Equal honours for BJP, Cong in Goa

Published on May 13, 2004 10:00 PM IST

Cong, BJP have garnered one seat each in Goa but the political climate in the state is hotting up with several political ambitions resurfacing.

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HT Image
PTI | ByPress Trust of India, Panaji

As the BJP and Congress having earning equal honours in Goa, by garnering one seat each, the political climate in the state is hotting up with several political ambitions resurfacing, spelling danger for the state's tremulous record of instability in government.

Though the result in the two Lok Sabha constituencies were almost on the expected lines, with union minister Sripad Naik bagging the Panaji seat and Churchill Alemao of Congress winning the Mormugoa constituency, the victory margin has raised the Congress hopes of `toppling' the government.

After Churchill won by more than 50,000 votes against BJP's sitting MP Ramakant Angle, GPCC President Luisinho Faleiro said, "We give this government another ten days in office. After that it will not survive".

NCP President Wilfred D'souza, who lost the Panaji seat to Naik by 56,213 votes also expressed doubts on the longevity of the Parrikar government, saying it would not last long.

Parrikar, however, played up the fact that his party had garnered one per cent more vote share than the Congress-NCP combine in the elections, calling it a `swing in favour of the BJP, especially keeping in mind the national trend of anti-incumbency votes'.

"We had expected a better performance, but this is not bad either. We are leading in 21 of the 40 assembly constituencies and that indicates a swing in favour of our party," he told reporters Panaji.

Parrikar also indirectly attacked the church, which had carried on a sustained campaign, asking people to vote for `secular parties', saying religious institutions had no right to interfere in politics.

Admitting that the party had `miscalculated' the vote share in Mormugoa by around 30,000 votes, Parrikar, however, said this was in keeping with the national scenario which showed that most states had voted against the party in power at the local level.

He also dismissed claims by opposition parties that his government would be toppled, saying "I do not need to keep my flock together, because they are together. There is no question whatsoever of the government toppling".

Even as the celebrations at the BJP office in the capital were subdued, partly due to Angle's defeat and also due to the loss at the centre, Congress workers were seen celebrating.

Alemao, a former NSA detainee, made serious inroads in traditional BJP bastions like Shiroda, Marcaim, and Vasco-da-gama, which is the home constituency of state BJP President Rajendra Arlekar.

He also strengthened his lead in congress bastions of Salcete taluka and Ponda. Naik on the other hand, also made major gains in his constituency of Panaji, getting a sizeable number of votes in minority dominated segments like Saligao and Calangute.

Naik has been a minister of state in the Vajpayee government, handling as many as five ministries in four years, including his last assignment as Minister of Finance. A veteran leader of BJP, he along with Parrikar and state chief Arlekar are credited with the rise of the party in the state.

Alemao, on the other hand, is seen as a colourful politician, someone who knows the pulse of the people. A former Chief Minister and also a one-time MP, he is known for his flashy lifestyle and booming voice.

 

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