AAP emerges as a third force but fails to change the core issues in multi-cornered elections in the coastal state
Goa with hardly 10 lakh voters and 40 constituencies has more than enough number of political parties in fray. Many of these are nothing but political outfits. They have history of periodic deaths and resurrection. The main function of these outfits is to facilitate making and breaking of electoral alliances suiting to the whims and ambitions of candidates just before the impending elections. That makes electioneering in a small state like Goa very complicated.
Just before the last elections, Goa Vikas Party became active. It secured just two seats. With no political clout it was left to fend for itself. Other political outfit is United Goan Development Party, an old party coming to life only during the elections. At some point of time current leaders of these two parties, mutual friends, contemplated to merge these together. However their political interests started clashing and merger did not materialise. This time Goa Vikas Party has decided to field candidates from five constituencies. There is another, Goa Suraj Party, getting some publicity on account of a controversial MLA hobnobbing for contesting on its ticket. The only purpose they serve will be to cut into pockets of other contestants.
The Congress Party is facing classical dilemma of do or not to do the alliance and to enter in the mini-Mahagathbandhan at the state level. Congress Party president Luizinho Faleiro is vouching for Sonia’s blessings with confidence. The local Congress satraps in the State tried to explore the options of coalition which failed miserably. The internal tussle is pulling the party leaders and cadres apart for grabbing the most assured seats. It is coming in the way of yielding to this loan blackmailer.
AAP had made good inroads in the political arena with a team of educated and professional cadre. It also took lead in declaring the Chief Ministerial candidate. AAP organised Arvind Kejriwal’s meeting in Goa within a week of declaration of the elections. However AAP succumbed to internal dissent and a group broke away from within the tiny fraternity. A lady coordinator, who incidentally comes from the minority (read Muslim) community resigned from the party citing injustice. She claimed lack of inner party democracy and false propaganda and that AAP has not allocated 50% seats to the women candidates. There is usual organisational reason of dissent that only the Delhi High Command rules. In a way it is a setback for AAP which was banking on the minority support. Lack of organisational structure is another issue of AAP. Whom does it hurt is the ojnl;y question.
Despite newly formed Goa Suraksha Manch (GSM) formed allioance with BJP’s erstwhile ally Maharashtrawadi Gomantak Party (MGP) and Shiv Sena, BJP still looks comfortable in multi-cornered elections. All surveys are giving upperhand to the ruling party. Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar is still a crucial figure in Goa elections and is closely managing the affairs including the ticket distribution and manifesto. He is certainly a big plus for BJP.
It is as usual the political birds are flying from one branch to another on the tree of the State politics. The old candidates, who have been denied tickets have raised their own flags as independents. Incidentally, Goa is going to be the first state to implement an online postal ballot for the employees deployed on the election duty.