Did RG damage only the Congress & its bastions in the Old Conquests?
Mere 10 per cent votes polled by the youngest party like Revolutionary Goans has created a scare among all the political parties in Goa. The Congress is in fact using the RG as its ‘defence’, claiming that they lost because of the regional outfit. It is also alleged that the BJP countered the strong anti-incumbency by hatching a ‘secret plot’ with the RG in order to split the votes. Is it so?
On the face value, it sounds true. But if the numbers are analysed more deeply, the real facts come to the fore. Exactly opposite. As much as the Congress, the young fanatic party with a slogan of ‘Goa for Goans’ has upset normal expectations of all the parties, including the BJP.
First of all, the RG made a debut in the Assembly from St Andre by defeating the BJP candidate Francis Silveira, not the Congress, that too merely by 76 votes. Otherwise, the saffron party would have achieved the magic figure of 21 in the 40-member House.
See how Viresh Borkar of the RG entered the Goa Assembly with a mere margin of 76 votes. He polled 5395 votes (33.14%). In the last election, Silveira as the Congress candidate had polled 8087 votes (40%) while BJP’s Ramarao Wagh had polled 3017 (18%). Silveira as the BJP this time polled 5319 votes (32.67%), meaning 2768 less votes (7% less) than what he polled last time. Anthony Fernandes of the Congress also polled only 2695 votes (17%). In spite of AAP this time giving ticket to Wagh substituting Rama Kankoankar, the vote share of AAP remained static at 6-7 per cent. Jagdish Bhobe as Trinamool also polled 1000 less votes (8%) than last time as the MGP candidate, 2393 votes (15%). It simply means the RG picked up votes from all these camps, except AAP and emerged victorious.
Such a scenario was witnessed in almost all the constituencies. Apparently, the RG was seen as the ‘third alternative’ by those Goan voters who did not want the BJP as well as the Congress (or the MGP in its stronghold areas).
In fact the first politician to voice out this concern was Maharashtrawadi Gomantak Party supremo Sudin Dhvalikar. Then BJP candidate of Saligao Jayesh Salgaonkar said that he lost 1928 party votes to the RG. Similarly, Rajesh Verenkar, the Congress candidate from Ponda, said he lost his ‘individual’ votes (which he had also polled last time as an Independent) in his Khandepar village because of the RG.
YOUNGSTERS SUPPORTED THE RG
A pre-election survey conducted by Prime TV had clearly shown that the youth were in favour of the RG. The election result substantiated it and the spread of the new regional outfit was witnessed all across Goa. The young voter this time comprised almost 39 per cent; between the age group of 18 to 40. And 20 per cent among them was a student as well as the youth below 30.
These were the survey findings:
PRIME TV SURVEY FINDINGS: %
18 – 40 Age
Maximum number of youth, between the age group of 18-40 was in favour of the RG (26%) than the BJP (25%) or the Congress (22%). And more among them were the first-time voters: 31% for the RG, 23% for the Congress and only 19% for the BJP. Similar was the break-up among the students.
This trend was also found across the religions of all the age groups. Above 20% Hindus or Christians had favoured the RG, compared to only nine per cent Muslims. Obviously, more Goans (21%) favoured the RG while hardly six per cent migrants were supporting the RG.
CITIES & TOWNS NOT IN FAVOUR OF RG
It is thus a myth that only the Christian-dominated Old Conquests of four talukas had more support for the RG, which is even financed by the UK-based Christian Goans. The Old Conquests, having 24 out of 40 constituencies, are considered to be the Congress strongholds. But this time a large number of voters here appear to have shifted their allegiance to the RG or the AAP, instead of the Congress.
RG IN OLD CONQUESTS
But the RG had no impact in Mormugao taluka, which consists of four constituencies: Mormugao, Vasco, Dabolim and Cortalim. The overall impact was hardly five per cent. Except Cortalim (10%), the RG was not supported by more than six per cent in Dabilim, three per cent in Vasco and not even one per cent (0.77%) in Mormugao. The port town area with Zuari and other industries has a large population of migrant labour, which obviously did not support the anti-migrant regional outfit. Also the Goans living in harmony with them.
However, the RG showed its presence of almost 12 per cent in the other three talukas of the Old Conquests: Salcete, Bardez and Tiswadi. But not all across the constituencies. In fact, the support it got in the major towns of the four talukas is negligible: Panaji (2%), Margao (3%) Mapusa (4%) and Fatorda (6%). These are certainly not dominated by the migrants, but it looks like their anti-migrant stand was not appreciated in the towns of Goa.
SATTARI & PONDA TOP THE LIST
Goa’s majority migrant population is concentrated in the Old Conquests. But the maximum impact of the RG was seen in two talukas of the New Conquests; 18 per cent in Sattari with two constituencies and 13 per cent in Ponda, having four seats. The issue in Sattari was not anti-midgrant but land rights, in the background of the anti-IIT agitation of Shell-Melauli that spread all across the taluka. Even 60 years after liberation, the Sattarikar are deprived of land ownership due to Alvara land owned by the government, Aframanto land owned by the Communidades and Mokashe held by the Khashe.
RG IN NEW CONQUESTS
Vishwajit Pratapsing Rane, the supposedly undisputed leader of Sattari, received a tight slap on his face by the Khashe-devoted voters. RG leader Manoj Parab polled around one fourth of the votes (6377). He brought down Vishwajit’s vote share to 54 per cent from 72 per cent votes he had polled in the by-election, when he had shifted from the Congress to the BJP. Comparatively, in Poriem, the RG polled only 12 per cent, but not less than 3500 votes. The regional outfit ranked third, very close to AAP candidate Vishwajit Krishnarao Rane, who polled 3874 votes (13%).
In Shiroda, Subhash Shirodkar won three consecutive elections; on Congress ticket in 2017, the by-poll of 2019 after joining the BJP and now once again as the saffron soldier. In the first two elections, it was a straight fight with Mahadev Naik (26%) as the BJP in 2017 where Congressman Shirodkar had polled 11156 (46%). In the by-poll, fighting a tough battle against MGP’s Deepak Dhavalikar, he won by only 76 votes, polling 10,661 votes (44%). But this time he had to face an unexpected triangular battle. Mahadev Naik, this time on AAP ticket, maintained his vote share at 25 per cent by polling 6133 votes. The surprise was Shailesh Naik of the RG, who polled 5063 votes (20%). Shirodkar of the BJP slipped down to 8307 (33%). Tukaram Borkar of the Congress could not poll even 2000 votes (8%).
Perhaps for the first time since he started winning his empire of Madkai in 1999, MGP supremo Sudin Dhavalikar’s base was shaken up by the RG. His vote share slipped down from 74 per cent to 59 per cent, almost 3000 less votes. That too when the BJP rose up from 3413 (15%) to 4000 (17%). Congress remained at 5 per cent while AAP share reduced by only two per cent. RG’s Premanand Gaude polled 3488 votes, pulling out 15 per cent votes from Sudin’s treasury. No wonder Sudin reacted so sharply to the RG’s success.
MADKAI RESULTS: 2017 & 2022
PARTY DID NOT EXIST
Comparatively, the RG did not affect his brother Deepak Dhavalikar in Priol so much, though he lost the election. He polled around 600 more votes this time and maintained his vote share at 39 per cent. Govind Gaude, who was last time supported by the BJP as an independent and now contested on the party ticket, had to survive a double attack. Sandeep Nigley (2697) as the rebel independent from within the party and RG’s Vishvesh Naik (2517). As a result, Gaude’s vote share reduced from 57 per cent to 39 per cent. It was literally a lottery for him to win the election by mere 213 votes!
Mayem was yet another surprise this time, from the New Conquests. Sitting MLA Pravin Zantye, who shifted to the MGP after he was denied ticket, was pushed down to the fourth position by a new entrant, Shrikrishna Parab of the RG, who does not even belong to the constituency but from Mulgao. Zantye literally tumbled down from 52 per cent to 13 per cent (nearly 9000 less). Each and every established politician was hit. BJP vote share reduced from 52 per cent to 31 per cent and Santosh Sawant of the Goa Forward from 31 per cent to 19 per cent. Contrary to this, RG’s Parab polled 3974 votes (16%), AAP rose from two per cent to 8 per cent and Africa-based businessman and independent candidate Milind Pilgaonkar polled 2316 votes (9%). Though finally BJP won the seat in the game of numbers, it was practically the anti-establishment poll witnessed in Mayem.
MORE IMPACT IN HINDU-DOMINATED BARDEZ
Like Salcete, the RG pulled 12 per cent votes also in the Bardez taluka of the Old Conquests. But except Christian-dominated Calangute, it was more in the Hindu-dominated seats like Tivim, Siolim and Saligao. The RG spared Aldona from contesting since Congress candidate Adv Carlos Fereira successfully argued their case for party recognition before the Election Commission of India.
No doubt the major battle in Tivim was between BJP’s Nilkanth Halarnkar and Kavita Kiran Kandoldkar of the TMC. But RG supremo Manoj Parab pulled over 5000 votes (21%), bringing down vote shares of both the bigwigs. Halarnkar slipped down from 50 per cent to 39 per cent and Kandolkar from 46 per cent to 31 per cent. Aman Lotlikar of the Congress could gain hardly 1262 votes (5%).
In Siolim, the RG roped into the vote banks of both the BJP and the Congress. The Congress did not have a candidate here and Vinod Palyekar had swept the poll by polling over 10,000 votes (44%). As an independent, he polled this time only 409 votes (2%), from first position to the last position. BJP’s Dayanand Mandrekar’s vote share reduced from 38 per cent to 32 per cent (776 less votes). And Congress MLA Delialah Lobo also polled 9699 votes (39%). RG’s Gauresh Mandrekar secured 3188 votes (13%) and established the party in the third position.
Michael Lobo claims that he is the King of Bardez. But this so-called King had too many invaders compared to 2017. It was not a battle between him and Joseph Sequeira, where they this time exchanged the parties. Both of them, and the Congress and the BJP, were weaked by the new invador, called Marcelino Gonslaves of the RG. He polled 2538 votes (12%), but reduced Lobo from 11136 (56%) to 9285 (45%) as well as Sequeira from 7311 (37%) to 4306 (21%). The AAP gaiend only two per cent more, but Anthony Fernandes of TMC also polled 1690 votes (8%).
In Tiswadi, besides St Andre which was captured by the RG, the young party also performed quite well in St Cruz and Cumbarjua (11% each), though both these seats were seized by the Congress. The impact was not much in Taleigao (7%) and Panaji (2%).
MIXED DAMAGE IN SALCETE
In the biggest taluka of Salcete with eight seats, which also has the largest number of Christians abroad, the RG made its presence felt everywhere, except in Madgao (3%) and Fatorda (6%). But the Goan-centric party damaged all the parties, not the Congress alone. As a result, the Congress however lost its control over the Christian domain. It lost two seats to AAP – Benaulim and Nuvem as well as two more to BJP (Navelim) and BJP-supported independent (Curtorim).
In Nuvem, Aleixo Sequeira of the Congress won by securing 40 per cent votes (8745) in spite of the RG candidate Arvind D’Costa being in second position at 20 per cent (4348). The Congress vote share declined by seven per cent this time. Wilfred (Babashan) D’Sa had last time polled 9967 votes (47%) but could not get even 3000 votes (14%) this time as the independent. Mickky Pacheco could also poll only 2073 votes (9.5%) compared to 4279 votes (20%) he polled in 2017. Even Dr Mariano Godinho of AAP slipped down from 3389 (16%) to 1222 (6%). The RG damaged them all.
In Benaulim, where AAP’s Captain Venzy Viegas swept the poll by securing nearly 6500 votes (31%), the Congress increased its vote share from 10 per cent (2157) to 22 per cent (4697). Maximum damage was caused to former MLA Churchill Alemao on the TMC ticket. He slipped down from 9373 (44%) to mere 5140 (24%). Besides AAP, Desmond Fernandes of the RG also polled 3854 votes (18%).
The AAP also won the Velim seat, but not even by securing one fourth of the votes. MLA Cruz Silva increased his vote share from 15 per cent (3423) last time to 23 per cent (5390) in a multi-cornered fight. The only new entrant this time was the RG, represented by Dagley Fernandes, who polled 3653 votes (16%). Both the parties caused damage to all the bigwigs. Hard-hit among them was former ‘defector’ minister Filipe Nery Rodrigues – from the Congress to the BJP- who tumbled down from over 10,000 votes (45%) to 3420 (15%), then Benjamin Silva from 5164 (22%) to 4134 (18%) and Congress candidate Savio D’Silva to 5221 (22%). Even BJP’s Savio Rodrigues (6%) could not retain his predecessor Vinay Tari’s eight per cent votes.
In Cuncolim, Yuri Alemao’s father Joaquim (6382) had lost the battle as an independent against Clefacio Dias (6415) of the Congress by a slander margin of 33 votes. But Congress MLA Yuri Alemao this time reached 9866 (42%) in spite of many powerful candidates. Clefacio on the BJP ticket this time could not reach 30 per cent in spite of BJP rebel Sudesh Bhise securing only 312 votes (1%). AAP (Elvis Gomes last time) came down from 15 per cent to Prashant Naik (4%). Wilson Cardozo of the RG however polled 2430 votes (11%). In that case, who damaged whom?
The real damage caused to the Congress in Curtorim was by the RG as well as former Congress MLA Aleixo Reginaldo Lourenco, whose independent candidature was secretly supported by the BJP. The official BJP candidate Anthony Barboza was this time down by around 2800 votes (14% less). Reginaldo’s vote share reduced from 61 per cent to 40 per cent. AAP remained static at 13 per cent. RG candidate Rubert Pereira secured 3479 votes (16%).
Precisely this is the reason almost all the established political parties are scared of the new phenomenon called the Revolutionary Goans. It has upset all the established permutations and combinations prevalent all these years. The AAP had also contributed to it. A real wakeup call indeed!