Although the panchayat elections were not contested on political party symbols, candidates backed by BJP MLAs and ministers had been elected across panchayats in Goa.
Candidates backed by the BJP were elected in more than 150 of the 186 village panchayats, Chief Minister Sawant said. Newly elected candidates from various village panchayats, including an 82-year-old, were felicitated by the BJP at an event in Panaji Friday evening.
Calling it a “clean sweep”, Sawant said: “Of 186 village panchayats, there will be BJP-backed sarpanchs in 140-150 panchayats. In the other panchayats too, BJP workers will be panch members. With the way we have won, I am confident that the BJP will win both the Lok Sabha seats in 2024.”
Panels backed by ministers in the Sawant-led government, including Rohan Khaunte, Mauvin Godinho and Govind Gaude, delivered victories in panchayat panels they backed in their assembly constituencies of Porvorim, Dabolim and Priol respectively. Minister Nikanth Harlarnkar’s brother Hanumant Harlankar was also elected as an independent and so was Savita Tawadkar, wife of Goa Assembly speaker Ramesh Tawadkar.
The BJP’s success also helps Sawant cement his position in the top job since the victory comes four months after the Assembly election that he led and won for the BJP.
Unexpectedly, the panel backed by Calangute MLA Micheal Lobo lost in the Calangute village panchayat in which only three of his candidates won. The Parra village panchayat in which Lobo’s wife Delilah Lobo was the last sarpanch, however, won once again and their son Daniel Lobo was also elected as a panch member.
The loss in Calangute comes as an embarrassment for Congress leader Lobo, who left the BJP to join the Congress ahead of the Assembly elections in February. “We have to accept the people’s mandate,” said Lobo after the results were declared.
Goa BJP president Sadanand Tanavade took a swipe at Lobo, saying that the result in Calangute, one of the richest village panchayats, was “dhakkadayak (shocking)”.
“Even in a big village panchayat like Calangute, the BJP has won,” said Tanavade. He said that rural voters’ mandate was testimony to the good work done by the BJP government led by Sawant.
“We have won in constituencies where we have MLAs and even in those in which the MLAs have supported us. In some constituencies like Quepem, we did not win the assembly seat but the village panchayats have voted for our candidates. If you see the larger picture, this is a very good result for us,” he said.
The homegrown Revolutionary Goans Party that made its debut in the Goa Assembly earlier this year also had winning candidates in the panchayats, including the Aggacaim village panchayat in the St Andre Assembly constituency which has its MLA.