‘Silent voters’ could hold the key in Mandrem

SOIRU VELIP | NT

MANDREM

The Mandrem assembly segment, which goes to the bypoll on April 23, is a different battleground this time as voters, especially BJP workers and supporters as well as traditional Congress voters are not happy with Dayanand Sopte changing his allegiance to the BJP. It appears that these BJP supporters could become ‘silent voters’ who may decide the poll outcome.

Moreover, the actual position former chief minister and senior BJP leader Laxmikant Parsekar takes will also play a crucial role in the bypoll.

This reporter, who toured the constituency, has learnt that several BJP workers are not keen on supporting party candidate Dayanand Sopte as BJP leaders had not taken them into confidence while inducting the former Congress MLA into the party.

Sopte, Independent candidate Jit Arolkar and Goa Suraksha Manch nominee Swaroop Naik have started electioneering in the constituency.

Congress supporters are waiting and watching the scene as the party has not yet decided its candidate for the bypoll, whereas it is not yet clear whether the MGP will field its candidate or not.

Several voters expressed their annoyance over the necessity of the byelection in the middle of the term, indicating that they are displeased at the resignation of Sopte as an MLA.

Some electors from Mandrem, Agarwada, Arambol, Palye said that they are fed up with the politicians switching allegiance, taking voters for granted.

They rooted for a new face to clear this “political mess”, indicating that BJP leaders will find it difficult to retain their support base.

A loyal BJP supporter confided to the reporter that Sopte is not being supported by loyal party workers.

He said that Sopte likes to be surrounded by his own supporters, and hence genuine BJP workers have not been involved in campaigning in the assembly segment, which has a significant number of minority voters.

There are around 6,500 minority voters in the constituency, who have traditionally been Congress supporters.

However, this time they may make a different choice as they are annoyed by Sopte switching his allegiance to the BJP in the middle of the term.

There are indications in Mandrem that it would not be a cakewalk for the Congress as well, and some local observed opined that differences will come to the fore once the Congress candidate is named.

On the other hand, traditional MGP workers are openly supporting Arolkar, who has good support of the youth.

The GSM, which has been looking to get a foothold in Goan politics, has begun its campaign. GSM leader Subhash Velingkar, his team and the nominee have started canvassing in villages, where ‘silent voters’ could hold the key to the victory.