BENGALURU: Goa goes to polls in early 2022, the first assembly election in about two decades without the overwhelming presence of BJP leader Manohar Parrikar. Despite a severe incumbency factor against the BJP, it is not going to be a cakewalk for the Congress. Many factors are at work in this tiny coastal state, where Covid mismanagement and other issues have run up much resentment against the coalition government led by the BJP.
The Congress is trying hard to win Goa, with Karnataka Congressmen holding pivotal positions -- former KPCC president Dinesh Gundu Rao, MLC Prakash Rathod, Mansur Ali (North Goa) and Sunil H (South Goa) have spent months, touring every constituency. The writing on the wall is clear: it’s not going to be smooth sailing.
The grouse against the Congress is that it’s not been an active opposition, and is disunited, with 3-4 candidates in most constituencies. The party also did badly in recent municipal elections in Goa. Many Congress leaders spoke of an alliance with the Goa Forward Party, formed by Vijay Sardesai, a former Congressman. Sardesai, who is a votary of an alliance, told The New Indian Express, “No one can assume that the Congress will be victorious.
The Congress is taking its own sweet time to reboot its system, though elections are round the corner. We have been proposing an alliance with the Congress for about 18 months. Unless there is an alliance, there could be a division of secular votes like last time. Besides, the Congress lost in 13 municipal councils.”
Meanwhile, Congress leader Prakash Rathod said, “Whether the Congress goes in for an alliance or not will be decided by the High Command. The BJP poached 13 of our MLAs.’’
Though elections are just months away, experts are not too sure which way the wind is blowing. They say that if the secular vote is not split, the Congress and GFP could together win over 25 seats. Sources said an internal survey by the BJP projects a dismal picture, which is worrying the saffron party.