TAMIL NADU

Low-key campaign in Goa ends

PANAJI, APRIL 24. The low-key campaign for the two Lok Sabha seats in Goa came to an end this evening with the BJP leader, Sushma Swaraj, addressing a public meeting at Margao.

Ms. Swaraj claimed that she has been witnessing a pro-NDA wave all over the country prompted by various developmental activities launched by the Vajpayee Government. She said the country had seen only two waves — negative and sympathy — and this "pro-incumbency" wave was not heard of in India's democratic history.

Later she told a press conference here that the NDA combine was "way ahead" of the Congress in the just completed first phase of the Lok Sabha and Assembly polls. She said she had travelled to all parts of the country and in all directions to campaign where she saw the "pro-incumbency" wave for the first time.

When her attention was drawn to the reported wave in favour of the Krishna Government in Karnataka and the BJP's predicted failure, she said: "You will be for a surprise when the results are announced." She said that after having travelled to all parts of the State, she had understood that the BJP-JD(U) combine would come to power in the State.

On the campaign-front for the two Lok Sabha seats, electioneering in the State remained relatively calm bereft of pomp and gaiety by political parties unlike the frenzied electioneering and hectic campaign witnessed in the rest of the country.

Apart from the candidates belonging to the BJP and Congress combine, candidates belonging to the Communist Party of India, the Maharashtrawadi Gomantak Party, the United Goan Democratic Party and the Shiv Sena are also testing their luck in the two seats.

While the BJP in all possibility is set to retain the Panaji seat, mainly due to lack of a strong Opposition candidate and also the rapport its candidate,

Shripad Y. Naik, has with the electorate, the fate of the Mormugao seat has baffled analysts with both the sitting MP, Ramakant Angle, of the BJP and his opponent, Churchill Alemao, of the Congress going neck-and-neck. Even BJP insiders have admitted in private that Mr. Angle was a "weak" candidate as he had failed to fulfil the promises made to electorate.

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