Goa elections 2022: Tussle for 'secular votes' with TMC-AAP to dent Congress

Express News Service

MUMBAI: Eyeing the traditional secular votes of the Congress in order to make their mark in Goa politics, TMC and AAP can play spoilsport for the grand old party. As victory margins are small in Goa – around 5,000 votes in 10 constituencies and less than 500 in five, in the 2017 polls – loss of a few hundred votes in multi-corner contests can make the Congress suffer.

TMC and AAP will also divide the anti-incumbency votes that will benefit the ruling BJP, said a senior Congress leader. As for the TMC, the latest entrant in the state’s politics, a political observer said its alliance with the Maharashtrawadi Gomantak Party (MGP), which won three seats in 2017, will be a big headache for the Congress. 

According to Goa-based journalist Sumit Naik, the West Bengal CM is primarily attacking the Congress and poaching its Christian legislators. “Christians, who comprise 27 per cent of the electorate, are traditionally Congress voters. If this block goes to the TMC, it will be a big loss to the Congress. On the other hand, the TMC moves will not dent the BJP’s prospects,” said Naik. 

On its part, AAP is eyeing the same voter base that the TMC and the Congress are banking on. “TMC and AAP have no major chance at all, but they can reduce the Congress votes,” said a source in the Congress, adding that many MLAs and other leaders are joining the TMC as the party is providing large funds to its candidates. 

A senior Congress leader claimed people will vote for his party despite AAP’s promise of “clean and non-corrupt government” and TMC’s efforts because the Congress, unlike AAP and TMC, is “working on the ground”.

Admitting that AAP and TMC may snatch some of the traditional votes of the Congress, former CM Digambar Kamat said the impact will be marginal. “People will not vote for parties from Delhi and Kolkata,” he said.