Tuesday 18 June 2024

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Politics | Lok Sabha '99

Salcete-Mormugao may shatter Alemao's dream


Should it be considered a clear indication of downfall of the rulingCongress party since the decisive factors, Salcete and Mormugao talukas,have recorded the lowest ever polling turnout in the political history ofSouth Goa ?

Incidentally, both these talukas are dominated by 10 MLAs belonging to theruling party, with a sole exception of Margao MLA Digambar Kamat, of theBJP. But the polling turnout - 38.04 in Mormugao and 41.14 in Salcete -gives a feeling otherwise.

While the polling percentage in Mormugao parliamentary constituency fallingby 14.56 than the last Lok Sabha election held just a year ago, nearly75,748 voters have stayed away this time in the South. But, interestingly,the non-enthusiasm was not spread out evenly in all the talukas.

A large chunk of voters among it belongs to Salcete and Mormugao - 47,738to be precise - which is almost 63 per cent of the total absentees. Thelowest among them is in Margao, the BJP bastion, where only 2436 lessvoters turned up.

Highest is 'former' minister Mauvin Godinho's Cortalim where 6389 votersrefused to vote. This number is more than the whole of Quepem taluka,consisting of two constituencies, which recorded 6201 less turnout.

Second in the line is Curtorim of health minister Francisco Sardinha,former South Goa MP, whose 'sickness' perhaps also pushed 5662 voters in adepressed state of mind. Compared to over 14,000 voting there when hecontested, only around 8700 voters turned up this time. It is more than thewhole Sanguem taluka, which shows reduced number of 5256 voters.

Among the 32,550 less voters in Salcete, the figures in Congress bastionsare quite depressing, except that industries minister Churchill Alemaomanaged to pull out over 9500 voters, which is only 3245 less than lasttime. Even chief minister Luizinho Faleiro's Navelim recorded 4198 lessvoters.

The reduced number in other Congress bastions in Salcete and Mormugao is4844 in Fatorda, 4426 in Mormugao, 4373 in Vasco, 4340 in Cuncolim, 4153 inVelim, and 3670 in Loutolim. The trend appears dangerous for Joaquim Alemaoas Salcete and Mormugao normally washes away rivals' leads in othersegments, making Congress victorious.

Except Ponda, where the total reduced number in all the four Assemblysegments is 12,787, the reduced number of turnout in the rest of thesupposedly BJP stronghold talukas like Sanguem, Quepem and Canacona ismarginal. It is 3766 in Canacona.

In fact the difference in total polling between these four talukas andSalcete-Mormugao is hardly 23,487 votes this time, compared to more thandouble the last time, 47,738 in the '98 polls. It leaves a gap of around24,000 votes, which may cost dearly to the Congress.

The comparative figures for these talukas this time and last year alsodepict a very agonizing picture for the ruling party. The gap ofSalcete-Mormugao in two polls is 47,737 whereas it is only 28,010 in therest of the four talukas. It means the party having influence in these fourtalukas will have an advantage of around 24,000 votes over Salcete andMormugao.

On the face value, it appeared a smooth sailing for Alemao to win the SouthGoa seat. But the 'silent boycott' of sashttikars, may it be due to rainsor to symbolise the protest against non-expansion of the cabinet orcandidature to Churchill's brother, it is capable of shattering dreams ofChurchill brothers to dash the national capital once again.

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