ARPITA SRIVASTAVA | NT
In terms of infrastructure development in the last five years, the Mapusa constituency has seen completion of projects such as the vegetable market, fish and meat complex, new Mapusa police station building, beautification of the town entry juncture from Gandhi circle to Khorlim, Peddem spots complex, renovation of old heritage building.
However, projects like the multi-storey parking, new bus stand, Ravindra Bhavan are yet to take off. The sewerage network project has also not been completed.
People have a lot to complain about especially against the condition of roads in the town. It has become a routine affair for the motorists to put up with a harrowing experience while travelling on uneven roads. Also irregular water supply and frequent power cuts have left the Mapusekars in a woeful state.
Mapusa constituency is expected to witness a multi-cornered fight in the upcoming assembly elections. However, the sitting MLA Francis D’Souza is confident of winning yet again.
The other candidates – Sanjay Barde (NCP), Vijay Bhike (Congress), Vinod Phadke (MGP), Shraddha Khalap (AAP), Rameshwari Morajkar (Goa Su-Raj Party) and Dominic Alphonso (Independent) are campaigning hard to gain confidence of voters.
Mapusa, which is headquarters of Bardez taluka, is also the commercial capital of North Goa. The constituency has been a stronghold of BJP which has managed to retain the seat for the last three terms. The assembly segment has a total of 28807 voters – 14215 males and 14592 females.
The trend, since 1999 when D’Souza was first elected, clearly shows that there has been increase in his margin in every election.
Going by his strong voter base, this time, D’Souza’s opponents will have to work even harder to win over the voters and defeat him.
A major reason that has worked for D’Souza in the previous elections is absence of a formidable opponent. D’Souza never faced a tough fight from any of the opponents in the past.
Moreover, the BJP has a strong base in the constituency compared to other parties.
Locals have mixed feelings about D’Souza, his work and the condition of the assembly segment.
Shubham Mapusekar, being happy about the illumination work undertaken at the Duler stadium, said that “after the new illumination, now we have a better opportunity to witness big matches in Mapusa. Also, due to the upgradation of the Peddem complex we are having events like concerts for which otherwise we have to travel to Panaji.”
However, Joaquim Pinto, a resident of Dattawadi, said that “compared to neighbouring constituencies of Saligao and Calangute, Mapusa has been in a mess and frequent power cuts have become order of the day.”
Another local from the Dangui colony, Prasad Shetgaonkar, said that “parking is a major problem which we have been facing for the last several years. Till date, no concrete solution has been worked out to resolve the parking issue.”
Sheikh Hassan of Khorlim claimed that “Mapusa has seen no change at all; even assurances of providing government jobs have not been met.”
However, as far as implementation of schemes is concerned, locals have given a thumbs up to D’Souza and feel that he is one of the most approachable MLAs.
Radikha Chari said that “the implementation of government schemes like Griha Aadhar has been done by the MLA in a systematic manner. As result, a majority of women are benefitting from it.”
The candidates are leaving no stone unturned and making all efforts to reach out to their voters whether meeting electors in person through door-to-door campaigning or holding corner meetings.
Even use of Facebook, WhatsApp has become a trend.