The Hindu-CSDS-Lokniti Goa post-poll survey 2022

Among issues that mattered in Goa, development was foremost 

People lining up to vote in north Goa on February 14, 2022. | Photo Credit: AP

Several issues were believed to have dominated the Assembly election in the coastal State of Goa — from the age-old issue of protecting the unique Goan identity to the anger over the suspended mining operations and the most recent one surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic management.

But when voters of the State were asked to name the single most important issue that affected their vote choice the most, two in five, said it was development. This was no different from the trend observed in the other States, where the generic answer was Vikas.

More than two-fifths of such voters backed the BJP (41%), while a little over a quarter (26%) voted for the Congress.

The only other issue that has a double-digit mention was the desire to change the government. One in 10 voters asserted this point. This is not surprising as the survey also found that Goa was badly divided on the question of whether the BJP government should get another chance or not.

Of the voters eager to see a change in the ruling party, the votes were split between the Opposition, with the Congress getting only 35%, and the Trinamool Congress-Maharashtrawadi Gomantak Party, the Revolutionary Goans Party, and the Aam Aadmi Party cornering the rest (See Vibha Attri’s piece on anti-incumbency for more).

Besides these two issues, for less than one in 10 Goans (8%), joblessness mattered the most while voting. This was despite Goa having the highest unemployment rate (13%) of all the States where elections were held. However, when the respondents were asked separately about the degree of importance they attached to some of the major issues while choosing the government, unemployment did emerge as a very important voting issue for more than three-fourths of Goans.

Other than unemployment, some of the key voting issues were mismanagement in the State at the time of the COVID-19 pandemic, and the protection of the State’s culture and identity. Notably, the importance attached to these issues in Goa was far greater than that in any other State which voted along with it.

Among two in three respondents who were found deeply bothered due to the COVID-19 mismanagement, the Congress had a marginal lead of one percentage point over the BJP.

The contest also seemed relatively narrow among three-fifths of the voters who identified the issue of protecting the State identity to be very important, but here the BJP had a marginal lead of one point over the Congress.

Notably, the Revolutionary Goans Party which fought on the platform of Niz Goenkars (native Goans) gained higher than average votes among this segment. As it seems, if the Congress had to do well, it had to sweep the sections of voters who were particularly concerned with these two issues, which it clearly could not.

Another issue that the Congress was hoping to capitalise on but could not was the mining ban issue. For many voters, it was a very important issue, and yet, the BJP swept many of the constituencies where mining is a major source of livelihood (An elaboration of this critical issue can be found in the separate article on the mining ban in this series).

(Manjesh Rana and Shreyas Sardesai are with Lokniti-CSDS)

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Printable version | May 5, 2022 3:22:22 am |