Goa Election 2022 Results: 6 big fights to watch out for
As the verdict puts pollsters to test and decides the fate of the candidates in fray, let us take a look at the big fights.
(Left) Atanasio Babush Monserrate; (Right) Utpal Manohar Parrikar
The erstwhile constituency of former Chief Minister Late Manohar Parrikar, Panaji has a sizeable influence in the predominant Goud Saraswat Brahmins (GSB) community. With a total electorate of 22,489. When Parrikar went to Delhi to become Union Defence Minister, his confident Sidharth Sripad Kuncalienkar was fielded and he won defeating Atanasio Babush Monserrate.
In 2022, Monserrate is contesting on a BJP ticket from the constituency. The Congress has fielded former Panaji Municipal Corporation Commissioner Elvis Gomes. Uday Madkaikar was Congress's original candidate said to be funded by the Casino lobby, but Elvis Gomes pipped him to the ticket. The talk was that Madkaikar would facilitate Monserrate’s victory and hence Monserrate did not campaign much, but things have changed at the last minute.
Other key contestants include Valmiki Datta Naik fielded by Aam Aadmi Party, and independent candidate Utpal Manohar Parrikar, who quit the BJP over not being fielded by the party.
Utpal could get a substantial number of GSB votes, especially from hardcore Parrikar supporters. This could tilt the balance in favour of Elvis Gomes over an otherwise strong candidate like Monserrate.
But Monserrate is confident of a victory. Monserrate is a former minister and also a three-time MLA, from Taleigao and Santa Cruz constituencies. In 2012, Babush Monserrate switched his constituency to Santa Cruz and his wife Jennifer contested from Taleigao, and both won the seats.
Babush Monserrate had first contested from Taleigao on a United Goans Democratic Party and was made a minister by Manohar Parrikar in the BJP-led government. In 2005, Monserrate quit the BJP government along with two others thus bringing down the Parrikar government. The Congress then formed the government under Pratapsinh Rane. In 2007, Monserrate was made a minister again, this time by the Digambar Kamat-led Congress government.
The bastion of former Chief Minister Digambar Kamat, he is expected to win it without much difficulty though he is facing Babu Azgaonkar whom the BJP has fielded in Margao. The BJP shifted Azgaonkar from Pernem to Margao. At Pernem (North Goa), Arolkar, a candidate supported by MGP defected to BJP and had to be fielded in Pernem, hence Azgaonkar is contesting from Margao (South Goa).
Margao has an electorate of 28,457. Digambar Kamat has won every election from Margao since 1994. Until 2002, Kamat contested on a BJP ticket, but in 2007 he shifted to the Congress.
Kamat has been a seasoned campaigner and takes everybody along. He is Congress's chief ministerial candidate.
Independent MLA Rohan Khaunte joined the BJP government and was made a minister. He could be the dark horse of the BJP in the event of Pramod Sawant not getting the support of party MLAs and if the BJP decides to change its chief minister candidate in the event of a push by three other aspirants, including Vishwajeet Rane, Mauvin Godinho and Chandrakant Babu Kavlekar.
Rohan Khaunte is being seen as a long-term fix for the BJP in the absence of any other star player. Khaunte, a builder by profession, is suave and is a GSB, who could get state-wide support. It is said all GSB politicians including Congress's Digambar Kamat do support Khaunte and was originally backed by the Congress when he contested as an independent candidate in 2021 and 2017.
Khaunte is a two-time Independent MLA. Chief Minister Pramod Sawant dropped Khaunte as a minister along with Goa Forward’s Vijay Sardesai and MGP’s Ramakrishna Sudhin Dwalikar.
But for the 2022 elections, the BJP leadership gave the Porvorim party ticket to Khaunte. He is going to be a key player from now on in the BJP scheme of things.
Porvoruim has an electorate of 24,346 and houses the Goa Secretariat and Assembly. It is an important area in Goa, with so much tourist traffic cutting across the highway to reach the pristine beaches of Goa.
Minister and two-time MLA Michael Lobo quit Pramod Sawant’s BJP cabinet and joined the Congress to contest the 2022 elections. Seeing an opportunity to grow, Lobo took upon himself to support all candidates in the Bardez Taluka including his wife Deleila Lobo who is contesting from Siolim. Deleila herself controls four Panchayats in Siolim constituency and is a possible winner in the constituency. Bardez has a total of five constituencies -- Aldona, Tivim, Siolim, Saligao and Calangute.
Michael Lobo, who had defeated Agnello Fernandes in 2012 to become an MLA from Calangute has risen in stature and is hoping to be made CM by the Congress on the back of a good show in Bardez.
In the 2022 elections, Michael Lobo is facing Joseph Sequeira, who has been fielded by the BJP, after Lobo quit the party. Sequeira was the Sarpanch of Calangute for 30 years and is originally from the Congress. But Lobo is expected to win the seat based on the tremendous support he has given to the tourism industry. Calangute is the biggest tourism destination of Goa, housing most popular party places.
One of the most popular beaches in South Goa is housed in Benaulim. It has 28,603 electorates. Benaulim is in Salcete taluka, adjacent to Colva and Margao.
This constituency is of interest because former Chief Minister Churchill Alemao is contesting from here on a Trinamul Congress (TMC) ticket. In 2021, Churchill fielded his daughter Valanka Alemao, but she lost the elections. Churchill Alemao had won the seat in the 1999 elections.
This time, the constituency is witnessing a triangular contest between Churchill Alemao, Benjamin Dias of Congress, Venzy Veigas of the Aam Aadmi Party.
Money power was on display during the campaigning here. Alemao it is said may lose this contest to AAP's Veigas. This could be one of the few seats AAP could win and open its account in Goa. Though the contest is far too close to call at this moment.
(Left) Prathima Coutinho; (Right) Valanka Alemao
Another influential assembly seat in South Goa, Navelim is also witnessing a close contest between Congress's Avertano Furtardo, Trinamool Congress's Valanka Alemao and Aam Aadmi Party's Prathima Coutinho.
Former Goa Chief Minister and senior Congress leader Luizinho Faleiro joined the TMC to lead the party in this elections. Luizinho Faleiro is said to have worked very hard and it could tilt the balance in favour of Valanka Alemao.
Faleiro, who is the current Navelim MLA has considerable influence over voters across Goa. Avertano Furtado represented the constituency in 2012.
Navelim has an electorate of 27,349. The constituency is another hotbed of Salcete and is known to have backed Catholics for long.