MINORITIES, MIGRANT POWER Capt Viriato wins over Pallavi!

By Rajan Narayan

GOA Chief Minister Dr Pramod Sawant made a big mistake in trying to polarize south Goa along communal lines. The BJP strategy was to focus on Hindu-majority areas like Ponda, Shiroda, Madkai, Sanvordem, Sangeum and Canacona. Pallavi Dempo secured the highest number of votes in Canacona (16,138) followed by Sanvordem (15,816) and Ponda (14,189).
This was nullified by the lead of over 50,000 secured by Capt Viriato Fernandes in the 8th Salcette Catholic dominant constituency. Capt Viriato polled 16,356 in Nuvem where Pallavi could get only 2,677 votes. Similarly in Curchorem where Viriato got almost 15,000 votes, Pallavi got only a third of 6,000 votes. In Benaulim, Viriato got 16,000 against Pallavi’s 2,500. Navelim and Velim also gave a huge lead to Capt Viriato with 16,000 and 12,000 votes in his favor.
Vijai Sardesai seems to have promoted Capt Viriato as in Fatorda the Congress candidate got 12,318 votes against 9,881 for Pallavi. Digambar Kamat could not get the Moti Dongor votes to support Pallavi Dempo. It was a close contest in Margao with 11,000 voting for Pallavi against 10,000 for Viriato. Pallavi did not get a big lead in migrant-dominated Mormugoa, Pallavi got 8,000 votes with Viriato getting 6,000. Capt Viriato Fernandes won the south Goa parliamentary seat by a margin of over 14,000 votes.

THE BJP could not get Pallavi elected from south Goa even though eight of its south Goa MLAs are Congress party defectors. from the Congress party. The state of the Congress rebels is in doubt after the defeat of Pallavi Dempo in South Goa. This was a prestigious seat not only for the BJP in Goa but also for Narendra Modi, the prime minister.
Narendra Modi had personally recommended Pallavi Dempo as the symbol of mahila shakti in south Goa. Pallavi is the first woman candidate to contest the south Goa Parliamentary seat. Pallavi is also one of richest candidates in the 2024 parliamentary elections with a net worth of almost Rs1,400 crore.
Pallavi made the mistake of depending entirely on Chief Minister Dr Pramod Sawant and BJP state president adanand Shet Tanavade to manage her campaign. Neither Sawant nor Tanavade have any credibility in south Goa. The rebel MLA who failed the BJP was Alexio Sequeira of the Nuvem constituency. Alexio was able to get only 2,600 votes for Pallavi as against the Congress score of 16,000 votes. Sequiera was paying off his debt for being inducted into the Pramod Sawant government.
The victory of Captain Viriato, a Kargil hero, is surprising as his selection came at the last moment. Viriato benefited from the fact that he was an activist and had led many protests against noise pollution and double-tracking of South Western Railway. Pallavi, in contrast, was silent about issues affecting the people of Goa. At the height of the election, there was even the rumor that the Dempo Group was involved with Gautam Adani’s coal imports through MPT.
The defeat of Pallavi Dempo also dramatizes that Goans are not dazzled by the politics of religion or wealth. This is the second time Goans have rejected a member of the Dempo family. Soon after Liberation, Vasudevrao Dempo failed to get elected from the Panaji constituency.
In this case Prime Minister Modi personally campaigned for Pallavi Dempo and addressed two huge rallies over three months in Goa. Unfortunately, all the chicken biryani parcels distributed did not help to get Pallavi elected.
Now there is the possibility that the BJP fears that the former Congress eight rebel MLAs will quit and if they withdraw support the BJP government will fall. In north Goa, Shripad Naik won by a margin for over a lakh against advocate Ramakant Khalap who was the Congress candidate.
This is the sixth time that Shripad Naik has been elected to parliament. Shripad Naik got the maximum number of votes in Vishwajit and Divya Rane’s Valpoi and Poirem constituencies, followed by the chief minister’s Sanquelim constituency. He got 23,000 votes in Poriem and 18,000 votes in Valpoi. In the CM constituency, he got 19,000 votes.
So great and enduring is the dominance of Shripad Naik that only in Aldona and Santa Cruz did Ramakant Khalap get more votes than Shripad bab. As in the case of the rest of the country —the victory of Goa’s Capt Viriato Fernandes is a victory for secular forces against the Hindutva policies of the BJP.

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