Post-poll survey: honours for BJP even in Goa

Regional factors, not Modi, decided voting

Updated - May 29, 2019 12:09 am IST

Published - May 28, 2019 11:58 pm IST

Ever since the previous Assembly election, Goa has been in the news over questions of the BJP’s political strength. Though the popular State leader Manohar Parrikar returned to Goa and attempted to give a semblance of stability to the party-led government, the Lok Sabha election held after his death has thrown up a possible challenge to the party.


While BJP candidate Shripad Naik won the north Goa (Panaji) seat for the fifth consecutive time, Congress candidate Francisco Sardinha wrested the south Goa (Marmugao) seat from the BJP by a slim margin of 9,755 votes. Mr. Naik’s victory margin shrunk from over 1 lakh votes to 80,000. The BJP secured 51.2% of the total votes, which is a loss of two percentage points from the 2014 share. The Congress vote share went up significantly from 36.6% last time to 42.9% this time.

Table 1: Hindus of South Goa did not consolidate behind the BJP with the same intensity as the Hindus of North Goa


North Goa, which is mostly Hindu-dominated, has been a bastion of the BJP since 1999, while south Goa, which has a large Christian population and a sizeable Muslim population as well, has elected Congress candidates since 1977, except in 1996, 1999 and 2014.

While over three-fourths of Hindus consolidated behind the BJP in the north Goa seat handing it yet another easy victory, Hindus in south Goa did not show a similar enthusiasm as nearly one-third ended up voting for the Congress. This, coupled with a massive Christian and Muslim consolidation (over 90%) behind the Congress, proved to be critical in ensuring a return of the Congress in south Goa.

Table 2: Hindus of South Goa were most likely to have viewed the mining ban issue as being very important and half of them ended up voting Congress


While nearly two-thirds of Hindu respondents in north Goa said that Parrikar’s passing had been an important issue or consideration while voting, among the Hindus of south Goa, only one-fourth said so.

What explains the Hindu shift towards the Congress in south Goa far better is the mining issue — more specifically, the ban placed on iron ore mining by the Supreme Court since February 2018, which has ended up depriving large sections of people of their livelihood.

Table 3: Satisfaction level with State and Central governments in Goa


While the BJP did indeed win three of the four Assembly byelections held in the State along with the Lok Sabha elections, thus becoming the single largest party in the Assembly, the issue of the mining ban has the potential of affecting the ruling party’s prospects at the State level.

To conclude, regional factors and not Mr. Modi seem to have decided voting choices .

(Alaknanda Shringare is an Assistant Professor at the Department of Political Science, Goa University, and Shreyas Sardesai is Research Associate at Lokniti)

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