COUNCILLORS ARE PAUPERS IN THE HANDS OF THE POLITICIANS by Nisser Dias

In the just concluded elections to the eleven municipalities in Goa, majority of new faces or rather personalities have been voted to oversee various aspects like the cleanliness, revenue, trade and infrastructure of our towns. I refuse to say that they have been elected to power because I am of the strong opinion that no man or women wants to hand over power to somebody else.
In the least I would say that the urban population in the present circumstances has reposed only their franchise and not their faith in the miniscule section of people who either out of free will or cohesion contested the elections.
I would not like to paint all the councillors with the same brush as there might be a few who think they can bring about a change. Their intentions have to be applauded. But the majority of the newly elected councillors in the present scenario have aspirations of not bringing about a change in the present circumstances but of climbing the ladder of politics as there is easy money to make where there is politics. It sounds better when reminded of an old saying, ‘It is all about money honey’. Or they are pawns in the hands of some politicians and politicians-to-be.
I know that the councillors will take objections to my point of view but then if they had the interest of our towns in their mind and their heart, why are they part of the panels set up by dubious politicians. And knowing our politicians and politicians-to-be who do not have a good record at all. They work on the basis of commissions and their prime interest is to make money that will last them for generations. Infact one minister in the present cabinet during his deposition in a court of law at Quepem, when questioned about his profession said it was politics; it is on record at the Quepem court. Do we need further proof that our politicians have made politics their business and now they are expanding it by bringing in the family members be it in assembly or the panchayat or at the municipality level.
Now coming back to the issue of panels being set up by politicians to indirectly take control of the functioning and administration of local self governing bodies like the panchayats and municipalities. When a politician or politicians-to-be form panels or set up candidates to contest elections the first thing that happens is politicians field their ‘Yes’ men and women. If at all these candidates are successful they are indebted to that politicians and all throughout the tenure the councillors or panchayat members are forced to do their bidding even if it goes against the personal belief of the councillors. Thus the mandate given by the people to the candidates to carry out development is dashed ironically because the councillors are held in an iron grip by the politicians who are not answerable to voters for the decision imposed and carried out by the councillors.
Secondly a new form of extortion, blackmail has emerged in the recently concluded municipal election due to success of panels floated by the politicians or politicians-to-be.
Let’s take the example of the panel floated by the Revenue minister and Vasco MLA Jose Philip D’souza. Besides the violent fracas between him, his supporters and his party colleague former Tourism minister and Benaulim MLA Mickky Pacheco, only two from his panel got elected and that too happens to be his wife and brother. But the D’souza has the audacity to demand that his wife chairs the council. Otherwise he has allegedly threatened to stall, stop co-operation from the Urban Development and PWD ministries. The message he is trying to send to the group of councillors who have come together to form the next council is that if they do not agree to do his bidding he will be an obstacle to their functioning and thus to the development of Vasco.
Various developmental schemes for the port town or the allocation of funds are not showered upon it by Jose Philip D’souza from his personal wealth, the council whoever might be heading it, should get it by way of right and not by way of choice or favour. And if at all there is any truth that the Vasco MLA tried to send such a message, then the people of Vasco ought to outright reject this man at the next assembly hustings.
Coming Margao Municipal Council, Goa Pradesh Congress Committee (GPCC) general secretary Vijay Sardessai has managed to get seven of his candidates get elected as councillors and he is in a position of calling the shots. Another seven owe allegiance to chief minister Digambar Kamat who also had set a panel and both are trying to form the council with the support of others. Now Digambar Kamat and Vijay Sardessai happen to be members of the same party. At the same time it is an open truth that both these politicians have been at loggerheads from times immemorial. The only difference is that Kamat had been elected as the councillor of Margao Municipal Council whereas Vijay managed to get himself co-opted and the latter’s tactics of free-wheeling and dealing are not only well known but legendary. Then Digambar Kamat has proved his popularity among the people of Margao by getting elected to legislative assembly for three consecutive terms, whereas Vijay Sardessai tasted defeat at the last assembly hustings.
But then Sardessai has the impudence to hold the Margao Municipal Council to ransom. If one analyzes his demand for Rs. 25 crores package for development of Fatorda in exchange for support in the council falls nothing short of blackmail or extortion. How can he isolate certain wards of the council just to benefit him and satiate his appetite of getting elected from Fatorda assembly constituency in the future? And that too an aspiring MLA-to-be dictating terms to the chief minister of the state. Worse still our chief minister Digambar Kamat has proved that he is indeed spineless by agreeing to the demands of Vijay Sardessai in principal.
Then comes Cuncolim and Canacona Municipal Council wherein Urban Development minister Joaquim Alemao has formulated or rather adopted musical chair sharing formula to keep all the elected members contented. We very well know that this musical chair concept is bad for development of the state and even towns or villages because every individual has its own vision, concepts and priorities. What guarantee is there that next councillor to head the council will continue the works initiated by his predecessor? If at all Joaquim Alemao feels that this appropriate method of governing, then he too adopt it for himself and lead by example. He too should surrender his portfolio to his colleagues.

5 comments:

Anonymous the VIII said...

Did you mean "Paupers" or "Puppets" Mr. Nisser?

Bebdo said...

What about the panchayats, Nisser? The local MLAs select illiterate men and women to be the sarpanchs. If you go to them for any work they say MLA has told to do this and that. We need a revolution to clean Goa of the malaise of corruption. As it is Goa is already gone, but we can at least make an attempt to salvage what is left of it.

N.Fernandes (London) said...

Hi Anonymous the VIII ::: I think descriptions both apply to the Councillors...Paupers & Puppets.
Most schools teach us that Democracy is of , for and by the people.
However these daylight Goan robbers like Jose Philip D`souza, Joaquim Alemao and the rest are purely and simply, evil men.
In their insane and mad world...Democracy is..of me ,for me,by me and for my family only.
It is a tragedy for Goa when Councillors again only care for themselves rather than serving the people & constutients.

The word accountability does not exist, in their admnistrative beliefs.The word topping up "my Bank Account" does.

Mahesh Gaonkar, Sancoale said...

Yes the Panchayats are wrecking havoc on our Goan villages and are nothing but tissue papers to wipe the shit of the backsides of the politcians be it Mauvin Godinho, Alexio Sequira, Alemaos and the rest!

Look at the even that outsider Sharda Rathods of Sancoale, Olga Dias of Velcao and the rest.

They are nothing but hyenas!

diogofichardo said...

What is the IQ of these elected puppets councillors? Our Grandparents would be better candidates not only for the Municipalities and Panchayats, but to run the state too. They would shove their dandas up the backsides of the corrupt politicians. Under the current mafia regime Goa will never improve. In order for things to improve Goa needs a political revolution.

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