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Tension mounts as elections draw closer

With just two days to go for polling to elect the 40-member assembly in Goa, uncertainty looms large over the outcome as voters are keeping both the ruling and opposition camps guessing over their choice. Aurangzeb Naqshbandi reports.

india Updated: Feb 29, 2012 23:30 IST
Aurangzeb Naqshbandi

With just two days to go for polling to elect the 40-member assembly in Goa, uncertainty looms large over the outcome as voters are keeping both the ruling and opposition camps guessing over their choice.

Goa is famous for throwing hung verdicts. The state has seen 19 chief ministers from 1963 when Dayanand Bandodkar of the Maharashtrawadi Gomantak Party (MGP) — a regional outfit with strong support base among backward Hindus — assumed office two years after the end of Portuguese rule.

For 17 years between 1990 and 2007, Goa has been ruled by 15 governments. While some chief ministers have ruled for several years, many occupied the post for few months to few weeks while one could last just for a week only.

Incumbent Digambar Kamat, who took over as CM on June 8, 2007, is the only one to have completed the full term — around four and a half years — since Goa became the 25th state of India in 1987.

“Unpredictability and uncertainty are the key words when we talk about Goa elections. It’s difficult to predict the winner. National averages don’t apply here. Voters are more loyal to candidates than political parties,” said Ajay Thakur, a local journalist.

Riding on the strong anti-incumbency factor coupled with the allegations of illegal mining, ‘family raj’ and corruption charges against the Kamat government, the BJP is confident of snatching Goa from the Congress this time.

The BJP has tied up with the MGP, which opted out of the Congress-led ruling coalition just days ahead of the elections.