An election to the Assembly of many firsts, a leadership and a silent electorate

The elections in Goa are different this time – it’s a sentiment reverberating across the state, within the political establishment and among the electorate.

There are a lot of firsts in combat. This is the first time that the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) will contest the 40 seats; the Trinamool Congress (TMC) is fighting to get the national party label, from its current West Bengal regional party label. In addition, the first multi-party struggle with regional parties from outside had an impact on voters. It is also the first instance where the BJP misses its greatest head of state, Manohar Parrikar, to bail him out in case he fails to win a majority, and when his son quarrels against the saffron party candidate.

The most senior leaders of the incumbent BJP have camped in the state to ensure that if there is a shortage of seats to form the government, it must be ready to act immediately, so that anyone who can win and who cannot are not in the party be on speed dial. and crush Congress again, as they did in 2017, when despite having four fewer seats than Congress, they formed the government.

With a more alert Congress this time around, the preparation must be airtight, with no possibility for a legislator to evade it, should the party need to form the government with outside support.

The Congress has also instructed its senior leaders from neighboring states namely Dinesh Gundu Rao and P Chidambaram to use anti-incumbency against the BJP in the state and assure voters that if they win as largest party, the mandate won’t be wasted for lack of swift action needed to rally those who can ally themselves and form the government.

CATHOLIC: BJP’S PLAN TO PREVENT CONSOLIDATION

Despite claims that Goa has no issues such as communal tensions, Catholic votes in the Salcete belt – Margao, Navelim, Nuvem, Benaulim, Fartoda, Cuncolim, Curtorim and Velim – have been a challenge for the BJP .

However, this time the party tried to secure those votes in other seats, giving tickets to influential Catholic leaders who defected from Congress to the BJP in 2019, and also have their own vote bank within the community, regardless of party. These include Atanasio (Babush) Monserrate from Panaji, his wife Jennifer Monserrate from Taleigaon, Francisco Silviera from St Andre, Clasfasio Dias from Cuncolim and Antonio Fernandes from Santa Cruz headquarters.

CLAIM PARRIKAR’S LEGACY

This will be the first time the BJP will show up in Goa without Manohar Parrikar, the party’s troubleshooter and an acceptable face in all communities. A man of experience and a veteran leader accessible to all, he had friends from all parties. This is the reason why, despite winning 13 seats, the BJP formed the government in 2017. Along with his son, Utpal, an independent candidate, the BJP is claiming Parrikar’s political legacy in the state.

TMC, AAP GIVING HOPE TO BJP

According to BJP sources, there is a seat or two that the TMC and the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) will win. And there are some where they eat votes that might otherwise have gone to Congress. “It is good for us that we have a multiple fight. If it had been a direct contest with the Congress, it would have been difficult to think about forming the government,” a senior BJP leader said.

Why is the BJP so optimistic? Many candidates who run under various party symbols or as independents have been part of the BJP or are “sympathetic” towards it.

MINING – AN ELECTORAL ISSUE

With a large population in at least six electoral districts affected directly and indirectly by the state’s mining ban, the question is poised to decide the fate of many candidates. CM Pramod Sawant’s constituency is also affected by the issue and this is the reason why the BJP claims that it will start mining within six months of taking office.

The resumption of mining has become an emotional issue in the ongoing campaign for Goa assembly elections on February 14. The ruling BJP, along with Congress and the AAP have promised to restart iron ore mining in the state.

The issue is significant as political parties estimate that more than a million people depended on him when he was arrested in 2012, resulting in a loss of livelihood for those families.

Bank clerk, Ravindra Karande, runs a general store in Mangeshi village after retiring. With every political party making false promises, he has lost faith in politicians but has a strong opinion against freebies and parties that promise freebies.

“Where does this money come from? How do people promise free electricity? Why do they have to make such promises? Do they give it out of their own pocket? This should not be promoted. inflation with unemployed young people. It’s serious,” he said.

INDEPENDENT GENERATING, RETURNED

There are those who couldn’t get a ticket from the BJP and are fighting as independents or with tickets from other parties. These candidates are causing stress to the BJP as the majority of seats are likely to be closely contested and even a few hundred votes could change the outcome – whether it is Utpal Parrikar competing against strongman Babush Monserrate, former CM Laxmikant Parsekar who is not bound to be the one to win the seat but is likely to hurt the BJP by eating away the votes, or Michael Lobo seen as a strongman in Bardez and competing in Calangute constituency. He was targeted by the CM for being a “patni-bhakht” man, as he quit the party because his wife was denied the ticket.

READ ALSO | Poll of polls: BJP to win over 22 seats, biggest winnability factor in ticket distribution, says Goa CM

TOURISM INDUSTRY, COVID AND UNEMPLOYMENT

With Covid necessitating shutdowns and a ban on international travel, the state that survives on tourism has been hit hard. Many are still in shock. Tourism and related industries resorted to the pullback as there was no business.

“Those were bad days and even today normality has not returned. I worked as an office worker in a company, but with Covid my company laid off a lot of us. We had to sit at home and look for opportunities. Added to this is inflation. Life is not easy,” said Ekta, who now cares for his sick mother while his father does garage work for the children. trucks.

Although the contest is different on every seat and there is not a single opposition that the BJP is fighting against, the outcome is hard to predict. Voters are hurt that the BJP formed the government despite Congress’ mandate as the largest party. Tarendra, a taxi driver, said, “What’s the point of voting for those who can’t form government? It’s all a game. However, voting is our right and we will use it.

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