Sitting in front of the television screen watching the goings-on in the Goa Assembly is far more interesting than being present at the session, fighting sleep in the gallery. There are too many distractions, not the least is overhearing comments from others occupying seats next to you.
It should be made mandatory for all schools, colleges, people in the workplace and homemakers too, to watch the Assembly proceedings live; or recorded and watched at a later time in the day. Not just because it is huge entertainment, but because it has elements of everything, including spine-chilling horror that these 40 people with the mentality of eight-year-olds hold our lives and future in their well-greased hands.
It’s exactly like a primary school class. Noisy, restless, everyone looking like they wish they were playing elsewhere. Some sitting properly; some sprawled untidily. Maybe if Churchill Alemao made a habit of sitting erect with his spine straight and his legs together he would look less like a beached whale. Some passed notes. Vishwajeet Rane bent over Alexio Sequeira with a paper in his hand which made Alexio giggle like a school girl; this while Victoria Fernandes was waving her arms and addressing the House. Some like Babu Azgaonkar were belligerent, trying to pick a fight with anyone; some like Philip Neri Rodrigues sat staring vacantly; others like Jose Phillip D’Souza gave viewers a ringside view of his tonsils as he yawned the mother of all yawns. And still others like the overworked Miccky Pacheco slept the sleep of the innocent in his kodel.
Rane Senior the Speaker sitting at a higher level, doled out platitudes and rebukes like any primary school teacher. His treatment of Laxmikant Parsekar was hilarious in the extreme. First Rane said whatever Parsekar had to say would not be recorded. Parsekar continued to speak. Then Rane told Parsekar he should stop speaking and sit down and that he, Rane didn’t care if anyone went to the Press. Parsekar continued to speak. Then Rane realized that the Assembly proceedings were being telecast live to Goan households and establishments all over the state and he ordered the cameras to be shut down. Parsekar continued speaking. This could be heard because while the video was switched off, the audio continued for a few vital minutes before the screen when blank. And one could hear Rane telling Parrikar that they could walk out if they wanted and Parrikar tranquilly replying, no, we are not going.
The Voice Vote too is a mystery, there were some where the Nays were louder than the Ayes, but the Speaker ruled “The Ayes have it. The Ayes have it.” The only time no nays were heard was when Reginaldo Lourenco with Sardinha in his crosshairs, proposed and got the Assembly to pass the Bull Bill legalizing dhirio much to the delight of thousands of gamblers who bet vast sums on bullfights and the relief of the cops who don’t have the headache of arresting bullowners that run faster than they do, and bulls that are difficult to take into custody. Reginaldo Lourenco has dealt another body blow to Francisco Sardinha showing clearly in this political dhirio he is the victor. The rest of the House of course thought nothing of tampering with the Cruelty to Animals act and the High Court ruling banning dhirio and with the exception of the Speaker who vaguely said you cannot change the law of Cruelty to Animals and then lost interest in the proceedings as only he can, allowed it to be put to vote.
As they struggled to their feet as a mark of respect to the National Anthem, one is left wondering how easy it is for the ruling combine to take existing good laws and turn them on their heads. Like all primary school children they play the game and change the rules as they go along.
My thanks for the 27 emails I received last week suggesting solutions to rein in the men and woman who run/ruin our state. More on that later, but one priceless one received on Sunday night, read like this: “I’m willing to bet anything that cash, bicycles, booze and sewing machines will win the day in tomorrow’s Taleigaon panchayat election results. If we want good people to be elected, we should find them first, and then give cash, bicycles, booze and sewing machines to the electorate to vote for them. That is the currency of our democracy.”