With less than a month remaining for Assembly elections in Goa, the political spectators feel the Congress may upset BJP’s plans for retaining power in the coastal state, but appear less enthused about Trinamool Congress, whose entry has added colour to the poll campaign
Congress may pull around 22 of the 40 Assembly seats, while the BJP will garner around 15 plus seats. Many good leaders left BJP due to their internal conflicts.
After Shiv Sena announced an alliance with NCP; Shiv Sena MP Sanjay Raut told Afternoon Voice, “Our talks with Congress failed but we have announced an alliance with NCP; out of ten seats our Shiv Sena-NCP alliance is expected to win at least two seats.”
When asked if there is any chance of a post-election alliance like Maharashtra, Raut said “the probabilities can’t be denied”. He further said, “Congress has bright chances that they would need some additional seats that the alliance can fulfil.”
Savio Rodrigues, BJP worker Goa said, “It would be a closely fought election. BJP will cross the 35%-mark, opinion polls predicted that BJP may secure 18- 22, Congress 7-10seats; AAP gets 5-6 and MGP and TMC around 1 to 3 seats. The opponents and opposition won’t be collaborating this time; BJP deposits 35 to 38% of Votes share closing 40. If there was a fight between us and Congress the picture would be different. If NCP and Shiv Sena don’t align, it’s a win-win for BJP. Employment challenge and mining adversity are our key-areas of concentration.”
Yusuf Khan, Goa Bulletin Hindi News CEO said, “Actually, AAP may help the BJP to retain power. Most of the AAP voters are Congress voters who would have otherwise voted for Congress. Much of the support for the party seems to be coming from Christians of South Goa. Considering that the assembly constituencies are very small, even a few hundred votes can decide the winner. Congress, AAP, local players MGP and GFP might all fight for their electoral positions handing a comfortable victory to the BJP. Congress has a strong chance of gaining power in the state. But most of the early opinion polls have given significant leads to the BJP.”
“The Maharashtrawadi Gomantak Party (MGP) is likely to win 3 to 4 seats, and the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) will bag three to four seats,” the local political analyst said. He attributed the poll prospects of MGP, which came into prominence under the leadership of Goa’s first chief minister Dayanand Bandodkar, to its alliance with the Mamata Banerjee-led TMC. “On its own, MGP may have fared very badly. But TMC’s monetary clout will help it,” Khan added.
Former State Election Commissioner Prabhakar Timblo said Congress will form the next government in the coastal state. “Anti-incumbency is very high in the state, and that will work against the BJP,” he added. The grand old party will win around 20-22 seats, Timblo said.
“Congress will do well as long as it does not project those who have crossed their expiry date in politics in these elections,” he added. Timblo was emphatic that neither TMC nor AAP will have much of an impact in the February 14 elections,” Timblo further added.
Giriraj Pai Vernekar, a political analyst and a BJP sympathizer, said, “BJP is not afraid of anti-incumbency as people know that a double-engine government is necessary to continue the state’s development. Otherwise, there is a confrontation between the Centre and the state, as in the case of West Bengal.”
Durgadas Kamat, General Secretary of Goa Forward Party (GFP), which has a pre-poll alliance with Congress said, “The alliance will be victorious. There is a groundswell against the BJP and in favour of Congress and GFP as people know we can give a good and honest government.”
AAP Goa unit convener Rahul Mhambrey said, “Arvind Kejriwal-led party is projecting “young and clean faces. People have seen the Delhi model of development. We will emulate it here.”
Mhambrey further stated, “There is also talk of a grand alliance of all opposition parties that could effectively avoid the split of the traditional Congress votes in many constituencies and cause concern for the ruling BJP. However, nothing concrete has emerged on that front so far.”
In the last few months, many posters featuring Mamata Banerjee’s photo and the slogan ‘Goenchi Navi Sakal’ (Goa’s new dawn) have been put across the state.TMC MPs Mahua Moitra and Derek O’Brien are leading the party’s campaign in Goa.
AAP entered Goa’s political scene during the 2017 Assembly elections and tried to build a base in the coastal state. In the 2017 Goa Assembly polls, BJP won only 13 seats while Congress won in 17 constituencies. However, BJP staked claim to form the government with the support of 3 MGP MLAs, 3 GFP MLAs, two Independents and an NCP MLA under the leadership of Parrikar who resigned as defence minister to return to the coastal state.