New political equation leaves Mahadev ‘isolated’ in Shiroda

Panaji: Lack of intensity in the Congress party’s campaign in Shiroda may leave the political fate of its candidate Mahadev Naik hanging in balance, as the oldest national political party is presently focused on winning both the parliamentary seats in Goa with its new friend, the Maharashtrawadi Gomantak Party (MGP).
After the ouster of senior MGP leader Ramakrishna ‘Sudin’ Dhavalikar from the state cabinet, the oldest regional party announced its support to Congress candidates for the North Goa and South Goa parliamentary seats. MGP president Pandurang ‘Dipak’ Dhavalikar shared dais with North Goa Lok Sabha candidate of Congress party Girish Chodankar in Priol last week and its senior MLA Sudin Dhavalikar has seen actively campaigning for South Goa Congress candidate Francisco Sardinha.
Political observers say that equations in Shiroda have changed after MGP declared support to Congress for the Lok Sabha elections and to Sudhir Kandolkar, Congress candidate for the Mapusa bypoll, even as the Dhavalikar-led party has adopted three different strategies in the three assembly constituencies, which will go to bypolls on April 23.
In the case of Shiroda, Dipak Dhavalikar is fighting the battle against Congress’ Mahadev Naik and BJP candidate Subhash Shirodkar. As per the ground report, the supporters of Naik are in confusion after friendship ties between Congress and MGP and there is no intensive campaign on the party front for the Shiroda bypoll.
Mahadev Naik, a two-time BJP MLA and former minister, shifted to Congress after former MLA Subhash Shirodkar joined the saffron party in last October. Though Naik has time and again said that he was a Congressman and his joining the party was ‘ghar wapasi,’ as a candidate of the party in Shiroda, a question has been raised over his political fate, as Congress is not seen putting in more efforts for his victory.
Except former chief minister and Ponda MLA Ravi Naik and Margao MLA Digambar Kamat, so far no big leader of the Congress party has been seen in Shiroda campaigning for Mahadev Naik.
Sources say that there must be an internal understanding between the MGP and Congress to ensure the win of Dipak Dhavalikar in Shiroda bypoll and, in turn, ensure MGP votes to Congress in the Lok Sabha polls, thus Congress is keeping a low-profile campaign in Shiroda.
According to the political observers, the main target of the Congress party is to win both the Lok Sabha seats.
It is also a fact that Congress’ Mahadev Naik is far behind on the campaign front when compared to MGP’s Dhavalikar and BJP’s Shirodkar since day one. Thus, political observers feel that Congress has pinned their hopes on Dhavalikar in Shiroda.
There is no doubt that both, Congress and MGP are out to defeat BJP in the Lok Sabha elections and the three bypolls. However, the current situation in Shiroda indicates that Congress is more interested in Dhavalikar’s victory, thus leaving the fate of its candidate Naik in the dark.

Source:: The Navhind Times

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