Local Goa News

Thursday, February 2, 2017

Parties on a knife-edge as uncertainty prevails

Panaji: Elections have rarely been so unpredictable in Goa. Absence of alliance with national parties, no major election issue and a large number of candidates per constituency seem to have left the electorate confused, say political analysts.

In the state elections so far, a tentative picture emerges in due course during the last week of polls, as to who could form the government. But as the campaign ended on Thursday, there is no clarity at all except for a few wins that could be speculated on. There are 251 candidates vying for 40 seats in the state with a population of 14.5 lakh of which 11.10 lakh are eligible to vote.
“Yes, there is some uncertainty and it is because of big number of candidates in the fray,” said former chief minister Digambar Kamat.
There are as many as 12 candidates in Velim followed by 10 each in Cortalim and St Andre constituencies. There are nine candidates in Cuncolim where AAP’s chief ministerial Elvis Gomes is contesting. In more than 23 constituencies, the electorate is ‘spoiled for choice’ with at least six candidates contesting in each. There are seven candidates each in Mandrem and Mapusa where the incumbent chief minister Laxmikant Parsekar and deputy CM Francis D’Souza are contesting from, respectively.
In Navelim, where Congress state president Luizinho Faleiro is trying to wrest the seat from fisheries minister Avertano Furtado (independent), there are five other contestants. Unpredictability prevails in Cortalim as well, where minister for museums and BJP’s lone woman candidate Alina Saldanha is fighting.
With national parties not forging alliances with other like-minded parties, constituencies have candidates from both Congress and NCP, and others with whom they normally ally with. The Congress, which won only 9 seats in 2012, has fielded 37 candidates for the 40-member assembly, while NCP is contesting in 17 constituencies and Goa Forward Party (an alliance seeker) in four seats.
The entry of Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) in Goan politics has changed the political chessboard in many constituencies. A political observer said that with AAP in the electoral fray, it is very difficult to discern where the anti-incumbency votes would go and for which party, which makes it more difficult to predict the result in each constituency. AAP is contesting in 39 seats and in many of them, the Congress especially in south Goa, is feeling the heat.
The split in BJP-Maharastrawadi Gomantak party (MGP) alliance has further complicated the scene for psephologists. BJP is contesting 36 seats and MGP, Goa’s oldest regional party, has tied up with the newly formed Goa Suraksha Manch (GSM) and Shiv Sena, who are contesting altogether in around 30 seats. Like the AAP entry, this new combination is another anxiety-causing factor for the BJP camp.
In 2012, BJP had managed to attract the huge scheduled tribe electorate to their side. Except a small section, the rest reposed their trust in the BJP. But the denial of ticket to Ramesh Tawadkar, the outgoing minister for tribal affairs, made many tribals to move away from BJP further confusing the scenario.
There is resentment against the BJP but with so many candidates, there is confusion over who could be the best bet to defeat the incumbent. This time around, not a single political party is confident of counting the exact number of seats that they will win, though all of them claim to form the next government. BJP is dependent on Bardez taluka to form the next government, Congress is hopeful of gaining lost ground in Salcete and AAP is banking on minority votes to make an impressive debut in Goan politics, added a political observer.
For now, all the parties have their fingers crossed.

TOI Goa News

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