CATHOLIC POWER WANES

SHRINKING CATHOLIC BASE: Share of Catholic MLAs diminished with every election. None of the Catholic chief ministers, (left to right) the late Dr. Wilfred De’Souza, GPCC Chief Luizinho Faleiro, Churchill Alemao and Fransisco Sardinha could complete their full term. None of them are MLAs now.

By Heena Nawar

Since the first elections to the Legislative Assembly of Goa, the minority Catholic community has been able to secure 25-30 per cent of the total number of seats. In the first 17 years after liberation, Goa remained polarised along communal lines with the Maharashtrawadi Gomantak Party (MGP) representing the majority community and United Goans Party (UGP) representing the minorities.

In the first two elections in 1963 and 1967, the MGP secured a majority while the UGP came a close second with 14 seats representing almost 50 per cent of the total number of 30 seats in the Legislative Assembly of the Union Territory of Goa.

In 1967 however, the seat share of the UGP fell because of a split in the party between the Jack Sequeira faction and the Furtado faction. But between them they managed to get 12 seats and accounted for almost 40 per cent of the votes share, only marginally less than the MGP. From 1972 onwards there was a decline in the share of the Catholics in the number of seats in the Legislative Assembly. The number of seats of the MGP rose to 18 while that of the UGP representing the Catholic minority fell to 10.

The 1977 elections witnessed a dramatic change with the UGP merging with the Congress. It also coincided with the post emergency wave against the Congress. The MGP, which supported the emergency, got only 15 seats. The Congress got 10 with two going to the Janata Party and independents.

In 1980, the fight was between the MGP and the Congress. Unlike in earlier elections, with the UGP merger with the Congress, it became a secular force with both Catholic and Hindu candidates. On the other hand, the MGP remained a Hindu party. In the 1980 election, the Indian National Congress won 18 seats while the MGP could win only eight.

Goa became a state in 1987 with the number of seats in the assembly increased to 40. In the first election after statehood in 1989, the number of Catholics elected remained 14, the same as the peak achieved in the first elections. In terms of percentage, the number of Catholics elected fell from almost 50 per cent before statehood to 30 per cent after Goa became a state. In subsequent elections too including the one in 2012, the number of Catholics did not exceed 30 per cent.  

MIGRATION EFFECT

The proportionate of the UG MLAs dropped with the merger of UG with the Congress. The success of the BJP has been at the cost of the MGP.
The proportionate of the UG MLAs dropped with the merger of UG with the Congress. The success of the BJP has been at the cost of the MGP.

THE decline in the percentage of Catholics voted to the Assembly can be primarily attributed to the fall in their number due to migration. Many constituencies which were considered a monopoly of Catholics voted non-Catholic candidates in 2012. For example, Velim which has always voted for a Catholic candidate since liberation chose Rajan Naik of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP). Similarly due mass migration of Catholics from Siridao and part of St Andre, Vishnu Wagh got elected thanks to the migrant votes.

Whether it is a Congress or the BJP or even the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) they realised that they cannot form the government without the help of the minority community. Its influence goes beyond Salcete to several constituencies in Mormugao, Tiswadi and Bardez. In Mormugao, Cortalim and the new seat of Dabolim have gone to Catholics. Similarly in Tiswadi, since Babush Monserrate entered politics, Taleigao and Santa Cruz have been dominated by Catholics. For the first time, the Aldona seat was won by a Catholic, Glen Ticlo, in 2012.

Historically, the Catholics have always voted for the Congress after its merger with the UGP. In the anti-incumbency vote in 2012, the Congress was wiped out and many Catholic candidates accepted BJP tickets or support. The situation has changed once again with the Catholics turning against the BJP. But they do not want to go back to the Congress. The question is whether they will vote for the AAP, Goa Forward or independent candidates.

Unfortunately, even though the population of Muslims has increased to over 15 per cent making up for the out migration of Catholics, they have no representation in the assembly. Since liberation, there has been only one Muslim MLA from Vasco – Shaikh Hassan – who was defeated in 2002 after three terms.

If Catholics and the Muslims unite, they can even form the government as the Hindu vote is split between the Congress, the BJP and the MGP. A government of the minorities would be a pleasant change from domination by the Saraswats..

CATHOLIC MLAs BEFORE STATEHOOD

CATHOLIC MLAs IN 1967

SALCETE

  • Cuncolim: F R S A Joao
  • Benaulim: M E Jose
  • Navelim: V L Mauricio
  • Curtorim: B R Joaquim

BARDEZ

  • Calangute: S Valente

MORMUGAO

  • Cortalim: L P Barbosa

TISWADI

  • St Andre: P T Francisco
  • St Cruz: S J De

EXCEPTION

  • Mandrem: A J D’Souza
  • Aldona: L S O Fernando

TOTAL = 10

CATHOLIC MLAs IN 1972

SALCETE

  • Navelim: Leo Mauricio Velho
  • Cuncolim: R Santano Joao Fernandes
  • Curtorim: F E S Silveira Martinho

MORMUGAO

  • Cortalim: Luis Paleixo Barbosa

TISWADI

  • St Cruz: Erasmo Jack De Sequeira
  • St Andre: P T Francisco Paulo

EXCEPTION

  • Aldona: Sousa Silverio Jose

TOTAL= 7

The BJP gained at the expense of the MGP
The BJP gained at the expense of the MGP

CATHOLIC MLAs IN 1977

SALCETE

  • Cuncolim: Ferdino Assiz Rebello
  • Benaulim: Cota Lourence Pedro Santana
  • Navelim: Leo Mauricio Velho
  • Curtorim: Francisco Sardinha

MORMUGAO

  • Cortalim: Froilano Machado

TISWADI

  • St. Cruz: Erasmo Jack De Sequeira

BARDEZ

  • Calangute: Fernandes Raul Ilario

TOTAL = 7

CATHOLIC MLAs IN 1980

SALCETE

  • Cuncolim: Vaz J Mario Emerciane
  • Benaulim: Cruz Francisco Monte P D
  • Navelim: Palerio Luisinho Joaquim
  • Curtorim: Francisco Sardinha

MORMUGAO

  • Cortalim: Froilano Machado
  • Dabolim: Dourado Herculano Luis

TISWADI

  • St Cruz: Fernandes Michael Antonio Carminho
  • St Andre: Pereira Teotonic Francisco Paulo

PONDA

  • Ponda: Aguiar Joildo Souza

BARDEZ

  • Calangute: Wilfred Tito Fermino De Souza

TOTAL= 10

CATHOLIC MLAs AFTER STATEHOOD

CATHOLIC MLAs IN 2002

SALCETE

  • Loutolim: Aleixo Sequeira
  • Benaulim: Francisco Xavier Pacheco (Mickky)
  • Navelim: Luizinho Falerio
  • Velim: Filipe Nery Rodrigues
  • Cuncolim: Joaquim Braz Alemao
  • Curtorim: Francisco Sardinha

BARDEZ

  • Mapusa: Francis Pedro D’Souza
  • Calangute: Agnelo Fernandes
  • Saligao: Wilfred D’Souza

TISWADI

  • Taleigao: Atanasio Monserrate (Babush)
  • Santa Cruz: Victoria Romeo Fernandes
  • St Andre: Francis Manuel Silveira

MORMUGAO

  • Mormugao: Giovanni Karl Vaz
  • Cortalim: Matanhy Saldana

EXCEPTION

  • Poinguinim: Isidore D Fernandes

TOTAL= 15

CATHOLIC MLAs IN 2007

SALCETE

  • Loutolim: Aleixo Seqeira
  • Benaulim: Francisco Xavier Pacheco (Mickky)
  • Curtorim: Aleixo Reginaldo Lourenco
  • Navelim: Churchill Alemao
  • Velim- Filipe Nery Rodrigues
  • Cuncolim: Joaquim Alemao

TISWADI

  • Taleigao: Atanasio Monserrate (Babush)
  • Santa Cruz: Victoria Fernandes
  • St Andre: Francisco Silveira

BARDEZ

  • Calangute: Agnelo Fernandes
  • Mapusa: Francis D’Souza

MORMUGAO

  • Vasco: Jose Philip D’Souza
  • Cortalim: Mauvin Heliodoro Godinho

TOTAL= 13

CATHOLIC MLAs FOR 2012

SALCETE

  • Nuvem: Francisco Xavier Pacheco
  • Curtorim: Aleixo Reginaldo Lourenco
  • Benaulim: Caetano R Silva
  • Navelim: Avertano Furtado
  • Velim: Benjamin Silva

MORMUGAO

  • Dabolim: Mauvin Heliodoro Godinho
  • Cortalim: Matanhy Saldanha

BARDEZ

  • Mapusa: Francis D’Souza
  • Calangute: Michael Lobo

TISWADI

  • Taleigao: Jennifer A. Monserrate
  • Santa Cruz: Atanasio Monserrate (Babush)

QUEPEM

  • Curchorem: Nilesh Cabral

EXCEPTION

  • Vasco: Jose Luis Carlos Almeida
  • Aldona: Glenn Ticlo

TOTAL= 14

 

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