Goa Herald: Cong poised for near majority as mood swings in State

Wednesday, February 01, 2017

In what initially appeared to be difficult to comprehend, there is a clear change in the political weather with the Congress getting a very strong wind which could push it to close to a majority.

Herald travelled across constituencies in both regions of the State. Between 2012 and 2017, there is a palpable change. While in 2012 there was wave which got the got the BJP to power, 2017 is about local winds in each constituency moving away from them. And in a growing number, the shift is towards the Congress.

Each local area and its local people are looking at first at very important local factors which have affected their lives and are taking their decisions to vote differently. For instance, in the BJP stronghold of Sankhalim, Herald saw hordes of mining affected, from truck owners to truck drivers, those who have lost their livelihoods completely moving with the Congress candidate, saying, “Everything depended on mining restarting to the extent that our tucks would get enough business. From truck owner to truck driver, we are on the road.”

The other common refrain has been the inability to procure and keep jobs in this regime. This cannot be underlined strongly enough. This continues to be complaint number one from Pernem and right down to Canacona. In Pernem for instance, the locals were promised 500 jobs per year during the 2012 elections. In five years, not more than 700 jobs have been allotted according to locals who know.

While the broader issues like failed promises, destruction of Goa, corruption in government, have made peripheral impact, the very local problems, bottlenecks and difficulties, like health care, roads, power, availability of water, have impacted people.

The sentiment towards the Congress is interesting. For instance an elderly couple (who chose not to come on record but shared their details for reference) from Aldona told Herald on Tuesday morning, “We punished the Congress in 2012. They have finished their sentence. It is time to take them out and allow them to serve us.” Asked the reason for this confidence, the husband said, “They will not make the same mistakes, we feel.” And with this, at least one extended family of theirs has made their decision.

In terms of numbers, the Congress seems to be getting two things right: 
A)    The almost sure possibility of retaining their previous seats, like Valpoi, Poriem, Curtorim, Taleigao  and Margao.

B)    A very high chance of getting Ponda, Shiroda, St Andre and Navelim back

C)   Making earlier unexpected gains, which could lead to victories in Tivim, Panjim, Nuvem, Aldona, Sankhalim, Cuncolim and even Mandrem  
        The party will look towards cashing in on this momentum, as it sees fighting a good battle in other seats.

The challenge and also the hope of the Congress is to overcome the problem of splitting votes. But this is something only the people can handle. It doesn’t matter how many Independent candidates or fringe parties that are in the fray across the constituencies. Elections are won or lost by people, not parties. The result of 2017 will be all about whether a decisive mandate is delivered.

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