Congress confident of forming government in Goa following high voter turnout

“We presented our candidates before the electorate. People have voted for this change. This will be the BJP’s worst electoral defeat,” Goa Congress president Girish Chodankar said

Indian National Congress flag
Indian National Congress flag

Aditya Anand

Goa’s overall polling percentage in Monday’s assembly elections is set to cross 80 per cent after including postal ballots. Minus the postal ballots cast, the coastal state saw an enthusiastic voter turnout of 78.94 per cent.

A total of 11.64 lakh voters cast their votes in 1722 polling stations with 301 candidates trying their electoral fortunes.

Leading the turnout race was incumbent chief minister Pramod Sawant’s constituency Sanquelim, which saw an 89.64 per cent turnout. The lowest voter turnout was seen in Benaulim where 70.20 % of voters cast their vote. In Benaulim, sitting MLA Churchill Alemao is pitted against a newcomer, AAPs Capt. Venzy Veigas.

Reacting to the voter turnout, state Congress president Girish Chodankar said that 80 per cent of people of Goa wanted to change the government. “We (as a party) had changed ourselves and presented our candidates before the electorate. People have voted for this change. This will be the BJP’s worst electoral defeat in Goa, with it being reduced to a single digit in the assembly. The chief minister and both his deputies are set to be defeated,” Chodankar said.

Political analysts noted that enthusiasm in voter turnout was actually missing during the campaign phase. “Today’s trend shows enthusiasm among the people. Such enthusiasm was not seen during the canvassing phase at all. As I look at it, this is a vote against the government which is facing anti-incumbency. Consolidation of votes was expected either for BJP or Congress, and I feel it is for the latter,” political observer and academician Dr. Manoj Kamat said.

While the overall polling was by and large peaceful, a minor skirmish was reported in Benaulim after some supporters of sitting MLA Churchill Alemao tried to corner AAP candidate Venzy Viegas.

Similarly, tension was reported from the Rumdamol Housing Board area where accusations of money being distributed by one of the candidates were making the rounds.

“Congress got the opportunity to give new faces to the electorate and the voting percentage shows that the people have appreciated it. There is a clear Congress wave and there is no doubt that we will be coming to power,” former chief minister and candidate from Margao, Digambar Kamat said.

Kamat’s party colleague and Goa election in-charge Dinesh Gundu Rao said that looking at the polling percentage, it was very clear that the Congress party was set to get a clear mandate. “The people of Goa are voting for change decisively,” he said.

Aam Aadmi Party's Chief Ministerial face for Goa, Amit Palekar who is contesting from the St. Cruz constituency expressed confidence in his victory, saying that this was the moment to bring a change. He was accompanied by his mother.

“I am confident of bringing about a change. People are voting enthusiastically to defeat corruption, we will witness a sea-change. Let's wait for March 10 results,” Palekar said.

Former BJP MP from south Goa, Narendra Sawaikar said that Goa, for the third consecutive time, would see a BJP government coming to power.

State BJP president Sadanand Tanawade, addressing the media, said, “The high voting percentage indicates that people have faith in us. Our opponents have always underestimated the BJP, even in the previous polls, but we will have a comfortable majority. The BJP will have representations in Bardez, Tiswadi, Pernem etc,” Tanawade claimed, adding that the BJP had a strong network of booth-level workers who were energised and whose working was unmatched.

About Dr. Pramod Sawant’s constituency which saw the highest polling percentage being recorded, Tanavade said that an unnecessary hype had been created that the CM’s own seat was shaky. “We are winning the Sanquelim seat by over 6000 plus votes,” he contended.

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Published: 14 Feb 2022, 10:57 PM