TMC, AAP aided BJP’s win in Goa by splitting opposition votes, shows data analysis

Congress could have added an additional 11% vote share, taking it past the BJP’s vote share of 33.5%. TMC took away 5.2% votes while AAP maintained its 2017 vote share of around 6.8%

A vote counting centre (representational image)
A vote counting centre (representational image)

Aditya Anand

Data analysis of the recently concluded Goa assembly elections shows that the Congress lost out in at least 7 seats it was banking on winning only because of a major split in the non-BJP votes caused by the presence of candidates of Trinamool Congress (TMC) and Aam Aadmi Party (AAP), besides the under-estimated Revolutionary Goans (RG) party.

In pure vote share number terms, Congress could have added an additional 11%, taking its share to a little over the BJP’s vote share of 33.5%. Of this 11%, the TMC took away 5.2% of the vote share while the AAP managed to maintain its 2017 vote share with a slight improvement to 6.8%.

While the TMC drew a blank, the AAP managed to pull in two seats.

The Congress vote share was reduced from 28.4% in 2017 to 23.5% this time. This 5% odd share loss for Congress could have well been prevented by parties opposed to the BJP like the TMC did not split the votes, said Michael Lobo, a minister in the previous Pramod Sawant-led BJP government and now newly elected Calangute MLA from the Congress.

Lobo attributed the loss of 7 seats to a major split in non-BJP votes. “We did not see this happening. The TMC damaged our prospects in many places. Benaulim, Cortalim, Mapusa, Navelim, Sanguem, Velim are examples of seats we were eyeing for victory,” he said.

In the last elections held in 2017, the Congress had won 17 seats but the BJP was ahead in terms of vote share, with 32.5 percent against the Congress’ 28.4 percent. The MGP came in third with 11 percent of the vote share.

According to ECI data, independents won 11.1 percent of the vote share, the AAP 6.3 percent, Goa Forward 3.5 percent, the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) 2.3 percent, Goa Suraksha Manch 1.2 percent, United Goans Party 0.9 percent, and Goa Vikas Party 0.6 percent.

The presence of too many candidates, including the likes of TMC, AAP, and RG also saw victory margins fall under 1000 in 10 assembly constituencies. Ponda and St Andre saw the thinnest margins, of 76 and 77 respectively. While BJP’s Ravi Naik won in Ponda, RG’s lone victor Viresh Borkar was elected in St Andre.

In Sanquelim and Curchorem, caretaker chief minister Dr. Pramod Sawant and former power minister Nilesh Cabral defeated Congress candidates by 666 and 672 votes. While Dr. Sawant bagged 47.73% of the votes, Congress candidate Dharmesh Saglani bagged 45.13% of the votes. RG and AAP were also in the fray taking away about 3% of the votes.

In Catholic-dominated south Goa constituency Velim, where the TMC ate into Congress votes, Benjamin Silva of West Bengal CM Mamata Banerjee-led party managed to take away 17.67% of the votes, while Congress’ Savio D’Silva got 22.32% of the vote share. The seat was won by AAP candidate Cruz Silva with a winning slender margin of 169 votes. The AAP candidate garnered 23.04% of the votes polled.

While the TMC and AAP were expected to eat into Congress votes, what many did not see coming was the blow by RG. Among those who underestimated the presence of RG in the elections was Congress itself.

Navelim, the constituency previously held by Luizinho Faleiro when he was in the Congress, was won by the BJP in a surprise victory. With 3,716 votes that it polled in Navelim, the Congress could have defeated Ulhas Tuemkar, the winning BJP candidate who got 5,084 votes, if the RG had not polled 2,068 votes.

Likewise, in Curtorim, RG and AAP polled 3,423 votes and 2,714 votes respectively, preventing Congress from retaining the seat. Congressman turned independent candidate Alex Reginald Lourenco retained the seat comfortably.

Lourenco had quit the Congress after his candidature was by the TMC. He quit TMC within a month but was refused re-entry by the Congress party.

RG also spoiled Congress’ chances in constituencies like Mapusa and Taleigao, both of which the Congress had considered as seats it had a good chance of winning. In Mapusa, the BJP won by 1,604 votes, defeating the Congress candidate. The TMC and AAP got 1,350 and 1,476 votes, respectively.

Similarly, in Taleigao, a suburb of Panaji, BJP candidate Jenifer Monserrate won by 1,604 votes, defeating Congress candidate Tony Rodrigues. The RGP got 1,628, playing spoiler for the Congress.

Congress Goa in-charge Dinesh Gundu Rao said that Mamata Banerjee may have been right regarding UP in saying that the split in opposition votes helped BJP. “But her party did exactly the same thing in Goa. With no roots in Goa, the TMC did a massive campaign and took a 5% vote. They won 0 seats and helped the BJP win,” he said.

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