Millennium Post

Will assembly bypolls push up Lok Sabha voter turnout in Goa?

Panaji: Simultaneous byelections in three assembly constituencies in Goa may increase the overall polling percentage in the forthcoming Lok Sabha contest on two seats, according to poll analysts.

The most important factor that may push up the voter turnout is the assumption that the people want a stable government in Goa, in the aftermath of the death of chief minister Manohar Parrikar.

The BJP has renominated sitting MPs Shripad Naik and Narendra Sawaikar from North Goa and South Goa constituencies, respectively. The Congress is yet to announce its nominees.

The bypolls to Shiroda and Mandrem seats were necessitated due to defection of sitting Congress MLAs to the BJP. In case of Mapusa, the vacancy was created due to the death of legislator Francis D'Souza in February this year.

While Mandrem and Mapusa segments are part of the North Goa Lok Sabha constituency, Shiroda falls under South Goa seat.

The bypolls and Lok Sabha elections will be held on April 23.

Goa, which comprises two districts and 40 assembly constituencies, has been known for a good voter turnout.

In the general elections held in 2014, Goa recorded 76.82 per cent polling.

A total 11.31 lakh voters are eligible this time to exercise their franchise.

Former state election commissioner Prabhakar Timble said that simultaneous bypolls will have a positive impact on the voting percentage in both the Lok Sabha seats.

"Usually, voting percentage for Parliamentary polls is lower than the Assembly elections. But this time, there is a scope for a rise in the polling percentage, as bypolls are combined with LS election schedule," said Timble.

Senior journalist Rajendra Desai echoed Timble.

He said the outcome of the bypolls will have a bearing on the politics of Goa which is in a transitory phase.

"The poll outcome will have a impact on the stability of Pramod Sawant-led alliance government. This factor will dominate the voter trend," Desai added.

Chief Minister Pramod Sawant, who succeeded Parrikar, heads a coalition government comprising the Maharashtrawadi Gomantak Party (MGP), the Goa Forward Party (GFP) and three Independent MLAs.

The BJP and the Congress have announced to contest in all the three assembly constituencies. The MGP has announced to contest Shiroda constituency.

Political analyst and a member of the Association for Democratic Reforms (ADR), Manguirish Pai Raikar said that people would vote with more zeal in the general elections this time.

"The voter percentage will also depend on the emotive atmosphere of the poll eve. The voter turnout would touch a historic mark this time," he said.

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