Herald: BJP, MGP spar in Shiroda, Mahadev banking on division of votes

BJP, MGP spar in Shiroda, Mahadev banking on division of votes

07 Apr 2019 05:37am IST

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SHOAIB SHAIKH

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07 Apr 2019 05:37am IST

Report by
SHOAIB SHAIKH

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Over the last month or so, the political movements in Shiroda have been the focus of attention not only for the Shiroda voters, but for the general public, as the domino effect from Ponda could be felt across Goa. SHOAIB SHAIKH takes stock of the scenario, as defection, party hopping and the pride of political parties takes centre stage in the run up to the by-poll in this constituency

Loyalty versus deception is the key to a win in the by-polls to the Shiroda Assembly constituency. Loyalty to the individual or deception due to the angst of defection will decide the fate in the triangular fight between former Congressman SubhashShirodkar who is contesting as a BJP candidate, former BJP minister Mahadev Naik who is contesting on a Congress ticket and former Priol MLA DipakDhavalikar of the MGP who is now contesting in Shiroda.

For voters, while the idea of defection has not gone too well with the two national parties having nominated candidates, who until months ago were part of the opposite camp; they are neither very fond of MGP's candidate who until two years ago was representing Priol. However, despite the chaos of defections, loyalty to the party and loyalty to the individual remains the agenda while voting, for thousands of voters in the constituency.

Shiroda constituency has approximately around 27000 voters eligible to vote in the upcoming by-poll. 

While speaking about the defections, a retired employee of the KTC said “The two of them who   have changed their party affiliation have become like ‘aya ramgaya ram’. People will decide their fate in the upcoming elections. While, changing party affiliations are not a problem, but for what and for whom is the question.”

Another senior citizen who runs a general store echoing similar sentiments said that unlike earlier when vote was cast only based on either the party or the individual, this time around people will think twice before casting their vote. "While there is no doubt that people are angry due to defections, but their own affiliations and assessments of their future needs plays an important role”, he added.

Unlike a decade ago when election campaigns were everything about posters and banners and vehicles with loud speakers atop attracting the attention of the villagers, it is now very subtle and focussed on individuals and social media has become a key. Few party flags flying high atop the roofs and stickers pasted on doors and veranda pillars and at some places youth charged up in the election fever roaring either on bikes or open jeeps is the new scene.

When asked about the issues which would play an important role during the elections, a quick reply came from a middle aged person “All that you see here is the work of the various social workers and organisations that take up issues concerning the people and get them completed. No doubt these elected representatives then are the way to get the projects funded by the government, but fundamentally it is the people, and the representatives have no choice but toget our works done.”

Responding to a question whether employment will be an issue during the by-polls, a middle aged man said “The educated have nothing much to do over here, they are employed in various companies either in Verna or Kundaim else they are working in Panjim or Margao.The way things happen in the name of development, we are happy that there is no industrialisation and big commercial establishments in our villages.”

A restaurant owner however pointed out that while there will be lots of discussions during the election on different issues, but people will not reveal what is in their minds. He said “For everything you always have to approach some or the other politician, be it the panch or the MLA and therefore by being outspoken nobody would want to get in bad books with those in power. People will tell you what they want but through their votes.”

However, loyalty to the person and party too cannot be ignored. As one elderly vendor said “I don’t know about the party but whenever you are in need, you turn up on their doors and if that man is getting your work done, then party affiliations become meaningless. If people have faith on the individual, regardless of the party, he will win. Its individual's faith and trust on a man.”
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