VALPOI BY-ELECTION A 60 LAKH FINANCIAL BURDEN ON GOA'S AAM AADMI By Adv. Aires Rodrigues

The Valpoi Assembly constituency by-election scheduled for Oct 18th is a very cruel joke on the people of Goa. A sheer mockery of the anti-defection law. The intent of that law was to usher in some sanity in the electoral process. The politicians however have been able to circumvent the law to their benefit. The Valpoi bye-election is just another example.
The Valpoi bye-election is expected to officially cost the state exchequer 60 lakhs. Besides the unnecessary inconvenience caused to the people of Goa due to the election code of conduct enforced from 20th September which was preceded by a week of the Ganesh Chathurti celebrations during which the whole administration had also come to a grinding halt.
The by-election has also exposed the hypocrisy of the Congress Party. At the 2007 assembly elections Mr. Vishwajit Rane was denied the party ticket on account of one ticket per family formula. Mr. Vishwajit Rane however shrewdly maneuvered his way around the political game board in order to circumvent that restriction. He fielded his coconut plucker as the Congress candidate in Valpoi, only to file his nomination as an Independent candidate at the last minute. The rest is history.
We can expect the list of Congress candidates at the next assembly elections to be a family congregation with even son-in-laws and mother–in laws being part of the political carnival. All this because politics today is a business as it has long ceased to be a mission to serve. Politics today operates on PPP mode. Profit, Profit and more Profit.
With the assembly polls scheduled in just 18 months it is unfortunate that the taxpayers are being needlessly burdened by a bye-election to enable Mr. Vishwajit Rane to hang on to power. It is no surprise. Over the last 40 years the Pratapsingh Rane household has had the best of times. They have made no sacrifices for this State. Power has never eluded them. At all times they have maintained their grip from Bal Bhavan to Kala Academy and everything in between. Even when Pratapsingh Rane was the Leader of Opposition, Vishwajit Rane managed to get the plum post as Chairman of Goa Tourism Development Corporation. A position he blatantly misused and was ordered by the Bombay High Court to pay back to the Corporation the financial burden he had inflicted.
On 18th October the people of Valpoi will vote. Mr. Vishwajit Rane will win but the people of Goa are the losers of this stage-managed drama.
(The writer can be contacted on 9822684372 or airesrodrigues@yahoo.com )

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