When defections script a sad record for Goa

Goa witnessed more than 60% MLAs switching sides during the current term

Everyone who has been monitoring the Assembly elections scenario in five states of the country have been seeing interesting developments. The switching of loyalties by the BJP ministers in Uttar Pradesh has been receiving maximum news space.

In the midst of it all, Goa has a set a record of sorts. And this record comes as unprecedented in the history of the democratic India. Switching loyalties isn’t a big thing in the country’s electoral political arena. Many leaders jump from one party to another owing to the lure of plum posts and power. This has become a norm over the years.

But what has happened in Goa is something unique. The tiny state, which goes to the polls on February 14, has set a record that may be more damaging to the political arena more than anything ever.

Goa Assembly has 40 members

It has been revealed by way of a study that during the current term of government, as much a 67 percent of elected representatives have quit their parent parties to move to another party. This percentage is significant because Goa’s Assembly has a total of 40 members. And 67 percent of people’s representatives in the Assembly switching over to a rival party is a record that showers shame on the democratic set up of the state.

The study by the Association for Democratic Reforms (ADR) comes as a canvas in which the current political behaviour is vividly etched. By any standard, this record by the Goa Assembly is unparalleled.

The study has found that between March 2017 and January 2022, as many as 27 MLAs changed their political loyalties. The Indian National Congress, the grand old party of the nation, was the worst affected with 16 legislators jumping over to a rival party. And posting gains the most was BJP.

It is important that no other state has seen defections of such magnitude.  The switching of loyalties by elected representatives has an angle that need not be ignored. And, that is the disrespect that these legislators have handed to the voters who opted for them as their representatives in the state Assembly. It has never happened anywhere else in India.

Lure of position, power and money

Greed for power and money need to be seen as the driving force behind these defections. These factors are back again, with many leaving their parent outfits to join others following the carrot that dangles before them. The election season is set to see more such defections, while the common man on the street who take pains to vote for them reduced to mere spectators.

Is there going to be an end to such insult to voters? There isn’t, of course, as political functionaries are driven by power and money. The people come last in their scheme of things. And as long as this attitude stays, parties will see more and more defections. India’s legal system needs to intervene here. What is your take on this?

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