ROQUE DIAS, JOAO SOUsA M, SUDESH BHOSLE & DIANA FERNANDES
Margao: The prevailing political scenario in the South Goa parliamentary constituency for the Lok Sabha poll indicates that there will be a close fight between Congress candidate Francisco Sardinha and sitting Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) MP Narendra Sawaikar.
However, Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) candidate Elvis Gomes factor could also play a crucial role in deciding the future MP of South Goa.
Political analysts also believe that the last-minute voting pattern on April 23 with silent voters can bring about an unexpected result surprising political parties in the state.
‘The Navhind Times’ team found that the strategy adopted by the Congress party to first visit the hinterland areas and then its bastion Salcete seems to have been bearing fruits with the minority-dominated taluka turning out to be a game-changing factor for the party’s South Goa candidate.
Despite the fact that the AAP had made a dent in some of the strongholds of the Congress’ coastal areas, the BJP, with Chief Minister Pramod Sawant’s frequent visits, has tried to gain the hearts of Saxttikars.
Open support of Maharashtrawadi Gomantak Party (MGP) to Congress in the Lok Sabha election and the silence of the lone legislator of Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) Churchill Alemao seem to be positive signs for Sardinha in South Goa. On the other hand, the last-minute open support expressed by the Goa Forward Party (GFP) to BJP candidate Sawaikar can change the political calculations of Congress and also the AAP in Salcete.
‘The Navhind Times’ team has gathered that Congress is enjoying good support in ten assembly constituencies of the total 21 and the maximum of this support is in the traditional strongholds of Salcete. It could be a neck and neck battle between the BJP and Congress in another three constituencies such as Sanguem, Cortalim and Fatorda.
On the other side, the BJP has its foothold in eight constituencies including Curchorem, Sanvordem, Canacona, Dabolim, Mormugao and Vasco and these votes would be crucial for BJP, as this time there are possibilities of a jolt to the saffron party in Marcaim and Shiroda assembly constituencies.
The constituency of Ponda, represented by Congress legislator Ravi Naik and Ramakrishna ‘Sudin’ Dhavalikar’s Marcaim are likely to make a difference this time, as maximum votes may go towards the Congress candidate even though these two constituencies were with the BJP and had given the sitting MP Sawaikar a lead in the 2014 Lok Sabha election.
Congress is likely to pull the maximum number of votes from Salcete’s six constituencies – Nuvem, Curtorim, Navelim, Margao, Velim and Benaulim besides the Shiroda and Quepem constituencies; Quepem is represented by leader of Opposition Chandrakant Kavlekar. And if that happens, as expected, then it would be a positive sign for the Congress party.
Interestingly, there would be 50-50 chances for BJP and Congress candidates in the Fatorda constituency, represented by the GFP, which has declared its support to BJP as a NDA partner in Goa. There would be, however, a split of votes in Cuncolim, the home turf of AAP candidate Elvis Gomes, but Congress and BJP are trying hard to get the lead here too.
Power Minister Nilesh Cabral’s Curchorem constituency is claimed to have more votes on the BJP side even though there would be a few silent voters, who can make a slight difference. A similar scenario will be seen in Sanvordem, represented by PWD Minister Dipak Pauskar. However, Sanguem, which is represented by Independent MLA Prasad Gaonkar, will be divided, as many mining dependants are still venting their anger over a delay in mining resumption.
The BJP may remain marginally ahead of rivals even though the differences between the local leaders have not been ironed out in Canacona.
Mormugao taluka, the fortress of BJP, has four constituencies – Dabolim represented by Panchayat Minister Mauvin Godinho, Vasco represented by MLA Carlos Almeida, Mormugao represented by Urban Development Minister Milind Naik and Cortalim represented by MLA Alina Saldanha. Even as there are issues like coal pollution and others in the port town, it can be observed that BJP is ahead in campaign in the four assembly constituencies.
However, the scene is Cortalim will be different, as a sizeable number of votes from the coastal areas of Velsao, Arossim and Cansaulim will go to Congress, while the Sancoale and Zuarinagar votes are likely to go to BJP.
Though BJP and Congress claim that victory of their candidate is certain, the presence of AAP has added an interesting turn in the battle for the South Goa seat.