Congress, BJP 'predict' clean-sweep ahead of polling

Congress, BJP 'predict' clean-sweep ahead of polling

Even as campaigning for the April 23 poll ended on Sunday evening, both the ruling BJP as well as the Congress party "predicted" a clean sweep of the two Lok Sabha seats and three Assembly bypolls which are up for grabs. 

In Goa, 11.35 lakh voters are eligible to cast a ballot on Tuesday at 1,652 polling booths across the coastal state, according to statistics provided by the Chief Electoral Officer on Wednesday. 

Earlier on Sunday, as all political parties wound up their campaigning ahead of the 48-hour silent period before polling starts on Tuesday, Chief Minister Pramod Sawant expressed confidence of coming up trumps.

"We have canvassed more than anyone else, both for the Lok Sabha and Assembly constituencies. People have expressed faith in their belief that Prime Minister Narendra Modi should win one more term," Sawant told reporters at a press conference on Sunday.

He also said that the "legacy of development" of the state government, headed by the BJP-led coalition, will help the party win the three Assembly bypolls too.

In North Goa, BJP's four-term MP and Union Minister of state for AYUSH Shripad Naik takes on the main opponent Congress' Girish Chodankar, while in South Goa BJP's sitting MP Narendra Sawaikar is battling it out against Congress' Francisco Sardinha, a former chief minister. 

The Congress, on the other hand, claimed that the BJP would lose 5-0. State Congress president and North Goa Lok Sabha candidate Girish Chodankar said a party which could not resolve Goa's vexed mining ban issue, despite being represented in Parliament by three MPs from Goa — two Lok Sabha MPs and one Rajya Sabha MP — and heading a government in the state, did not deserve to win. 

"I am not saying this. The voters are saying this. There is resentment for the BJP MPs in the state's mining belt (which covers nine Assembly constituencies). The MPs could not even get an appointment with the prime minister for a year. Now the people will give them an appointment with defeat," Chodankar said, whose party got the unexpected support of a former BJP ally, Maharashtrawadi Gomantak Party, midway through the campaign. 

The only other political party, apart from the BJP to contest all the five seats is the Aam Aadmi Party, which appears to have failed to gather traction from the voters.  

Twelve aspirants are in the race for two Lok Sabha seats namely North Goa and South Goa in Goa, while 16 candidates are in the contest for three Assembly bypolls namely Mapusa, Shiroda and Mandrem.