Rebels, independents make waves as Goa registers 75% polling
The polling for the two Lok Sabha seats in the Goa concluded peacefully on Saturday. The voting percentage recorded on the day was 75 per cent.
During the poll, better healthcare, education and drinking water were the three top issues highlighted by the public in Goa, besides eradication of corruption, casinos, regional plan, women’s empowerment and security, better electricity supply, jobs, subsidised food distribution, road and environmental issues.
Goa, with only two Lok Sabha seats and 10,59,953 voters, has witnessed an increase of 39,976 voters in these constituencies, besides 28,646 new voters in age group of 18-19 years exercising their franchise for the first time. The state has 4,475 more women voters with females numbering 5,32,214 compared to 5,27,739 males. The electoral officers have deleted 5,853 voters from the state electoral rolls for holding Portuguese citizenship – with the maximum number 1,215 being from St Andre assembly constituency.
The political candidates in the Lok Sabha elections in Goa are hoping that their party’s past and present successes will contribute to their being sent to the Lok Sabha. However, the issues facing the electoral candidates are numerous where – on one side – many voters are praising the Manohar Parrikar government for introducing many beneficial schemes but also taking public money through increased charges on water, electricity and stamp duty.
Congress Rajya Sabha MP Shantaram Naik had set the electoral ball rolling by defining the Lok Sabha elections as not being about parties but rather about democracy and dictatorship, secularism and communalism, ‘Those who worshipped Mahatma Gandhi and those who killed him.’ Urging for an FIR to be filed against Narendra Modi for ‘offence of sedition and against Indian penal Code’ in calling Union defence minister AK Anthony a ‘Pakistani agent,’ Naik said he had also given a bill – and raised the issue of ‘special status’ for Goa – in Parliament, while the BJP MPs kept quiet in this regard.
South Goa is witnessing sitting Congress MP Francisco Sardinha in the electoral fray as an independent after being refused a repeat ticket, while the chosen Congress candidate Reginaldo Lourenco is expecting tough opposition from him and BJP candidate Narendra Sawaikar, besides others Congress members like Mauvin Godinho who stressed a ‘wait-and-see’ attitude on hearing about some of his supporters assuring chief minister Manohar Parrikar of support for BJP candidate Narendra Sawaikar.
Also, Lourenco’s election campaign being handled by Independent MLA Vijai Sardessai has not gone down well with many Congressmen, especially after he (Sardessai) held a motorcycle rally with his ‘Goemkar’ flags flying high – instead of the Congress party flag. But Sardessai has been raising strong questions – including one about chief minister Manohar Parrikar saying that ‘minorities (34% in Goa) will not only get equal status but also flourish under NDA rule—which meant that minorities did not enjoy equal status in Goa over past two years of BJP rule.’
BJP’s Narendra Sawaikar – Lourenco’s main rival – is stressing on abolishing the contract system and assuring Goans of jobs in Central government agencies, while urging for a BJP Modi-led government at the Centre in this regard and the future of the country.
The voting scenario in South Goa is also clouded by the entry of political heavyweights like ex-Congress and former chief minister Churchill Alemao – a two-time MP – who is standing on the Trinamool Congress ticket and is expected to split the secular vote, which will ultimately benefit the BJP. While Alemao is opposing the proposed MOPA airport and alleging ‘match-fixing’ by BJP and Congress, Trinamool Congress MP and spokesperson Derek Obrien had told a gathering here that his party will encourage legal mining in Goa and scrap MOPA airport plans if Goans elect Alemao with a huge margin.
North Goa is expected to witness the battle of the Naiks as Shripad Naik, three-time sitting BJP MP for North Goa who has said that this is his last Lok Sabha election, takes on former chief minister Ravi Naik of the Congress. The MP said that the party’s electoral success in the last assembly elections on development of the common man would continue to win the hearts of the voters this time also in view of the numerous beneficial schemes launched during BJP rule, besides 700 projects being completed during his tenure.
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