Tuesday 18 June 2024

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Politics | Toppling Games

Full Goa Assembly had crossed over in 1980!


Hell broke on social media when 10 more Congress MLAs formed a separate group of two third and crossed over to the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party. It reduced original 17-member Congress to mere 5 in the current Assembly elected in 2017.

“Politics has reached the lowest level possible” “Goa has ashamed the whole country” “It’s height of opportunism” “Amend the anti-defection law” “No MLA crossing over should be allowed to contest”… especially the Facebook was full of such comments calling both BJP and Congress traitors, conspirators, businessmen and what not. Hard-core BJP Bhakts also pounced upon its leadership for converting BJP into the Bharatiya Janata Party of Congress: BJP(C).

But has Goa witnessed such mass cross-over for the first time?

Certainly not. 1980 Assembly was worst than this. And it stabilised Congress to rule the state till 1989, gaining majority for three consecutive times.

What was it?

The Congress had made its debut in 1977 in Goa with 10 members, who were earlier either with the MGP like Pratapsing Rane or with the UGP like Babu Naik. That too when Congress was washed away in this post-emergency era across the country. Leaders like Dr Jack Sequeira were back in the Assembly as Janata Party, along with Madhav Bir and Ferdin Rebello. But as usual, MGP led by Shashikala Kakodkar was the largest party of 15, who formed the government.

But with the rebellion of young MGP legislators like Dayanand Narvekar and Dilkhush Desai, the MGP government collapsed on 23 April 1979 and President’s Rule was imposed. Simultaneously also collapsed the Janata Party government at the centre and elections were announced of Lok Sabha as well as Goa Assembly in 1980.

Indira Gandhi had split from the original Congress, forming Congress (Indira) while original Congress was called Congress (Urs). In spite of this, Dr Wilfred de Souza-led Congress (U) had seat adjustments with Congress (I) in Goa, Daman & Diu union territory of 30 seats. And left 6 seats for Congress (I): Pedne, Mandrem, Siolim, Panaji, Cumbarjua and Daman. But to the surprise of all, Congress (U) won 20 seats out of 22 it contested, while Congress (I) lost all the seats. MGP could win only 7 seats while 3 independents were elected including Harish Zantye from Bicholim, who defeated MGP’s ex-CM Shashikala Kakodkar.

But at national level, Congress (I) swept the Lok Sabha election, winning 377 seats. Just like how Narendra Modi-led BJP swept the 2019 Lok Sabha election with 303 MPs.

And this led to mass cross-over in Goa. Congress (U) of 20 MLAs and MGP of 7 MLAs, along with 3 independents, decided to join Congress (I). It means there was no opposition left. Pratapsing Rane was chosen to be the compromise candidate for chief minister.

But last minute, after the official announcement by the MGP, two MGP MLAs – Ramakant Khalap and Babuso Gaonkar – announced that they are not merging into Congress (I) but would keep the MGP floating. Rane continued as CM till 1984 election, in spite of Dr Willy staging a revolt and forming Goa Congress. Shashikala also left Congress (I) and formed Bhausaheb Bandodkar Gomantak Party (BBGP).

If Khalap and Babuso had not revolted, Goa would have had an Assembly, without any opposition.

Compared to this, Goa today has an opposition.

It includes 5 of Congress, 3 Goa Forward who are dropped from the government last week along with 1 independent Rohan Khaunte and 1 MGP (Sudin Dhavalikar) who was dropped before Lok Sabha election. Means almost 10 members, one fourth of the strength of 40-member Assembly.

NCP MLA Churchill Alemao and independent Sanguem MLA Prasad Gaonkar are not natural allies of the BJP but are helplessly supporting the all-powerful BJP government of 28, including independent minister Govind Gaude.

History has repeated, in a little milder version compared to 1980!

The only question remains is: Will BJP also continue to rule after 2019 like Congress after 1980?

Well, that would depend on the voter when next Assembly election comes.

When? Difficult to predict, though officially it’s 2022!

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Total Comments :2

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A Tight Slap on those who think that Congress & BJP are two different parties!!!!!!

Jack De Goan , Goa

During 80,s social media was not existing, now it is very effectively working and people and parties can narrate events very fast, even though politics in Goa is person oriented , 3-5 % voters that decide formation of government have not liked the move of the MLA joining BJP by defection, and this is spread by social media very fast, BJP will pay for this heavily during next general assembly elections , whenever it comes

Vishnu Naik , Panaji



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