The state of Goa is setting up nicely for a political showdown, ahead of the assembly elections. Trinamool Congress and its supremo Mamata Banerjee, eyeing expansion plans have set base in the state. The TMC supremo is doling out freebies while her state continues to bleed dry. Despite the sky-high ambitions of Mamata, TMC is well on its way to score a perfect zero in the state, and we will tell you how.
As reported by TFI, Mamata sent her political strategists to the coastal state, injected big names like Leander Paes, and practically smothered Goa’s poles and palm trees with her posters. While the PR strategy was good, in fact, admirable, the locals in Goa remained unfazed.
After all, TMC sprang into existence in the state, four months ago. And yet the party is making claims of becoming the kingmaker.
However, the crude truth is that the political climate of Goa is not extending the wiggle room to a rookie party like TMC to breathe. The calculations regarding who will vote for who have already been chalked out, and despite the numbers Prashant Kishore and his I-PAC team conjure up — there is no way TMC can make a substantial breakthrough.
The 2017 assembly elections trend
In the 2017 assembly elections, Congress won 17 seats in the 40-member house, while the BJP bagged 13. The Maharashtrawadi Gomantak Party (MGP), the Goa Forward Party (GFP) and the independents won three seats each, while the NCP bagged one.
The Christian voter base in Goa is roughly 27 per cent. And in constituencies like Nuvem, Benaulim, and Velim, the Christian population is around 80%. The state also has eight per cent Muslims. Meanwhile, Hindus form the majority with 66.8 per cent of the population.
The Christian voters in 2017 were slightly ruffled with BJP and its performance and thus voted en masse for Congress. Yet, BJP managed to gain the major pie of the vote share with 32.5 per cent, while Congress came second with 28.4 per cent. The figure suggested that the Hindus continued their support for the BJP.
On the other hand, very few Hindus appeared to support Congress in the crucial seats of Goa. Even though Hindus were disappointed with the BJP too, the anti-incumbency sentiment was not nearly as strong as it was against the Congress government in 2012.
Christians, Hindus and their voting habit
It is pertinent to understand that the Christians are a well-off community in Goa, and they do not vote on religious lines like the Christians and converted Christians in other southern states like Tamil Nadu or Kerala. They want stability and only press the EVM button on the party symbol that can continue to develop Goa as a tourist state.
Thus, a significant portion of Christians will again vote for Congress, due to their past allegiances and Congress’ history. While another portion will opt for BJP — owing to issues like Love Jihad finding prominence. Hindus, as established earlier, for a large part will stay with BJP.
Muslims and their voting habit
Muslims, albeit the minority will pick Congress for obvious reasons with NCP sneaking and collecting few of the votes of the community. If the Congress-NCP and Shiv Sena do not fight under the banner of Maha Vikas Aghadi, it will be the end for Shiv Sena in the state.
The Uddhav Thackeray-led party and its numbers in the previous elections were abysmal and, going by the way the party is currently operating, the numbers are not expected to change. In 2017, Sena lost heavily in all the three seats (Saligao, Cuncolim and Mormugao) it contested with a paltry vote share of less than 2%.
AAP, if lucky, may get 2-3 seats
Meanwhile, AAP, which has now drawn blank in at least three Goa elections, from Vidhan Sabha to Lok Sabha to local body elections may get its way with 2-3 seats (good case scenario), solely based on its perseverance and the freebie model of politics. Other than Congress and BJP, the only viable option appears to be AAP.
Thus, TMC appears to neither have the footing nor have the designated vote bank for itself in the state. The few Bhadraloks in the state may vote for it but other than that, it looks like the party will be losing its deposit in the state.
In Zee News Opinion Poll conducted for North Goa, the Chief Minister Pramod Sawant-led Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) is likely to gain 38 per cent of the vote share, and if that happens, Congress and its seat share will further come down.
With odds stacked against Mamata, it is hard to imagine where she will gather her votes from. Mamata has ambitions of becoming a national leader but believe it or not, Rahul is still a much more recognisable face than Mamata on the national map.
TMC, which came into existence some two decades ago and airdropped into Goa a few months ago, is trying to take on a century-old and an incumbent party. Whatever the dilapidated state of the Congress be, it is still a party with a pan-India presence, and Mamata will not have it easy trying to reach that level.