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Triangular contest in Mandrem

SOIRU VELIP | NT

Mandrem: An Independent candidate Jit Arolkar has been emerging as strong as Congress candidate Babi Bagkar and BJP candidate Dayanand Sopte in the Mandrem assembly constituency in the last phase of campaign thus indicating that the battle for the April 23 bypoll may give surprising results after the counting of votes.

Mandrem, a coastal constituency of North Goa, is going to the bypoll following the resignation of Sopte as Congress legislator. Sopte joined BJP in October 2018. It is pertinent to note that Sopte was considered to be a giant killer when he defeated then sitting chief minister and senior BJP leader Laxmikant Parsekar in the 2017 assembly election.

As far as campaign for the Mandrem bypoll is concerned, Sopte of BJP, Bagkar of Congress, Independent candidate Arolkar and Swarup Naik of Goa Suraksha Manch are making inroads in the constituency to woo voters.

Sopte, who resigned from Congress citing that he was unable to bring about development and provide employment being in the opposition, is now seeking votes as a candidate of BJP. However, till date, he has failed to get support from senior BJP leader Parsekar and his supporters. Though a number of supporters can be seen with him during his campaign, it is still mysterious whether the cadre-based BJP workers will help him get reelected in this by-election.

Congress candidate Bagkar, along with his workers, is also making all efforts to reach out to the voters. The best thing happening to him is that he is enjoying the support of local party leaders and loyal workers and being a local from Morjim village, people say that he has the best chance to win the election.Arolkar, another strong candidate, has managed to attract a number of women and youth from various villages during the campaign by projecting himself as a young and new face. Though he is an Independent candidate, with proper management, he has been able to reach out to every village in the constituency.

Goa Suraksha Manch candidate, along with party leader Subhash Velingkar and other workers, is seeking votes to clean Goan politics, especially targeting BJP.

With another four days to go for the voting, all candidates have now focused on corner meetings in the last stage of campaign. However, it has become difficult to predict the result of the bypoll, as many voters are silent in the constituency and all the three prominent candidates have left no stone unturned to woo the voters.

For BJP, it is important to win the Mandrem seat along with the other two bypolls to ensure stability of the Pramod Sawant-led coalition government. Thus the party leaders are making all efforts in this direction.

Political analysts say that the crowd for BJP public meeting, which was held on Wednesday, was basically for Lok Sabha North Goa candidate Shripad Naik. Considering this, it is quite clear that party workers will vote for the Lok Sabha candidate. However, it is still not clear whether they will support the party’s Mandrem candidate.

As date of the by-election is fast approaching, the campaign will intensify in the last two days in Mandrem constituency. However, with three strong contenders making all efforts to woo voters, it is certain that Mandrem will witness a triangular fight between Congress, BJP and the Independent candidate.

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