Although Education Minister Babush Monserrate may have retained his hold over the City Corporation of Panaji with his panel winning 16 of the 30 seats, the victory is not really sweet for him as his bravado has been cut to size forcing him to take a stark look at the ground reality. Babush’s panel has been reduced to a slender majority with only 16 corporators as against the 19 he had won at the last elections.
However, what must be a real shocker is the fact that he lost two wards in his own constituency of Taleigao where besides he being the MLA, his wife Jennifer is the Zilla Panchayat representative. Add to that is the fact that his grand patch up with St. Cruz MLA Victoria Fernandes did not yield any results as he could not pick any additional seat in Ribandar area.
Besides, three of his candidates won by slender margins. It was indeed quite a surprise that Rudresh Chodankar, an aspirant for the Mayor’s post, despite being a corporator and a councilor before that, won by only 16 votes in Ward No. 23.
Worse still is the fact that in Ward No. 19, Babush’s candidate Maria Rita Pereira won by a margin of only four votes. If the result in this ward had to swing the other way, the results of the elections would have been totally different.
The greatest set-back for Babush is the fact that his candidates lost in Ward Nos. 5 and 7 both forming part of the Taleigao Assembly constituency where BJP backed candidates won. In Ward No. 5 Babush’s candidate Rupesh Shirgaonkar lost by a huge margin of 200 votes while in Ward No. 7 his candidate Regina Almeida lost by 80 votes.
The Nationalist Congress Party had to bite the dust as none of its candidates won and the leader of the NCP panel Avinash Bhonsle who was a sitting corporator could garner only seven votes in Ward No. 20.
Panjimites Initiative For Change, a new initiative in Goan elections proved quite successful as 11 of the candidates supported by it won, of which nine were also backed by BJP and the other two were independent candidates – Surendra Furtado and his wife Ruth Furtado.
For the BJP backed Panaji First, it was good tidings with a little bitterness. Panaji First increased its tally in the CCP by four having bagged 12 seats as against the eight it held last time and the cherry on the pudding was the fact that two of its candidates won in Taleigao assembly segment.
However, it had to suffer the ignominy of the defeat of Ashok Naik who was projected as the next Mayor if the panel was elected. Ashok Naik lost by 111 votes in Ward No. 14. Similarly, the defeat of Rupesh Haldankar who lost by 77 votes in Ward No. 30 would be difficult to digest particularly since Rupesh was known to raise various pertinent issues particularly regarding corruption while he served as a corporator.
Activist Aires Rodrigues who polled a healthy 341 votes in Ward No. 30 was however relegated to the third position. Similarly, journalist Ashley do Rosario was relegated to the third position in Ward No. 9 having polled 121 votes.