Monday 24 June 2024

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Politics | Lok Sabha '98

Cong wins both seats, but with slander margin


In a neck and neck fight till last minute of the counting, the locally ruling Congress ultimately won both the seats in Goa, but with a slander margin against the BJP, who unexpectedly swept the polls here, defeating both the sitting MPs - union minister Ramakant Khalap and Churchill Alemao.

Ravi Naik, former Congress chief minister, stood victorious in Panaji (north Goa) by scoring hardly 417 votes over BJP candidate Pandurang Raut, his one-time cabinet colleague.

Khalap was pushed to the third place, polling mere 25 per cent votes, raising doubts about political future of his Maharashtrawadi Gomantak Party, which had ruled the state for 17 years.

Alemao's united Goans democratic party however caused a considerable damage to the Congress as well as the MGP, polling around 18 per cent votes, while contesting for the first time from the north.

Though Francisco Sardinha, former Congress minister here, won in Mormugao (South Goa) by 7876 votes, he had to fight a tough battle with BJP's Ramakant angle till last two assembly segments were taken up for counting.

Alemao, who had defeated former union minister Eduardo Faleiro last time by 25,000 votes, was close to the BJP, but 11,000 less than the Congress this time.

North Goa

Maintaining its tradition of not electing the same MP for the second consecutive time, Khalap was literally humiliated by the 3.94 lakh-strong north Goa electorate, though he was their first MP to be the union minister.

While accepting the defeat of the united front in Goa, Khalap feels the mandate is the cause of the stability plank propagated by the BJP with Atal Behari Vajpayee as the leader which influenced the highly literate state of Goa.

But Naik, the Congress MP-elect, gives more credit to Khalap's failure in performing his duties in the constituency as the MP.

While appreciating the BJP's excellent performance in the state, the former Congress chief minister however has blamed dissidents within the party for his "poor victory". He has also demanded stern action against all those involved in anti-party activity during elections.

Despite winning the seat, the Congress seems to have fared badly in the north, in comparison to '96 polls when its candidate had lost to Khalap. The ruling party has polled 10 per cent less votes this time.

The worst of its performance was in almost 13 assembly segments, out of which eight are represented by the party, including the chief minister, the deputy chief minister, the speaker and three ministers.

The BJP, on the other hand, has performed well in almost all the constituencies, increasing its polling percentage by 11 per cent. The difference between the BJP and the Congress is hardly 0.72 per cent.

Alemao's UGDP has also succeeded in making inroads in almost 12 assembly segments out of 19 in the north, polling around 18 per cent votes, without losing its deposit.

South Goa

The Congress won the seat of south, but the impact was made by the BJP throughout the constituency. Unlike the north, the trend was more visible here in favour of the BJP in almost all the Hindu-dominated assembly segments.

Angle, the BJP candidate, polled 21 per cent more votes this time, taking everyone by surprise. It even included remote tribal areas, consisting of gawadas and kunbis, most of whom are illiterate.

In fact, Sardinha could come through only in the catholic-dominated areas of Salcete and Mormugao talukas, where the BJP was pushed to third place, polling hardly five to ten per cent votes.

While Faleiro's performance last time was worst in the last elections, Sardinha could not score more than four per cent votes this time. He polled one lakh votes against 92,000 by the BJP.

The Congress performed well mainly in Salcete, but lost considerable number of segments to Alemao. It could however survive in the battle solely because it remained at least in the second position wherever the BJP was leading.

Losing 10 per cent votes to the Congress as well as the BJP, Alemao lost the battle in almost 15 of total 21 segments. While gaining in the north, his base in the south appears shaken to the root in the south. is now on Telegram & also Youtube. Kindly subscribe for free & remain updated.

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