Local Goa News

Thursday, September 15, 2016

BJP-MGP constituency face off this election

Panaji: All eyes are on the formation of an alliance between the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and Maharashtrawadi Gomantak Party (MGP) for the 2017 assembly elections as it will witness tough negotiations between the two for over five constituencies.

As compared to the 2012 assembly elections, for the 2017 polls, it will not be easy for either party to agree on certain seats - especially in the contentious constituencies of Bicholim, Dabolim, Porvorim, Shiroda, Sakhali and Cumbarjua - where both have strengthened their base and are looking to file candidates from.
While BJP and MGP are both talking about continuing the alliance, only time will tell who will get how many seats. For the last elections BJP had contested 28 seats, shared seven seats with MGP, and supported independent candidates for five seats. Of these, BJP won 21 seats and MGP three. Since then several political dynamics have undergone changes, and MGP has slowing strengthened its base, from North to South Goa.
This time, MGP is determined about demanding at least 14 seats, a jump of 100%, and has even short listed candidates - independent MLA Naresh Sawal for the Bicholim seat, former BJP Canancona MLA Vijay Pai Khot, and a few Congress candidates who are in touch with the MGP. They also want the Shiroda and Canacona seats presently represented by industries minister Mahadev Naik and sports minister Ramesh Tawadkar, respectively.
While MGP has its eye on a bigger share of the cake, BJP wants the Dabolim constituency (presently with the MGP) which they want to give to Congress MLA from Dabolim Mauvin Godinho, who has already announced that he will contest the next election on a BJP ticket. Also, BJP has re-inducted former Bicholim MLA Rajesh Patnekar and he is a likely candidate for the Bicholim ticket.
"It would be interesting to see how both parties will agree to surrender Bicholim and Dabolim seat to each other," a political observer said and further opined that BJP is not likely to surrender the Bicholim seat to MGP. Similarly, MGP will stick to its claim on the Dabolim seat.
Cumbarjua is another constituency that will see the two parties carrying out tough negotiation. Rumours are rife that MGP is in touch with Congress Cumbharjua MLA Pandurang Madkaikar. Meanwhile, Union minister for state AYUSH Shripad Naik's son Siddesh has also started campaigning in the Cumbarjua constituency. Last elections, BJP had denied a ticket to Naik senior, who had shown interest to contest from the Porvorim seat. Political observers wondered what explanation BJP would give Shripad if they surrendered Cumbarjua to MGP,.
MGP recently released a book of Ganesh Chaturti hymns which showcased 17 names, (including those of sitting MLAs) aspiring to contest on the MGP ticket.
MGP president Pandurang 'Deepak' Dhavalikar has expressed his interest in contesting from Shiroda. When Dhavalikar started strengthening the MGP base in Shiroda, Mahadev Naik panicked and forced chief minister Laxmikant Parsekar to strip Dhavalikar of the cooperation portfolio.
Porvorim will be another contentious constituency as MGP may lay strong claim for the seat hopeful as they are of independent MLA Rohan Khaunte on board. BJP, too, has a strong voter base in Porvorim and Guruprasad Pawaskar, BJP aspirant, has started ground work in the constituency.
Also, BJP will face tough negotiation over the Sankhali seat with MGP aspirant Pale zilla panchayat member Shubhecha Gawas active in the constituency. The Sankhali constituency is presently represented by BJP MLA Pramod Sawant.
Dhavalikar told TOI that MGP will demands for 14 seats as they are hopeful of winning at least eight seats. "We want to continue the alliance with BJP," he said.
Actual discussions over seat sharing are likely to begin by October end. BJP has appointed Union minister Nitin Gadkari, who is know to be close to senior MGP leader and PWD minister Ramkrisnha 'Sudin' Dhavalikar, as the BJP election in charge of Goa.
During the 2012 assembly elections, Gadkari was the BJP national president and it was in his presence that the BJP-MGP alliance was announced. Given his close relations with Sudin, political observers opined that despite the tough negotiations that will ensue over the constituencies, there is the possibility that both parties will not break off the alliance.

TOI Goa News

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