Herald: MGP: The lair is shrinking for the lion

MGP: The lair is shrinking for the lion

31 Mar 2017 08:19pm IST

Report by
Santosh Naik Ponda

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31 Mar 2017 08:19pm IST

Report by
Santosh Naik Ponda

The party which ruled Goa in the mid 60s and 70s is losing its ground in Goa; many voters feel that it lost Priol and Ponda seats as it failed to meet the expectations of Goans

Maharashtrawadi Gomantak Party (MGP) which once played the role of the big brother is now reduced to playing a second fiddle in the present government.

The party which ruled Goa in the mid 60s and 70s is losing its ground in Goa with many voters feel that it lost its Priol and Ponda seats as it failed to  meet the expectations of Goans and needs to do a serious self introspection for its survival and frame policies to protect the identity of Goa and Goans.  

Three MGP MLAs won their seats due to individual work and their contact with voters and not merely on party symbols feels the voters while two of their MLAs having hold in Ponda and Priol lost giving major jolt to the party.

In Ponda, MGP finished fourth while in Shiroda it stood third, while in Priol, Deepak Dhavalikar lost seat by a huge 4500-vote margin.

The public feels that when MGP is a coalition partner of any national party while forming a government, it fails to build pressure on the government by turning itself into a mute spectator whenever there is a decision taken against its policies or against the interest of the state.

The locals feel that when MGP is part of government it should pressurise for government to promote best policies in the interest of Goans. Here it falls short and succumbs to pressure of ruling to support their policies.

MGP, which is the oldest local party, had very good base in Ponda taluka and received a major setback when it lost three of the seats in the taluka as two of its sitting MLAs got defeated in the recently concluded Assembly polls. 

The MGP’s poor performance has been overlooked as it was able to win from Pernem, Sanvordem and Marcaim. But its overall performance in Goa has suffered except in some constituencies. But if one looks at votes margin in some constituencies, it appears as if MGP contested a panchayat election where it secured votes in three digits, though its leaders claimed a rise in the number of votes.

Further the party lost its Priol bastion with Deepak Dhavalikar losing the poll by securing 10463 votes. Party’s Bicholim candidate Naresh Sawal too lost as he managed to secure 9988 votes. In Shiroda, Abay Prabu finished third with 5815 votes, in Mapusa Vinod Fadke (fourth with 4129 votes), Ponda  -- Lavoo Mamledar (fourth with 3796 votes), Aldona -- Mahesh Satelkar (fourth 3000 votes), Santa Cruz Prakash Naik (2707 votes), Sant Andre --  Jagdish Bobe (2393 votes), Valpoi - Vijay Gaonkar (3246 votes), Dabolim -- Premanand Nanoskar (4740 votes) and  Navelim - Satyavijay Naik (1798 votes).

 Even though MGP claims that its voting percentage has increased from 6.5 percent to 12.5 percent the votes it secured were negligent in many constituencies in which its candidates were defeated as if they had contested panchayat election. In Mandrem, Shridhar Mandrekar got 678 votes, Porvorim - Rajesh Amonkar (46), Poriem - Suhas Naik (469), Vasco - Manish Arolkar (542), Cortalim -- Suman Sharma (75), Nuvem - Dinesh Bandekar (664), Fatorda  - D S Naik (155), Margao - Jayesh Naik (216), Quepem - Sidhesh Gavde (211), Sanguem  - Vasu Meng Gaonkar (476) and Canacona - Gourish Bandekar (398).

Graceful in defeat, MGP president Deepak Dhavalikar said, “All is not lost. People will give us another chance in future. MGP has a bright future. After suffering a setback in recently held election our party will make fresh attempts to strengthen its base all over Goa. Party workers would reach to voters in the upcoming panchayat elections. As now I have lots of time and am looking at next election as an opportunity to strengthen the roots of this regional party at the grassroot level.”

He said, “Though the party could only win three seats, the votes it polled this election have witnessed a rise of 12.5 per cent  as compared to the 2012 election where is was just mere 6.5 percent. This shows that people of Goa still have a place for MGP in their hearts. We will begin ours preparations for the next assembly election.”

According to local Damu Naik, in Priol as MGP is losing its ground and has to come out with major policy reforms to restore its glory. It is a difficult task because after contesting against BJP candidates it has allied with it. People believe MGP is BJP’s permanent ally. Despite Deepak Dhavalikar’s defeat in Priol by Govind Gaude with support of BJP its alliance with the saffron party has surprised many about its stand. MGP lost its ground because of Tenancy Act amendment. Both former Chief Minister Laxmikant Parsekar and Deepak Dhavalikar lost as many tenants lost their cases due to the amendment.

Umakant Naik says, “In this election three MGP MLAs have been elected not because of the party symbol but due to their individual work and for popularity amongst the voters. The party failed to retain Ponda and Priol seats as it decided to break its alliance with BJP and by declaring Sudin Dhavalikar as the Chief Ministerial candidate.”

Naik further said, “MGP failed to win those seats because like BJP it too failed to fulfil the aspirations of Goa and Goans. For example when Tenancy Act amendment was passed in Assembly, the party failed to oppose it tooth and nail. Further MGP too failed to take up various issues such as Marathi as MoI and casinos. Goa needs a strong regional Party which will protect tenants and mundkars by repealing the recent amendment to the Tenancy Act. The regional party should work to protect the environment.”

Upendra Naik says, “Goa needs a party that will solve its problems. In case of MGP it needs to do a self introspection as to know the reason behind its failure in retaining Priol and Ponda seats. It needs to work to protect the identity of Goa and Goans. Further it needs to address the issue of unemployment and work to create jobs for Goans. Efforts need to be made to bring fallow land under cultivation. It also needs to encourage the local youth to take up farming by using modern technology.

According to Viraj Sapre, MGP failed to reach out to the people in other constituencies except Ponda taluka. Further the party lacked organisational set up as it lost its Catholic vote base due to its pre-poll alliance with the Goa Suraksha Manch.

Sapre said BJP will try to sideline Ravi Naik by bringing about development works in Ponda. In the past there was a war between alliance partners with former MLAs alleging BJP of stalling development.

Another resident Ashok Naik said, “Ravi Naik has the ability to do development work. Despite being in the Opposition he knows how a government functions and how to get the works done.

Mangesh Naik said, “BJP will try to gain ground as after poll result the MGP which was in first place finished fourth while the BJP came in second.

However, sitting MLA Ravi Naik said, “Even though I am in the Opposition, government cannot stop development works because after all government is running on tax payers’ money. If such an attempt is made I will not remain silent.”

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