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Shiroda is battlefield of Subhash, Deepak

Shiroda is battlefield of Subhash, Deepak

NIRGOSH GAUDE | NT

Ponda

Although early trends had indicated a triangular fight between the MGP, the BJP and the Congress in the Shiroda constituency, the midway electioneering is pointing to the contest between MGP’s Pandurang ‘Deepak’ Dhavalikar and BJP’s Subhash Shirodkar as it appears that Congress candidate Mahadev Naik has lost steam.

The BJP is doing its utmost to win the Shiroda seat. Chief Minister Pramod Sawant and party workers are holding corner meetings to woo the voters. Shirodkar on his part is trying to outdo his opponents,    especially Dhavalikar, in winning the hearts of the electors. In fact,    sarpanchas and panchas from several panchayats coming under the Shiroda constituency are rallying behind Shirodkar.

The Shiroda assembly segment has over 28,000 voters who will decide the fate of the candidates on April 23.

Trends are now suggesting that Dhavalikar and Shirodkar are much ahead in their electioneering as compared to other candidates. The trends are also indicating that ‘silent voters’ could hold the key to the fate of Dhavalikar and Shirodkar.

But split of votes could make Naik emerge as a dark horse.

Dhavalikar, who is pushing ahead in his campaign from the beginning, was disturbed by the removal of his brother Ramakrishna ‘Sudin’ Dhavalikar from the state cabinet and the campaigning by Art and Culture Minister Govind Gaude in the assembly segment.

On the other hand, Shirodkar has been unfazed by the MGP ‘blitzkrieg’ as the BJP ‘machinery’ is solidly behind him.

Shirodkar, who had won the Shiroda seat in 2017 on the Congress ticket after a gap of two terms, may have to face up

to the anti-incumbency factor. As he has represented the constituency for a long period, several voters have said that they prefer a new face.

Same has been the case with Naik. The electors are saying that they have seen how Shirodkar and Naik have functioned. Hence some of them are rooting for a different person.

It appears that Naik, who had kicked off his campaign with much force and confidence, has lost steam. No senior Congress MLAs or leaders have campaigned in Shiroda in the last few days, except for Ponda MLA Ravi Naik, who attended a corner meeting at Borim last week.

The MGP’s move to support the Congress nominees for the Lok Sabha elections could indirectly pose threat to Shirodkar as reports have suggested that the Congress may tacitly support the MGP candidate in Shiroda.

The other players in the fray are also doing their best to woo the voters. Goa Suraksha Manch candidate Santosh Satarkar has concentrated on door-to-door canvassing, and recently released his manifesto for the constituency.

Satarkar is trying to convince the voters not to fall for big political parties, as they are two sides of the same coin.

On the other hand, Aam Aadmi Party candidate Yogesh Khandeparkar is yet to give a push to his campaign, and he is far behind the stalwart candidates.

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