congress-Maharashtrawadi Gomantak party.
Dr Divya Rane (BJP, wife of Health Minister Vishwajit Rane) has no competition in Poriem, at least not from women. In Valpoi constituency there’s familiar Manisha Usgaokar (Congress-Goa Forward); from Fatorda there’s Valerie Fernandes (Revolutionary Goans) and Seola Vas (TMC-MGP) who is a young advocate whom we know to be as down-to-earth as eloquent.
There’s Valanka Alemao (Varca’s strongman Churchill Alemao’s daughter) who’s got a TMC-MGP ticket and is seen as yet another power women, she is fighting from ……. Curtorim has Fatima and Quepem sees Kanta Gaude (TMC-MGP); Curchorem has Clementina Fernandes (Independent); Sanguem Rakhi Naik (TMC-MGP) and Savitra Kavlekar. There’s Kavita Kandolkar (TMC-MGP) in Tivim. Dabolim has the noted activist of long standing Tara Kerkar (Independent) and Cortalim sees Alinha Saldanha (who quit the BJP to join AAP) and Bhakti Khadepkar (Nationalist Congress Party-Shiv Sena). It’s seen that the TMC-MGP alliance is taking its women members seriously and have fielded as many as four candidates (from the sound of it TMC supremo West Bengal chief minister, Mamata Banarjee, trusts women’s capabilities and has no qualms trusting them with important portfolios).
It is certainly the first time that there is such a large number of women’s contingent in the electoral fray. Considering that 50% of voters in Goa are women, 26 candidates or only 8.6% of the total number of 301 candidates – really paints a dismal picture of women power in the 40-seat assembly! Only 15 of the 40 constituencies have women competing with male candidates for votes to make it as politicians with a difference presumably.
More women in the assembly would definitely raise quality of governance in Goa for the general perception is that women tend to be less corrupt and more conscientious in discharging their duties. They’re also more likely to prudent in fiscal matters and would understand women’s issues better. So here’s wishing more women winners in the new Goa assembly in the making post-elections!