Thursday 06 October 2022

News Analysed, Opinions Expressed

Politics | Assembly 2022

The Kings of their Empires are back, but as ‘injured soldiers’

 

The recently concluded highly unpredictable Goa election has sent 17 MLAs back to the Assembly, in spite of a statewide wave of electing fresh faces this time. But it was not a cakewalk for them, may it be the chief minister, former ministers or the legislators. And it was across the party lines, but maximum belonged to the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party.

Only four among these veterans could poll over half of the votes, in order to establish themselves as the undisputable leaders of their constituencies. These are Digambar Kamat (60%), Sudin Dhavalikar (59%), Rohan Khunate (55%) and Vishwajit Rane (54%). 

In fact, five among them have tumbled down by securing below 40 per cent votes. The lowest scorer is the eldest, 76-year old Ravi Naik, who was elected for the seventh time. He polled only 29 per cent votes, not even one third. The others are Subhash Shirodkar (33%), Nilkanth Halarnkar, Babush Monserrate and Govind Gaude (all at 39%). 

DIGAMBAR-ROHAN-VIJAI-JOSHUA

The only ex-MLA who has performed remarkably well is Digambar Kamat (13,674 votes) of the Congress in Madgao. His votes increased by 3618 and vote share by five per cent, raising it to 60 per cent, next to 61 per cent polled by Poriem MLA Deviya Rane, the original Madgaokar from Timblo family! BJP candidate Babu Azgaonkar, who was shifted by the party from Pernem and  dumped in his hometown, could poll hardly 26 per cent votes (5880). Even Sharmad Raitukar had last time polled almost 36 per cent votes as the BJP man. 

The second re-elected MLA who performed well is Rohan Khaunte (11,714) in Porvorim, from independent to the BJP. He increased his votes by 3786, though his vote share slipped down by two per cent. But still it was 55%, more than a half. Neither Sandeep Vazarkar of TMC (18%) nor Vikas Prabhudesai of the Congress (17%) could together reach anywhere near him.

The third legislator who fared pretty well is Goa Forward Party supremo Vijai Sardesai in spite of facing ire of voters, since he had backstabbed them last time by joining the BJP government. The ‘Formalin’ on his skin got washed away in time and he managed to maintain his vote share of 49 per cent. While securing over 11,000 votes, his margin also increased, though by only 193 votes. 

Similar is the case of hardly 34-year old Joshua de Souza, who got into the shoes of his late father Francisco de Souza in Mapusa. He increased his margin by nearly 500 votes compared to the by-election he won with a sympathy vote as the father’s son. In spite of Michael Lobo claiming that Sudhir Kandolkar is ‘his man’, the Congress candidate could secure hardly 8548 votes (37%) compared to Joshua’s over 10,000 votes (44%). In the by-election, Kandolkar had polled over 10,000 votes (45%), which slipped down to 37 per cent this time. Indeed a ‘humiliating defeat’ for Michael Lobo!

PERCENTAGE OF VOTES POLLED BY RE-ELECTED MLAs 2017-2022

CONSTITUENCY

MLA

2017

BY-POLL

2022

RISE/

DROP

Sanquelim

Pramod Sawant

43 %

 

48 %

05 %

Margao

Digambar Kamat

55 %

 

60 %

05 %

Curtorim

Alex Reginald

61 %

 

40 %

- 21 %

Priol

Govind Gaude

57 %

 

39 %

- 18 %

Valpoi

Vishwajit Rane

54 %

72 %

54 %

- 18 %

Curchorem

Nilesh Cabral

60 %

 

44 %

- 16 %

Madkai

Sudin Dhavalikar

74 %

 

59 %

- 15 %

Panaji

Babush Monserrate

40 %

52 %

39 %

- 13 %

Calangute

Michael Lobo

56 %

 

45 %

- 11 %

Tivim

Nilkanth Halarnkar

50 %

 

39 %

- 11 %

Shiroda

Subhash Shirodkar

46 %

44 %

33 %

- 10 %

Taleigao

Jennifer Monserrate

52 %

 

43 %

- 09 %

Ponda

Ravi Naik

38 %

 

29 %

- 09 %

Mapusa

Joshua de Souza

49 %

50 %

44 %

- 06 %

Porvorim

Rohan Khaunte

57 %

 

55 %

- 02 %

Dabolim

Mauvin Godinho

42 %

 

41 %

- 01 %

Fatorda

Vijai Sardesai

46.09 %

 

45.81 %

- 0.28 %

Note: 49% votes shown in front of Joshua de Souza n 2017 were polled by his late father Francisco de Souza.

 

RAVI NAIK

The biggest visible ‘humiliating victory’ however was of Ravi Naik, the real veteran among all, who had to literally scrape through by 77 votes. He polled nearly 10 per cent less votes (7269) than as the Congress candidate (9502) in 2017. 

The former CM also benefited from the split of votes between his immediate rival Ketan Bhatikar (7437) of the MGP and Rajesh Verenkar (6839) of the Congress. Comparatively, ‘independent’ BJP rival Sandeep Khandeparkar (1237) and RG candidate Sanish Tilve (1745) were negligible. 

And there were four other BJP bigwigs, who had to struggle through to get back, with a margin below 1000 votes: Govind Gaude in Priol (213 votes), Chief Minister Dr Pramod Sawant in Sanquelim (666), Nilesh Cabral in Curchorem (672) and Babush Monserrate in Panaji (716 votes). 

BABUSH & JENNIFER MONSERRATE

The reasons are many. But one of them was voiced out bluntly by Babush soon after coming out of the counting hall: “Hardly any BJP Karyakarta worked for me. In fact they worked to defeat me. It means the BJP has still not accepted me.” 

He faced a real threat from Utpal, son of Manohar Parrikar, who contested as an independent and scored second with 6071 votes (35%). The 39 per cent votes Babush polled this time were less than 40 per cent votes he polled in 2017, the election which he had lost  in 2017 as the United Goans Party candidate.  

Similar was a shock for him in his bastion of Taleigao. His wife Jennifer’s vote share has fallen down drastically by nine per cent. In fact Jennifer (10,167) should be thankful to Cecile Rodrigues of AAP (2607), who split the anti-BJP votes mobilised by even the rebel BJP workers in support of Tony Rodirgues of the Congress (8126). 

In 2017, the former minister was far ahead of her immediate rival Dattaprasad Naik of the BJP (8679) and Cecile (1976) by polling 11,389 votes. That’s the reason Babush also came down heavily on the BJP karyakartas in Taleigao while Jennifer with her supporters danced in front of Dattaprasad’s house during her victory rally. A ‘negative appreciation’ for the efforts of her rivals within the saffron brigade!!

GOVIND GAUDE

Besides his arch rival Deepak Dhavalikar, former independent MLA and minister Govind Gaude had to also face independent Sandeep Nigley. The BJP rebel however polled only 2697 votes (10%), but Gaude’ percentage of votes slipped down by almost 18 per cent and he could win by only 213 votes. 

In 2017, Gaude had fared much better as an independent supported by the BJP, by polling 14,865 votes (57%). But this time as the BJP candidate, he could poll only 11,019 votes (39%). That too when his arch rival Deepak Dhavalikar maintained a similar vote share in both the polls: 10,463 in 2017 and 10,806 this time, at 39% each. RG’s Vishvesh Naik polled 2517 (9%).

NILESH CABRAL

But neither Nilesh Cabral in Curchorem nor chief minister Dr Sawant in Sanquelim has anybody to blame for their decline in votes. Cabral’s share not only dropped by over 8000 votes than the last time, but his percentage of votes slipped down from 60 per cent to mere 44 per cent. Amit Patkar of the Congress posed a real threat before him by polling 9301 votes (41%). The 2103 votes accrued by the RG candidate Aditya Raut Desai could be from both the camps. 

In fact in the last election, Cabral had polled 12,830 votes. But this time he could not even reach the five-digit. Only 9973. This, with a gap of hardly 672 votes, proves beyond doubt that Cabral’s popularity is on a decline. 

DR PRAMOD SAWANT

In 2017, chief minister Dr Pramod Sawant had to face a triangular battle with his own party leader and former MLA Dr Suresh Amonkar, who had contested as the candidate from the rebel RSS camp, the Goa Suraksha Manch. Dr Amonkar had polled almost 16 per cent votes. In spite of this, Dr Sawant could win by polling little over 10,000 votes (43%) against Dharmesh Saglani of the Congress, who polled 7927 votes (34%).

But it was a straight battle this time with Dr Sawant having no ‘open threat’ from within the saffron camp like the GSM. In spite of  this as well as being the Chief Minister of the state this time, he could not cross 48 per cent votes (12,250) while Saglani’s vote share rose to 45 per cent (11,584 votes). The rumours are still on that his overambitious ‘healthy’ colleague contesting from the neighbouring  constituency tried hard to defeat him, in order to seize the CM’s chair.

VISHWAJIT & DEVIYA RANE

The supposedly unbeatable Vishwajit Rane is also not as comfortable as in the past. In fact his wife Dr Deviya fared far better than him in Poriem, the constituency headed by her Congressman father-in-law Pratapsing Rane all these years. With 61 per cent vote share, she secured nearly 18,000 votes and the biggest margin of this election, nearly 14,000. Her immediate rival Vishwajit Krishnrao Rane of the AAP could poll hardly 3873 votes. 

But the popularity of her husband Vishwajit Pratapsing Rane alias Baba seemed to be declining day by day. No doubt he secured 54 per cent votes, but it was 72 per cent when he faced the by-election in 2017 by quitting the Congress overnight and joining the BJP. He had polled over 16,000 votes in that by-election. 

In the background of the anti-IIT agitation of Shell-Melaulim that spread throughout the taluka on the issue of land rights, RG leader Manoj Parab polled over 6000 votes. Compared to AAP (2599) or Congress (2101), the RG, having a base among the Bumiputras, is clearly emerging as a direct threat  to the mighty rule of Khashes  in Sattari. 

MARGINS OF RE-ELECTED MLAs 2017-2022

CONSTITUENCY

MLA

2017

BY-POLL

2022

RISE/DROP

Curchorem

Nilesh Cabral

9088

 

672

-8416

Priol

Govind Gaude

4686

 

213

-4473

Madkai

Sudin Dhavalikar

13680

 

9963

-3717

Ponda

Ravi Naik

2963

 

77

-2886

Curtorim

Alex Regiald

7697

 

5055

-2642

Valpoi

Vishwajit Rane

5512

10087

8085

-2002

Sanquelim

Pramod Sawant

2099

 

666

-1433

Panaji

Babush Monserrate

 

1758

716

-1042

Dabolim

Mauvin Godinho

2575

 

1570

-1005

Taleigao

Jennifer Monserrate

2998

 

2041

-957

Fatorda

Vijai Sardesai

1334

 

1527

193

Mapusa

Joshua de Souza

 

1151

1647

496

Calangute

Michael Lobo

3784

 

4979

1195

Tivim

Nilkanth Halarnkar

795

 

2051

1256

Shiroda

Subhash Shirodkar

4843

76

2174

2098

Margao

Digambar Kamat

4176

 

7794

3618

Porvorim

Rohan Khaunte

4164

 

7950

3786

 

ALEIXO REGINALDO LOURENCO

The victory of Aleixo Reginaldo Lourenço in Curtorim appeared to be a cakewalk for him, in spite of jumping from the Congress to the AAP to the AITC and finally having no other option than contesting as the independent. He won with a comfortable margin of over 5000 votes. But the reality seems to be much different.

In 2017, as the Congress candidate, Reginaldo had polled 61 per cent votes (12,841) and his margin was around 7700. This time he lost on both counts. His vote share came down to 40 per cent (8706) and margin by 2000 less. In fact the figures show very clearly that he was rescued by the BJP. Anthony Barbosa (2385) remained the name-sake candidate of the saffron party with 11 per cent vote share. Comparatively, Arthur D’Silva, as the BJP candidate, had polled 5144 votes (24%) last time. AAP candidate Domnic Gaonkar (2793) was also not a threat to him since the Delhi-based party had polled 2711 votes even in 2017. RG candidate Rubert Pereira polled more than Gaonkar, 3479 votes (13%). Also, Moreno Rebello of the Congress (3905) could not make any impact. Looks like the traditional Congress votes were diverted more to the AAP and RG than Reginaldo.

Perhaps this is the reason Reginaldo, without any second thought, supported the BJP government, attended the Shiv Jayanti programme in Hindustani attire and was seen in a more colourful jacket on a kurta while taking the oath as the MLA. It appears that Reginaldo would now remain obliged to the Hindutva party in a constituency, which has a 64 per cent Christian population.

NILKANTH HALARNKAR

The soft-spoken Nilkanth Halarnkar is yet another disliked MLA, who surprisingly emerged victorious in spite of facing strong anti-incumbency. Compared to nearly 11,000 votes (50%) he had polled in 2017 as the Congress candidate, his decision to defect to the BJP cost him dearly. He could poll hardly 9414 votes (39%) in spite of a rise in the number of voters. 

Though it appeared that his margin increased from 795 in 2017 to 2051 this time, Kandolkar couple could not emerge as a real threat to him. In 2017, Kiran Kandolkar had polled 10,304 votes (46%) as the BJP candidate. In comparison, his wife and ZP member Kavita Kandolkar as Mamata-didi’s favourite lady could poll hardly 7363 votes (31%). Halarnkar could survive the triangular battle mainly because over 5000 votes (21%) were polled by RG supremo Manoj Parab from both the camps. 

SUBHASH SHIRODKAR

After winning four consecutive elections from 1989 to 2002, Congress veteran Subhash Shirodkar was defeated twice by his former personal assistant Mahadev Naik on the BJP ticket in 2007. But he bounced back in 2017 by defeating Naik (BJP) by 4843 votes and securing over 11,000 votes (46%) on the Congress  ticket. 

However, winning the by-election after jumping into the BJP camp was a real tough battle for him two years later. He could manage to win by a margin of hardly 76 votes as both him and MGP’s Deepak Dhavalikar had polled over 10,500 votes each. Shirodkar has succeeded in increasing his margin this time to 2174, but his vote share has fallen drastically to mere 33 per cent (8307 votes). After Mahadev Naik of AAP at 6133, third in the line is RG’s Shailesh Naik, who polled over 5000 votes. Tukaram Borkar of the Congress could not even reach the figure of 2000. 

MAUVIN GODINHO

The seventh time MLA Mauvin Godinho (7594 votes) had to perhaps face a threat from his one-time Congress party, which he had quit in the last election to join the Hindutva camp. Last time, the runner up in Dabolim was Premanand alias Babu Nanoskar on the MGP ticket (27%) against Mauvin’s share of 42 per cent. 

This time it not only slipped down to 40 per cent, but NGO activist-turned-politician Captain Viriato Fernandes on the Congress ticket posed a real threat to him by polling 5932 votes. The Hindutvawadi Christian MLA could emerge victorious by 1570 votes only, because of the split of anti-BJP votes between two more contestants: Babu Nanoskar of AAP (2533) and Jose Philip D’Souza of the NCP (1037). It’s very difficult however to say whose vote bank Gajanan Borkar of the RG roped in to poll 1129 votes.

SUDIN DHAVALIKAR

In spite of winning comfortably as usual by securing around 14,000 votes, MGP supremo Sudin Dhavalikar, the King of Madkai, was frankly vocal about the Revolutionary Goans Party, claiming that the new party of the youngsters damaged his party’s prospects. It was seen even in his own bastion, where RG’s Premanand Gaude polled 3488 votes (15%), besides BJP’s Sudesh Bhingi (17%) and his one-time colleague Lavoo Mamledar on Congress the ticket. The retired police officer polled hardly 1009 votes (5%). 

In 2017, BJP’s Pradeep Shet had polled only 15 per cent votes and five per cent by Congress candidate Urmila Naik. Sudin was perhaps the star performer, securing 74 per cent votes (17,093). But this time, his vote share dropped down to 59 per cent, a huge decline of 15 per cent. Even his margin slipped down from 13,680 in 2017  to 9963, nearly by 4000.

MICHAEL LOBO

Michael Lobo claims to be the leader of Bardez taluka, he could manage to win only three out of seven seats in Bardez taluka, along with his two cronies including his wife Delilah (Siolim) and Kedar Naik (Saligao).  He has not only lost the gamble of jumping out of the BJP to join the Congress, but also had to go on a backfoot in his own Calangute constituency. The third-time MLA has lost his vote share by almost 11 per cent. 

The 46-year old overambitious Christian politician had polled 11,136 votes (56%) on ‘Hindutva Lotus’, but this time skid down to 9285 (45%) in spite of surrendering himself to the Congress, which enjoys sympathy of the Church. That too despite his immediate rival Joseph Sequeira’s votes also gliding down from 7311 to 4306, the difference of almost 3000. The AAP (Sudesh Mayekar) increased its vote share by hardly one per cent, but almost 12 per cent votes (2538) were pulled out by Marcelino Gonslaves of the RG from both the Congress and the BJP. 

Yes, all these battlefield heroes are back in the Assembly, but as ‘injured soldiers’. All is not well in their kingdoms. They have started losing ground on their home pitch. Is this kind of victory this time a beginning of the future fall of their empires?


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