BJP wins Goa with perfect Vindaloo

The Goan love for Vindaloo seems to have mutated from the dining table and manifested itself at the voting booths.

Ajith Vijay Kumar

I just want to have something to do

Hanging out of Second Avenue

Eating Chicken Vindaloo

I just want to be with you

So went the 1978 song by American punk rock group The Ramones. Aaah Bliss! Sun and sand, a beer in hand and the Goan touch ‘Vindaloo’. Ask any Goan, and he will swear by his Vindaloo and the irresistible pull of the ‘near perfect’ blend of Portuguese taste and the splendour of Indian spices...moderation of flavours being the key.

The Goan love for Vindaloo seems to have mutated from the dining table and manifested itself at the voting booths when Goa voted on March 3. And the Vindaloo magic ensured that the saffron ‘hardline’ BJP led by IITian Manohar Parrikar was considered palatable by the state’s electorate.

It is a given that it was no cake walk for the BJP in a state in which Catholics and the Church holds a considerable sway on quite a number of seats and that’s crucial considering the small size of the legislature – just 40 seats.

BJP and Parrikar may have not have sensed the parallel with Vindaloo, but their decision to go by the recipe book on being inclusive of all communities appears to be have played a crucial role in ensuring that they get their seat on the high table back after a gap of over six years.

Michael Vincent Lobo, Jose Luis Carlos Almeida, Francis D`souza are Catholics but are now under tutelage of the Lotus and Parrikar.

Clearly, Goans haven’t had enough of Parrikar. Known as ‘Mr Clean’, Parrikar is known as someone who gets the job done and what adds to the sense of trust in him is the fact that Goa was adjudged India’s best governed state, three times in a row, during his tenure.

But there’s more to the Goa election results ‘Vindaloo’ story than the Parrikar effect.

And topping the list is Congress’ miscalculation that the mountains that were robbed of their wealth – iron ore – are beyond the horizon for the majority of states electorate that lives by the coastline.

The Congress forgot that for an average Goan, Goa is his most important identity. He is Goa and Goa is for Goans.

No matter what explanations Kamat – who held the mining portfolio – gave, the barren mountains always stood as mute witnesses to the plunder perpetuated by a select few.

Congress miscalculated the amount of vinegar that goes into the Vindaloo, making its electoral concoction too sour, too acrid, and filled with iron dust.

Already staring down the cliff, the Congress just needed a push to be propelled into its abyss – to have its Vindaloo thrown out of the kitchen window.

Moreover, the ‘too many cooks spoil the dish’ phenomenon also kicked in. Digambar Kamat and other ‘powerful’ members of his cabinet ensured that 1/3rd of the tickets went to political families ensuring that Congress Vindaloo acquired more of an family touch rather than the Goan touch which people of the state craved for.

Heavyweights Churchill Alemao, his brother Joaquim Alemao and their children bit the dust along with others like Dayanand Narvekar and Ravi Naik.

However, Pratap Singh Rane, his son Vishwajit, Atanasio Monserrate and his wife Jennifer did end up winning their seats, but are on the losing side.

Of the other prominent winners are Maharsthtrawadi Gomantak Party’s Dhavalikar brothers and Mickky Pacheco of the Goa Vikas Party.

For the BJP, moderation in approach coupled with the negative vote against the Congress did the trick – all from the recipe book – Vindaloo style.