Like all over India, Goans also celebrated the festival of Diwali in its distinctive way. Every small community and villages burnt the giant-size effigies of demon Narkasur to cleanse their souls and surroundings and hoped their coerced existence in slushy corrupt public life would end soon. At least that is what was fond hope of every Goan when they collectively and wholeheartedly gave reins of power to Parrikar led BJP Government in 2012.
Last to sound “I told you so,” I was least enchanted with the change and the hope that it will usher in corruption free Governance. In fact, to the contrary, I expected a rising crescendo of both corruption and saffronisation. With politics made a family business, emerging trend is to make elections as expensive as possible. Ever increasing efforts are made to turn this universal franchise seeking process as much private and restrictive as possible so that the market is ideally “duopolistic” (only BJP & Congress) or if not possible at least Oligopolistic with limited contenders and high entry barriers. If any new prospect tries to enter, the strategy is immediate to crowd him out by financial power and high decibel propaganda.
The last Goa Assembly election and Parliamentary elections of 2012 was one such battle where the challenger BJP invested so heavily financial resources by way of a barrage of TV campaigns, hoardings, and banners that once in power, BJP had to make as an immediate switch to realize “Return On Investment”. The logic now is not only to recover upfront investments already made but to make provisions for the next round of elections of 2017. And all this makes Parrikar’s promise of “Corruption Free” Goa or Modi’s fifty-six-inch tall claim “Na Khaunga, Na Khane Doonga” blatant manipulation of public sentiments.
Recently, veteran journalist Shri. Murari Shetye compiled some interesting statistics which is worth quoting here. As per the Anti-Corruption Branch (ACB) of the directorate of vigilance of Goa, before coming to power BJP had only 11 registered criminal cases. But once coming to power, this number rose to 700 complaints only by June 2015.
World Bank defines corruption as misuse of public property for private gain by the trustees of such public property. Voters expect their representative to use both public property and newly generated wealth for a fair and just distribution and upkeep of public infrastructure.
The misuse defined by the world bank is in the form of elected representatives, politicians, their lackeys & bureaucrats diverting these resources instead of public exchequer to their pockets. The newly created wealth suddenly disappears into informal economy and finds safe haven in the secret accounts of politicians of BJP and Congress or jumps overseas by way of Hawala into their foreign accounts. In return, what the honest tax paying citizens gets is roads full of potholes, mountains of garbage dumps which has now become the foraging ground for stray dogs, sewage dumped into open gutters because there is no septic tank facility, frequent power outs to name just a few. And all of these are minimum survival needs. School, Garden, ambulance and fire brigade, broad and well-lit roads, a cremation ground is a luxury which average citizen cannot even dream of as long as corruption is around.
And all this because ostentatiously “public coffers are empty! The government has no money!!
As the Delhi CM and leader of Aam Adami Party (AAP), Arvind Kejriwal has always maintained, “Government can do everything if it has the will to do it.” Today because of rampant corruption significant part of wealth generated is siphoned off into few private hands, and an informal (black) economy is leaving public coffers dry. As per the estimates of a JNU scholar, this shadow economy driven by corruption has grown from four to five per cent of the GDP in 1955-56 to over 50 per GDP today.
Little wonder the state like Goa which is among top three states with the highest GDP has to suffer this neglect of its citizens. What more, as per their self-confessional published documents, BJP and Congress along with the other main political parties say that 75 percent of their total electoral expenditure comes from ‘unknown sources.’
Goans have been burning the demon Narkasur feeling that along with it the real life Narkasur-the corruption will vanish. But alas our Narkasur has a gene of Phoenix, it rises from ashes and stays put, for now, several decades.
The battle for next mandate is about to begin. Goans have started experiencing light showers of paltry favours. Remember all that money they spend during this election on the TV promotion, hoardings and banners are stolen from your pocket. So do not get swayed by it. The more a candidate spends on self-promotion, more he has deprived the public exchequer of your hard earned tax money. So, let us resolve to burn once for all this Narkasur of Corruption & Duopoly of Ruling Parties during the forthcoming assembly elections.