Goa expats want total change of political blood

March 1st, 2012 - 2:22 pm ICT by IANS  

Panaji, March 1 (IANS) Goan expats across the continents of Europe, Australia and America are calling for a “total change of blood” in Goa’s political system ahead of assembly elections Saturday.

Members of the Goan diaspora are beseeching their counterparts back home to vote for Goa’s ecology and identity, especially when their forefinger hovers over the electronic voting machine (EVM), milliseconds before the punch down.

Carmen Miranda, former director of global social development agency Panos and a resident of Britain, describes the incumbent government in Goa in four words: “Despicable, irresponsible, incompetent and criminal”. And she doesn’t have much faith in the political rulers of the past either.

“If any candidate has in the past been a legislator or minister in any Goa government in the past 50 years, don’t vote for them… People in Goa are disillusioned and have given up,” Miranda told IANS on e-mail.

A news producer with Radio Adelaide in Australia, Frankey Fernandes claims there’s simply no “messiah” on Goa’s political horizon.

“However, it would be a welcome sign if well educated and people with clean backgrounds came and participated. It would be personally tough for them in this era of ‘Goondaraj’, however, one can always hope for the best,” he said.

Goa goes to polls Saturday to elect a 40-member assembly.

In California, engineer and musician Rajan Parrikar is seething with rage against the political establishment.

“If India was a country where laws were enforced, most of the MLAs from the Congress alliance would have been in jail. They have enabled the worst possible destruction of Goa in the shortest amount of time,” he told IANS, describing the contemporary governance in Goa as “most fatal”.

Britain-based writer Selma Carvalho has a more circumspect view, adding the Congress-led alliance government has “desired to partner with the public” and “listen” to them on critical issues.

“I come from a family with generations of loyal Congress voters. If I were to evaluate, there have been some promising signs,” Carvalho told IANS.

But she quickly added that the government had shownm no will to protect the environment.

Never before have green issues taken centrestage in Goa the way they have now, with the Congress government accused of sitting over a Rs.25,000 crore illegal mining scam.

Miranda, who has led a global campaign to ban mining in Goa, says: “My biggest concern (is) the power and speed of destruction mining is causing to Goa’s environment, jeopardising the very possibility of life in Goa’s hinterland in the near future.”

She says mining itself needs to be banned in the state.

Carvalho, author of a book on the Goan diaspora, says fast-paced development is eroding the state’s unique identity.

“No region can sustain an unbridled influx of population without causing demographic and economic changes very often to its detriment,” she says.

Parrikar says his conversations with friends and kin at home range from nostalgia about the past to disgust about the present.

“I talk to my family about how life in Goa was pleasant and peaceful not long ago and how that pleasantness and peace are fast disappearing. I tell them about the rapid degradation in every measure of the quality of life, of the dismantling of our beautiful villages and rural areas,” he says.

(Mayabhushan Nagvenkar can be contacted at mayabhushan.n@ians.in)

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