Mon, 27 May, 2019

Majority or minority? Mixed Cong opinion in South Goa

15th March 2019, 02:14 Hrs

the goan I network


Perhaps for the first time in South Goa Lok Sabha electoral history, the Congress party finds itself in a dilemma over selection of candidate vis a vis the established practice of nominating a minority community candidate or picking one from the majority community.  

Sources in the know said the party was faced with two sets of opinions in the run up to the exercise of shortlisting of party candidates for the South Goa seat. One opinion suggesting that a candidate from the majority community should be nominated for the seat in a bid to break into the BJP vote bank and the other favouring status quo to the decades-old practice of fielding a candidate from each community for the North and South Goa seats.  

Sources said the school of thought favouring nomination of a majority community for South Goa felt that since the majority community forms a major chunk of voters down south, it was of the strong opinion that a candidate from the majority community would be in a better position to take on the seating MP and make a dent in the traditional BJP votes, assuming that the minority community as usual would stand by the party. The same school of thought, sources said, further argued that the minorities are concentrated more in the Salcete heartland, with thin presence in the hinterland, including the talukas of Sanguem, Quepem and Ponda talukas. It was argued by this group that a candidate from the majority community would be in a better position to tap the anti-BJP sentiments and galvanise the workers in the hinterland towards the party victory.  

This opinion, sources said, was countered by another group, which warned the party leadership to do nothing that would alienate the minorities from the party. Accepting the ground reality that 

the South Goa Lok Sabha constituency may no longer enjoy the status as a minority community hub, the second group is believed to have argued that while the majority community forms a major chunk of the total electorate, a significant majority of these voters work for the BJP. On the other hand, this group maintained that the Congress has always benefited from the minority block vote in the past giving unassailable lead over its rivals, warning that the present arrangement should not be disturbed least non-BJP players, eager to occupy the space in the minority heartland, tap the delicate minority sentiment to wean the traditional voters from the party.