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

The mining ban paradox: households affected by it were more inclined towards BJP

The anger against the BJP was again found missing with regard to the ban on mining in Goa. | Photo Credit: VINEETA DEEPAK

Given that the Lokniti-CSDS survey found nearly two in five of Goan households to have been affected by the ban on mining in some way or the other, it was widely expected that the mining issue would end up mattering the most to a significant chunk of voters in Goa, severely impacting the BJP’s prospects in the State.

However, quite paradoxically, mining-affected households were found to be more inclined towards the BJP, with the party getting twice as many votes among them as the Congress.

In fact, if one looks at the Assembly constituencies which fall in the mining-affected regions, the BJP won in five of seven such seats — Curchorem, Sanguem, Sanquilim, Sanvordem, and Valpoi.

In other words, it seems that they didn’t blame the BJP for their plight.

On being asked in an open-ended question about the most important issue while voting, i.e. without suggesting any potential issues, overall, less than 1% identified mining as an issue affecting their vote choice. Even when we looked at the voters from mining-affected households, only 2% of them claimed so.

However, when the respondents were asked separately if the issue of mining affected their decision to vote, well over half of them claimed the issue to have been very important for them — twice as much as in 2017.

The anger against the BJP was again found missing, with the survey finding such votes almost equally split between the BJP and the Congress. But as we moved towards the voters considering the issue to be less or not important at all, the gap between the two widened, with the BJP leading by 12 and 14 percentage points among them, respectively (Table 1).

Simply put, though mining was an issue for Goans, it clearly failed to become the decisive electoral issue. Most Goans wanted mining to be restarted. While three in five Goans in the survey opposed the ban, only one in five were found to be in support. The rest did not have any opinion on this.

Development versus environment

The ban on mining activities, which used to be Goa’s largest industry at one time, ignited the ‘development versus environment’ debate in the State. The concerns seem to have shifted towards the side of prioritising development even though the pro-environment sentiment is still strong among sections of voters.

As the survey data indicate, the proportion of Goans supporting development, even if it came at the cost of environment, has more than doubled during the past five years — from 8% to 18%.

Interestingly, among such voters, the BJP led by 18 percentage points, with more than two in five (44%) voting for them. On the other hand, among three in 10 who advocated environmental concerns over development, the votes were split between the two parties. For more than two in five Goans, however, both development and environment were equally important. Among them, two in five backed the Congress, while three in 10 voted for the BJP (Table 2).

(Manjesh Rana is a Research Associate at Lokniti-CSDS. Ravaji Vasant Gaunkar is Assistant Professor, Department of Political Science, Goa University)

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Printable version | May 4, 2022 9:06:18 pm |