Friday, Jul 01, 2022

Size Matters: Why Tiny Goa Needs To Be Heard More Often

There is a need to empower federalism through better inter-state coordination

Eye Of The Thiaga
Eye Of The Thiaga Those Magnificent Men by Francis Desousa, acrylic on canvas

Just before 10 am on May 30 last year, my phone was set abuzz with mess­ages about an extraordinary “Sta­t­e­ment to the People of Goa” that had just been posted on Twitter by Dr. Palanivel Thiaga Rajan, the brand-new finance minister of Tamil Nadu. Switching screens to look, I fou­nd myself stunned, then chortling aloud with surprise and amusement. I’d never read anyth­ing like it before. Many others went on to agree. A few days later, no less than Shashi Tharoor twe­eted, “I’m delighted to say that in the annals of contemporary Indian political invective, this statement by @ptrmadurai has not been bettered.”

PTR—as he is often referred to by the public—posted his message two days after attending his first-ever meeting of the GST Council. Soon after the gathering, Goa’s notably hapless transport minister Mauvin Godinho—who represen­ted India’s smallest state—tried to grandstand and rally support for himself by alleging he was insulted by his counterpart: “Thiaga Rajan’s case is that since he comes from a big state, he should have a bigger vote. It’s like saying, I am the big brother, you shut up. I take strong offe­nce to the way he conducted himself and expr­e­ssed himself in the GST Council. I want [Tamil Nadu chief minister] Stalin to condemn his minister, and make him apologise.”