Goa CCP Polls: Close battle between Parrikar, Monserrate panels on the cards

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The campaigning for the March 13 polls to the Corporation of the City of Panaji may have officially ended, but the election fervour refuses to die out. On the contrary, it may gather more speed and probably result in some incidents of violence that is, if there is some laxity on the part of the law and order authorities in shouldering their responsibilities. “What will be the outcome of the CCP polls?” This is a general question tormenting not only the city voters but the entire population of Goa, more so as the ballot battle has turned into the trial of strength between two individuals – Mr Manohar Parrikar and Mr Atanasio Monserrate – before the eventual state assembly elections. The ‘Together for Panaji’ panel supported by the Nationalist Congress Party, or rather the party MLA, Mr Francisco (Mickey) Xavier Pacheco, unable to generate any heat on its own, has not only fallen back in terms of publicity but seems to lack the killing instinct displayed by the panels of the Panaji and the Taleigao MLAs.

Predicting the results… Well, that is more of a work of an astrologer. But observing the scenario – and that includes alleged distribution of goodies on large scale and threats versus ‘Save Panaji’ clarion call and appeal for clean administration – one can definitely say that the final tally of seats can very well display near equal seats to both major warring factions, in a neck-to-neck tussle. Under such circumstances, few candidates like the Furtado couple in ward number 9 and 10, and ‘Together for Panaji’ candidates namely Mr Avinash Bhonsle and Mr Aires Rodrigues –  who have equal chances of winning as their competitors – may make a difference by way of their decision to lend support, in case of being elected.

The outcome of the election will also rest on two important aspects; one – the effectiveness of the agencies entrusted with the task of preventing violations of election code of conduct, and two – percentage of voters visiting the polling booths to cast their votes. Though 16 is the magic figure in the 30-member CCP council to form a ruling side for the next five years, the ‘Panaji First’ and the Atanasio Monserrate panel – looking at the present trend – could garner between 12 to 15 seats each. If more number of voters from the elite class decide to skip their ‘election holiday’ programme and visit the polling station, the balance could very well tilt in favour of the city MLA, now that the intelligentsia and professionals from the city have campaigned for the ‘Panaji First’ panel, while the thrust of the Taligao MLA is on lower class voters. The ‘Panaji First’ panel has bright chances if the voting percentage at the election crosses 75 per cent mark; in that way the panel will be able to counter the bulk ‘slum’ votes, which are ‘marked’ for the panel of the Taleigao MLA.

The equations could very well go topsy-turvy on the day of the election, but as the things stand today, the chance for the two main panels to make it to the city Corporation is 50-50. And this is neither a diplomatic nor a cautious observation.

Courtesy: NT

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