Low key election in Goa

Published on Apr 22, 2004 12:48 PM IST

Goa remains relatively calm but analysts warn that this could be the 'lull before the storm' with candidates going all out to woo voters.

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HT Image
PTI | ByPress Trust of India, Panaji

Amidst frenzied electioneering and hectic campaigns as the country gears up for the second phase of Lok Sabha elections, Goa remains relatively calm but analysts warn that this could be the 'lull before the storm' with candidates going all out to woo voters in the final days.

Goa, which has two seats to the Lok Sabha, has seen very low key campaigning, with candidates concentrating on door to door drives and corner meetings.

While Panaji seat is likely to go to the sitting BJP MP Sripad Naik, mainly due to lack of a strong opposition candidate, the fate of the Mormugoa seat is any one's guess, with both sitting MP Ramakant Angle of BJP and his opponent Churchill Alemao of Congress going neck and neck.

Both parties are not shy of using every trick in the book to woo voters, but the Congress seems to have a slight edge over the BJP owing to a Church circular that asked citizens to vote for a `secular party', as well as the fact that Angle has not accomplished much in his four year term.

"We know that if we put Angle before the people, no one will vote for him. He is not a good candidate which is why we are concentrating our speeches on the performance of Parrikar government and NDA at the centre," a BJP insider said.

Congress on the other hand seems to have put behind its famed factioneering and is putting up a united facade this time around, confident that it will romp home in a seat traditionally considered a bastion for the party.

Sore at having to give up Panaji seat to ally NCP, most Congressmen are quick to admit that NCP candidate Wilfred D'souza's campaign is a lost cause with both parties blaming the other for not putting in enough effort. MORE

D'souza, a veteran of many years, was understandably reluctant to fight from the Panaji seat, given that it is a Hindu dominated constituency and knowing full well that he would not get the hundred per cent support of the Congress MLA's, some of whom are well known to have a definite slant towards the BJP.

While D'souza and the Congress have used all their energy in exposing the `communal agenda' of the Parrikar government, they have also attacked both sitting MP's for not being active enough during their tenure, terming Naik a `ping pong ball' for being tossed around in five ministries in four years.

The BJP on the other hand has concentrated on its performance at the state level, and to an extent in the case of Sripad Naik, on his performance at the centre. In its supplementary manifesto, the party promised to pride better roads and train network and jobs for all.

Analysts feel that irrespective of the issues, it is the last two days that are going to be crucial to the fate of candidates, especially in Mormugoa constituency.

Campaigning ends on April 24 and the state will go to polls on April 26.

Tight security arrangements have been made for election day with additional companies of CRPF being brought in and booths with a history of booth capturing those declared sensitive have been accorded special attention.

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