It’s close contest between BJP and Congress

SOIRU VELIP | NT
Panaji
The elections in the state to both the Lok Sabha seats and three assembly segments is proving to be a close contest between the BJP and the Congress, as several factors are at play.
The campaign for the parliamentary elections in the state has shown that the BJP had to pull out all the stops, as the Congress managed to strengthen its position.
However, Congress’ network and organisational setup has not been as formidable as that of the saffron party.
In North Goa, Union minister Shripad Naik of the BJP is seeking fifth term. And to challenge him, the Congress has fielded GPCC chief Girish Chodankar.
The two stalwarts fighting for the North Goa seat indicates a close fight: the prevailing situation has not been conducive to give a cakewalk for Naik.
In South Goa, the BJP is totally banking on Hindu voters from the hinterland talukas of Canacona, Quepem, Sanguem, Dharbandora and Ponda, as the minority-dominated Salcete taluka and other parts of the constituency have been opposed to the saffron party.
BJP candidate Narendra Sawaikar, who is seeking a second term, may be at the receiving end of the mining closure.
Congress nominee Francisco Sardinha is totally relying on the ‘wave’ against the BJP. Although he has not been able to reach out to all the voters of the hinterland, his party legislators and workers have done their best to meet them.
Sardinha’s major challenge comes in the form of Aam Aadmi Party candidate Elvis Gomes, who is popular among minority communities and also among Hindu electors.
As far as the byelections to three assembly constituencies are concerned, it is quite clear that Mandrem will witness a triangular fight between BJP candidate Dayanand Sopte, Congress nominee Babi Bagkar and Independent candidate Jit Arolkar.
A major concern for Sopte was that he could not manage to bring all BJP workers to his side.
However, Arolkar managed to woo BJP workers, who had been opposed to the entry of the former Congress MLA into the BJP.
This indicates that silent voters in the constituency will play a crucial role in the bypoll.
The Mapusa bypoll points to a straight fight between the BJP and the Congress.
To retain the Mapusa seat, the BJP has nominated Joshua D’Souza, son of former MLA the late Francis D’Souza.
Joshua D’Souza has been nominated to cash in on voters’ sympathy.
However, Congress nominee Sudhir Kandolkar, a former loyal worker of the BJP, has succeeded in wooing a large number of supporters.
Political observers opine that Independent candidate Ashish Shirodkar, a city businessman, could spoil the BJP’s broth in Mapusa.
The Shiroda bypoll has driven a wedge between the BJP and the MGP, whose president Pandurang ‘Dipak’ Dhavalikar is contesting the byelection.
Dhavalikar is challenging BJP candidate Subhash Shirodkar.
It is evident that Congress nominee Mahadev Naik may not attract that much of votes to become a winner in the bypoll.
But he could play the role of a spoiler.

Source:: The Navhind Times

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