Christian-dominated segments, AAP, GFP help Congress win South Goa

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Christian-dominated segments, AAP, GFP help Congress win South Goa

Panaji: Despite losing in two Assembly constituencies in South Goa after its leaders joined the BJP, the grand old party could retain this Lok Sabha seat with the help of its INDIA bloc partners AAP, Goa Forward Party, and voters from the Christian-dominated segments.

 

Though the BJP had counter strategies to attract voters from its stronghold Hindu-dominated constituencies, it failed to cover up the losses from the Congress bastions. Benaulim and Velim constituencies represented by AAP MLAs gave a lead of around 14181 and 13350 votes respectively to the Congress candidate from the Christian community Capt Vinato Fernandes. GFP MLA Vijai Sardesai played a key role during campaigning against the BJP government over alleged corruption in the refurbishment of the Kala Academy, National Games and other issues.

The Congress got a lead of 10895 votes in Nuvem constituency, represented by Alexio Sequeira, who was recently inducted into the cabinet of Pramod Sawant.

Sawant, during the election campaign in South Goa, had said that he has faith in party workers and the ‘double power’ he has got.

“In 2019 (Lok Sabha election) we missed victory in the South by a few votes. We tried our level best to win that election. But today changes have taken place. During that election Digambar Kamat, Ravi Naik, Alexio Sequeira (former Congress leaders) and MGP leader Sudin Dhavlikar were not with us. Currently these leaders are in the BJP. This means we have double power. Our strength has increased,” Sawant had said.

Former Chief Minister Digambar Kamat and Alexio Sequeira are among the eight MLAs of the Congress who had switched to the BJP in 2022. Former Chief Minister Ravi Naik had joined the BJP two months before the assembly election 2022.

MGP MLA Sudin Dhavalikar, who is currently Power Minister in Chief Minister Pramod Sawant’s government, had worked against the BJP in 2019 by supporting the Congress and hence the BJP’s South Goa candidate Narendra Sawaikar had lost by 9755 votes, despite being the then sitting MP’.

Dhavalikar was dropped from the cabinet in the last term (2017 to 2022) of the BJP government after his two MLAs split from the regional party and joined the saffron party then. To retaliate, Dhavalikar supported the Congress in the 2019 Lok Sabha election, which helped the grand old party’s candidate Francisco Sardinha to win from the South Goa seat.

Along with a lead of 4985 votes in Shiroda constituency represented by (former Congressman) MLA Subhash Shirdokar, Ponda MLA Ravi Naik and Marcaim MLA Sudin Dhavalikar gave a lead of 5598 and 10748 respectively to the BJP from these Hindu dominated constituencies. However it could not compete with the lead from Christian dominated constituencies.

The Congress got a lead of 5548 votes in Cuncolim constituency of Leader of Opposition Yuri Alemao and a lead of 784 in Quepem constituency of MLA Alton Dcosta.

According to political observers, the Christian community helped the Congress to defeat BJP candidate Pallavi Dempo, who is an industrialist.

 


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