Herald: It is going to be touch and go

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It is going to be touch and go

20 Jan 2019 06:24am IST
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20 Jan 2019 06:24am IST
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The forthcoming elections in Shiroda and Mandrem have generated much interest in the state due to the circumstances that led to these elections having to be held. Santosh Naik takes a look at the prospects of the various parties

hen the MG Party decided to contest the forthcoming Shiroda by election against its Coalition Government partner BJP, it certainly raised eyebrows. People are now expecting a strong triangular contest in the between the Congress, BJP and MGP. There is a lot of talk among people that if MGP fields its candidate than it will be major hurdle and setback for BJP to win the Shiroda seat for which BJP played political gamble to reduce the Congress Party MLAs and their mission to win Shiroda and Mandrem.

The upcoming by election for Shiroda Constituency are scheduled next month due to the resignation of Congress MLA Subash Shirodkar in October who thereafter soon joined to BJP with BJP wanting him to contest on its ticket and win the by election for BJP to strengthen the BJP led Government.

 After Subash joined the BJP the Congress party alleged he betrayed the party for his personal interest. him of betrayal by him for his personal interest. They alleged the BJP government lured him by purchasing his land at an exorbitant rate benefitting him. It was alleged the land of the former MLA worth around with original Rs 45 lakh when it was purchased a decade earlier was picked up by the government for Rs 65 crore. The matter is the court of the Goa

Lokayukth. However, Subash Shirodkar rejected and ridiculed the allegation stating the land purchased by government is that of his family having joint ownership of his brothers. He joined BJP for the development of his Constituency.

MG Party stand surprises BJP sending panic wave in BJP camp

After the 2017 Election a few days later Congress Valpoi MLA Vishwajeet Rane resigned and joined to BJP. But MG Party did not taken any stand nor raised voice against it nor field any candidates against him in Valpoi constituency, nor spoke against defection at time. But as of now in a similar situation in Shiroda following the resignation of Subash Shirodkar, the  MG Party which  is partner in the BJP led Coalition Government, took different stand. It was expected by BJP and also by the political pundit that MG Party might support BJP to elect its candidate Subash Shirodakar by defeating rival Congress Party, but all these predictions of BJP and political pundits proved baseless as MG Party declared to field its Party President Deepak Dhavlikar from Shiroda Constituency against Subash Shirodkar stating that MG Party is against defectors and that if it won the seat it will only support the  Coalition Government. With MG Party taking this stand there is panic among BJP Camp that if MGP field its candidate in by election, it might give advantage to Congress Party in by election. The BJP President Vinay Tendulkar are hoping that MG Party would take back its candidature at the last minute and would support BJP in by election. MGP Justified its stand that they were not in a pre-poll alliance with BJP in 2017 Election. As there was no clear mandate the MGP in interest of Goans supported the Manohar Parrikar led government along with support of Goa Forward. Hence MGP is free to contest poll.

 BJP hopes and advantage 

If everything goes as expected by the BJP and MG Party also support them at the last minute the BJP Party will still have to take lot of effort to convince the voters as currently there is unhappy atmosphere and strong wave against ruling government. However the BJP is hoping to win the seat considering the BJP has its organizational structure, traditional BJP vote share and local Block Committee not opposed to Subash Shirodkar like the opposition to Dayanand Sopte at Mandrem who also joined to BJP from Congress.   Subash Shirodkar had remained a mass leader for past three decades in Shiroda, having good personal contact and vote share in the Constituency. BJP hopes that Subash joining the ruling government would be advantage for him to attract voters as many of them are hoping for government jobs. But in order to win the seat BJP has to overcome several problems.  The voters are unhappy this time he has changed side from Congress to BJP and forced the election on them. However, Subash Shirodkar constantly maintained he left the Congress because development of the constituency was halted. Subash managed to leave the Congress with his supporters, but many supporters being loyal Congressman still remain with Congress.

 The ruling BJP go government in order to strengthen its government is fielding Subash Shirodkar in this by election and was hoping of easy victory. But it appears this by election will not be cakewalk for him. He may have won six elections for Congress and lot of experience but this time he has to face the challenge of MG Party candidate Deepak Dhavlikar whose party is a partner in the ruling BJP led coalition government, but also challenge of Congress Party from which people had elected him.

Congress Party has the large share of traditional vote bank in Shiroda which includes Christian and Muslim voters. 

Congress Party hopes and 

advantage 

Congress Party who has won six out eight elections contested from Shiroda has large number of traditional vote share and hoping that this vote bank will stand behind it. Party has taken an oath to teach a lesson to Subash Shirodkar who defected to the party to join BJP.  The Congress Party President Girish Chodankar said he would take the support of all, even those   who supporting his desire to defeat Subash

Shirodkar from outside the Party.  Congress Party received a jolt after its MLA Subash Shirodkar resigned and joined to BJP. The Congress Party was leaderless and for over a period of three decades it relied on Subash Shirodkar who remained its leader. The party never expected him to betray them and join the BJP. He was the senior most leader at one point of time and also a GPCC leader. The  Congress Party Convention was held at Shiroda and the Party President Girish Chodankar urged them to create history by teaching a lesson to the defector. He alleged BJP indulged in horse trading and Subash Joined

to BJP in exchange of a land deal case worth Rs 70 crore which is a betrayal to Congress. For the Congress it is good sign that there are so many candidates interested to contest on its ticket from within and outside the Party.

Even BJP Leader Mahadev Naik unhappy with the entry of Subash in BJP has shown an interest to contest on Congress ticket. Congress Party president Girish Chodankar said there are so many candidates within the party and outside interested to contest on Congress ticket for the by election of  Shiroda Consituency, hence the party is not willing to force any of these 

candidates on workers and voters but decision for selection of the  right candidate has been handed over to local Congress Party workers including Shiroda Congress Block Committee who will talk with people of Shiroda and select the candidate who is not only their preference but also public acceptance.

When asked about former BJP Minister Mahadev Naik announcing to contest election if Congress party give him ticket, Girish Chodankar said the Congress Party has not taken a decision on it. Even ZP Jaydeep Shirodkar showed an interest to contest on a congress ticket. Now all eyes are focused on who will be the Congress Party candidate against MGP and BJP.

Disadvantage of Congress

Over the past many years Congress leadership remain with Subash Shirodkar for over three decades. Even after two successive defeats in 2007, and 2012 the party fielded Subash Shirodkar in 2017 election and won the seat. But the party failed to create new leadership. Some Congress party workers also rallying behind Subash Shirodkar after he joined to BJP. Congress is also in trouble because there is no leadership and they are struggling to find a candidate who can win. 

MG Party

The MG Party won the first four elections from Shiroda Constituency.  However, after that it has remained a Congress bastion with six victories and BJP twice. During the 2017 Assembly Election MGP finished third with Abay Prabu getting 5815 votes. MGP President Deepak Dhavlikar is hoping to win the seat and also began campaigning by offering prayers at the Navdurga and Saibaba Temple. According to MGP leader Deepak  Dhavlikar his party is against defection and want to teach a lesson. He said the party filed a petition in Court but did not get justice and so now they are going to the voters to seek justice to teach lesson to defectors. The PWD Minister Sudin Dhavlikar too objected to the defectors joining the BJP, MGP and Goa Forward led Coalition Government which is formed by like minded parties. He said in 2017 they contested Shiroda poll on its own and now also they want to contest to teach a lesson to defectors. It is speculated that since Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar is unwell there was a demand from the MG Party to handover the temporary charge of Chief Minister to PWD Minister Sudin Dhavlikar, however as BJP did not paid heed to it, the MG Party irked with the BJP decided to field a candidate against its Coalition partner. 

The Other Parties interested to contest election are AAP, Goa  Suraksha Manch besides Independents. Goa Forward which is in Coalition Government has not yet declared its stand whether it will contest or support the BJP Government.

Glance at Shiroda Constituency Elections 

So far MG Party won the first four elections, Congress won maximum six times and BJP two times. In 2017 election Congress candidate Subash Shirodkar secured

11156 votes, BJP Mahadev Naik 6286 and MGP Abay Prabu 5815, Aap Party Molu Velip 586,  Independent Nilesh Gaonkar 447 and Diya Shetkar 140.

There are four Panchayats in the constituency with around 31000 voters.   Shiroda Panchayat is with BJP, while Borim and Bethora with Congress and Panchawadi with Goa Forward.

There are many problems in Shiroda Constituency. Traffic congestion is the main problem at Shiroda Bazaar which is a prime location in Shiroda panchayat.

Bypass road, Shifting of Vendors by constructing new Market Complex and Bus Stand (which is already there lying idle since inauguration) is the need of hour at Shiroda to decongest the Shiroda Bazaar which causes great hardship to locals when they visit the Bazaar. The Bypass road and market complex will make it easy to use the unutilized KTC Bus stand at Shiroda which is few km away from the Bazaar. Beside this there is the problem of unemployment. Some remote  parts of Shiroda faces water shortage which needs to be addressed.
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