Chief Minister Laxmikant Parsekar has suffered a shocking defeat in Punjab. The CM has lost his seat to Congress’ Dayanand Sopte. Out of the 5 Indian states where the assembly elections have been held in 2017, Goa is the offering the most open contest between three leading parties: Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), Indian National Congress (INC) and Aam Aadmi Party (AAP). This year 250 candidates contest the February 4 polls for the state’s 40 constituencies. Out of this 131 were from South Goa and 119 from North Goa, as per the data available with Chief Electoral Officer. This was a significant rise over 202 candidates who battled for seats in 2012. This year, BJP has fielded its candidates on 36 seats and is also supporting Independent nominees in two constituencies. On the other hand, Congress is contesting on 37 seats, NCP on 16 and the MGP-GSM-Shiv Sena alliance has fielded 26 candidates. With senior BJP leader Manohar Parrikar now serving as Defence Minister in Narendra Modi government, party’s status has gone down in the state and it will be interesting to see if it can regain its previous dominance.
Mandrem being the home constituency of the current Chief Minister, Laxmikant Parsekar will get the spotlight for obvious reasons. He has been criticised recently for not developing enough job opportunities which even his opponents have tried exploit. A news about few job seekers approaching him and being ignored, further damaged his image. Even though there are 7 candidates fighting for this seat, it is likely to be a two-way race like the last time between Parsekar and Congress candidate Sopte.
There are about 29,364 registered voters with the Election Commission from the Mandrem constituency. Out of this, 14,829 are male while 14,535 are female voters.
What are the key issues
Tourism is an important part of Mandrem with paragliding being one of the highest mediums of revenue. However, it was recently stopped, the reason being it was disturbing the peace and tranquillity of Mandrem beach. Other than this, infrastructure is another key issue being hyped by Parsekar himself. During his campaign, he has brought up other issues like health, education and employment.
Who was the winner last time
The 2011 Assembly election was a happy one for Bharatiya Janata party as Laxmikant Parsekar, who is the current Chief Minister of the state won this seat by a margin of 3,435 votes. Parsekar won 11,955 votes while Congress candidate Dayanand Raghunath Sopte got 8,520 votes. The voter turnout was also on the higher side and was reported at 88.43%.
Who are the competing candidates
Chief Minister Laxmikant Parsekar (BJP) is the most important candidate from this seat. Devendra Krishnaji Prabhu Parsekar Desai (AAP) and Dayanand Raghunath Sopte (Congress) are the other two important candidates.
Why is this constituency important?
Mandrem is constituency No. 1 of Goa legislative assembly and being the home constituency of the current Chief Minister, it becomes a fight of pride for the ruling party BJP. Since Mandrem is located in North Goa district, it belongs to the North Goa constituency. Even though there was a two party war between BJP and Congress last time, AAP’s rise in last five years can make the battle interesting.