Though the Shiv Sena tried to corner the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in the Goa assembly election by forging an alliance with party floated by the ousted Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) leader Subhash Velingkar, it failed miserably. Besides losing all the three seats its contested, the party managed a paltry vote share of less than 2%.
The Sena contested three seats,Saligao, Cuncolim and Mormugao, in the 40-member state. The nomination of the party’s fourth candidate, Sangam Bhosle, who was to contest from Thivim, was rejected because he submitted his affidavit late while filing his nomination.
Sena MP Sanjay Raut, who was helming the party’s effort to boost its presence in Goa, said, “It is true that in terms of numbers we did not get as much success as we had anticipated. But the most important thing that we gained from this election is establishing our base and cadre in the state. This was the first time we contested Goa elections with an organised effort, and we will fight the Lok Sabha poll and the next assembly election as well.”
The party’s worst defeat was registered at Mormugao, a sub-district in south Goa and the state’s main port, where the party probably had its best shot at putting up a good show as it had held a few panchayat seats in the 90s.
Here, Sena’s Sanjay Naik stood fourth by bagging just 51 votes as compared to the BJP’s winning candidate (8,466 votes). The Sena’s total vote share in this constituency was a dismal 0.28%.
In comparison, the party’s performance in Cuncolim and Saligao was a tad better.
Sena’s Devendra Desai, who stood sixth with 313 votes, lost to Congress’ Clafasio Dias (6,415 votes) in south Goa’s Cuncolim. Desai’s vote share was 1.4%.
Similarly, in north Goa’s Saligao, Sena’s Rajesh Dabholkar came fifth (428 votes). The winning candidate, Jayesh Salgaonkar of the Goa Forward Party (GFP), bagged 9,735 votes — over 46% of the total votes cast. Here, the Sena’s vote share here was a trifling 2%.
During the 2012 assembly election, the Sena had lost all three seats it had contested. Unlike now, the party had invested negligible amount of time and effort in campaigning in Goa back then. But this time it collaborated with two political forums that had differences with the incumbent BJP and tried to corner it. The Sena forged an alliance with the Goa Suraksha Manch (GSM), floated by ousted RSS Goa chief Velingkar, and the Maharashtravadi Gomantak Party (MGP), which snapped ties with the BJP. While the MGP won 3 seats, the GSM emulated Sena.
What is likely to the hurt the party most is that poor show it put up despite Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray and party’s youth leader Aaditya Thackeray personally campaigned for its candidates, lashing out at the incumbent BJP and questioning its achievements in the last five years. Goa assembly election came soon after the Sena called of its alliance with the BJP for the civic polls across Maharashtra.
With the MGP now deciding agreeing to support the BJP in its bid to form the the government, Raut censured MGP leaders for disrespecting people’s sentiments. The BJP came second with 13 seats, while the Congress bagged 17 seats.
“Parties like MGP and the GFP won seats because the mandate was against the BJP in those particular constituencies. They are cheating people by joining the BJP now,” Raut said.