Panaji: The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), which will be fielding candidates on its Lotus symbol at the forthcoming Zilla Panchayat (ZP) election, would also be supporting like-minded “winnable” independent candidates in order to prove its superiority at this poll, post Manohar Parrikar regime.
This is the first election the BJP is contesting after
the passing away of Parrikar. In addition, the 12 Congress MLAs including
Dayanand Sopte and Subhash Shirodkar, who had joined the BJP, will also have to
prove their dominance over their respective constituencies, by getting the
Displaying caution, newly elected state BJP president
Sadanand Tanawde has said that his party would not contest the forthcoming ZP
elections in all 50 constituencies. “We will contest in some ZP constituencies
on party symbol, while make adjustments in others with like-minded people,” he
The BJP has already started the process of selection of
its ZP candidates from Saturday.
Incidentally, the previous ZP elections held in March
2015 had the BJP forging an alliance with Mickky Pacheco’s Goa Vikas Party
(GVP) and Maharashtrawadi Gomantak Party (MGP) of the Dhavalikar brothers. The
results showed 25 independents winning the 2015 ZP polls, while the BJP-MGP-GVP
combine collectively winning equal number of seats. Altogether, 18 candidates
won on the BJP symbol, 5 on the MGP symbol, and 2 on the GVP symbol.
As the BJP-led alliance lost 50 per cent of the seats at
2015 ZP election, which had registered 66.43 per cent voter turnout, it made
the then deputy chief minister and senior BJP leader Francis D’Souza retort
that “the party should examine the reasons for its alliance’s not-so-good
performance in the particular polls.”
The forthcoming ZP election will witness the BJP and the
MGP standing against each other as rivals. Looking at the performance of the
independent candidates at the previous ZP election, one can easily predict that
both the BJP and the MGP would be keen to support independent candidates in
certain constituencies, apart from fielding candidates on their own party
At the 2015 ZP election, the BJP-MGP-GVP combine managed
to win the South Goa ZP segment with a wafer-thin majority, while fell short of
two seats for a majority in North Goa. This time, with mining, Mhadei and
anti-Citizenship Amendment Act issues in the minds of the ZP voters, on one
side, and the absence of any alliance partner, on the other, the BJP could find
itself doing a trapeze act at the ZP election.
During the previous ZP election, the GVP had managed to
win two seats of Raia and Colva in Salcete taluka, while six Independents had
emerged victorious in this taluka from Nuvem, Velim, Benaulim, Guirdolim,
Curtorim and Navelim. The lone victorious BJP candidate in the Salcete taluka
was from Davorlim constituency.
Although the state assembly election is nearly 24 months
away, the forthcoming ZP election will clearly indicate the pulse of the voters
in Goa and their political preferences.
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