Updated: March 23, 2021 4:03:42 am
In municipal polls held in six municipal councils and the Corporation of the City of Panaji (CCP) on March 20, BJP-backed candidates scored major poll victories including 25 of the 30 seats in the CCP and won five of the municipal councils. While the Congress lost the bypoll to the Navelim Zilla Panchayat seat to an Independent candidate, it won the Sakhalim municipal council.
Chief Minister Pramod Sawant said on Monday, “We had won the Zilla Panchayat election (in December, 2020) in both North and South Goa with a full majority and today, we have won in the municipalities too. We are sure that we will win the Assembly elections that will be held in about ten months with a full majority too.”
The BJP had won 14 seats in the CCP the last time. This time, it clocked the major win under Panaji MLA Atanasio Monserrate, who was among the ten MLAs who had defected to the BJP from the Congress. His son Rohit Monserrate made his electoral debut in the CCP polls held on Saturday. While local body polls are not contested on party symbols, MLAs across parties had thrown their weight behind candidates of the municipal polls.
Polls were also held in the Valpoi municipal council and Pernem municipal council that were hit by issues including relocation of a proposed IIT after protest by locals and locals’ opposition to the construction of the road linking to the upcoming Mopa airport, respectively. Sawant, however, said that people had reposed their faith in the BJP despite these issues as the issues were created by politically motivated and “NGO-minded” people.
Goa BJP chief Sadanand Tanavade said that of the 105 seats contested across the CCP and the six municipal councils, BJP backed candidates had won 82 and they had received support from three.
Goa Pradesh Congress Committee president Girish Chodankar said this may not be a yardstick to measure the Congress’s performance in the Assembly polls next year. “The pattern of voting is very different in these elections. They depend a lot on person-to-person rapport and the person behind any panel. We need to win back the trust of the people that we lost after our 10 MLAs defected to the BJP. There is a lot of trust deficit because of that and we are making a conscious effort to overcome that,” said Chodankar.
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