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Why Goa politicians are a worried lot

Source: PTI
May 17, 2009 11:51 IST
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The Lok Sabha verdict from Goa has injected a sense of insecurity amongst political leaders, who have found their traditional vote bank dwindling in the realigned assembly constituencies.

Goa results sprung no surprises as both sitting MPs -- Sripad Naik (BJP) in North Goa (Panaji) and Fransisco Sardinha (Congress) in South Goa (Mormugao) -- retained their base.

North Goa BJP candidate Sripad Naik's prospects were almost scuttled, if not for Priol constituency, which was shifted from South Goa to North Goa this time. Priol salvaged his sagging prospects pushing him towards victory.

Naik's party which polled sizeable votes in the rural North East Goa assembly constituencies of Sattari taluka had a downfall this time.

These constituencies favoured Congress-NCP alliance candidate Jitendra Deshprabhu, who was strongly backed by Rane father-son duo.

Assembly Speaker Pratapsingh Rane and his son Independent legislator Vishwajeet Rane are uncrowned kings of Poriem and Valpoi constituencies, which gave NCP a lead.

Interestingly, Naik's candidature was declared much in advance and BJP had three rounds of campaigning before the final countdown began.

Deshprabhu's candidature was unexpected candidate for this election and could not get much time to canvass as his candidature was announced late.

In South Goa constituency, Congress candidate Fransisco Sardinha had to literally snatch a victory from the intense internal bickering within the senior party leaders.

If not for the Congress stronghold Salcette taluka, Sardinha would have to lose the constituency to BJPs new face Narendra Sawaikar.

The election results from Catholic-dominated Salcette taluka too are stunning.  Despite being an 'untouchable' political party in some talukas, the party managed to give tough fight to Congress, increasing its vote-hare.

Goas Public Works Department Minister Churchill Alemao's rebellion against the Congress for not giving ticket to his daughter Valanka was promptly visible in the poll results. Also many other Congressmen showed lacklustre response in campaigning as Sardinha was not an acceptable candidate for them.

Goa Chief Minister Digamber Kamat and Goa Pradesh Congress Committee Chief Subhash Shirodkar worked overtime to ensure Sardinha's victory.

Here too, BJP meticulously planned their campaigning. Sawaikar managed to get three rounds of campaigning and also galvanised the party cadre.

The candidature of United Goans Democratic Party leader Matanhy Saldanha was expected to bring respite to BJP. The UGDP, however, could not make much dent in the vote bank. Even though Sardinha won, he had his margin cut short to just 12,000 votes as against Congress traditional winning margin of 40,000 votes.

If not for the two constituencies of Velim and Nuvem, Sardinha too would have lost in South Goa.

Hindu stronghold constituencies including Ponda, which is represented by Home Minister and Congress legislator Ravi Naik, favoured BJP. Catholic constituencies kept BJP at bay diminishing Sawaikars chances of leading a victory procession.

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