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Goa's oldest regional party hopes for a comeback
May 28, 2007 11:59 IST
Maharashtrawadi Gomantak Party, Goa's oldest regional party, is hoping to reclaim its voter base in the June 2 Assembly polls and emerge as a key player in event of a fractured mandate.
The party, which ruled the tiny state for 17 years and won five Assembly elections post-Goa liberation in 1961, finds itself in a tight spot in the changed political scenario.
After being regularly deserted by its 'loyal' leaders, the party got a bad name for defection, which has become a prominent feature in the politically volatile state.
Right from Goa's Chief Minister Pratapsingh Rane to state Congress President Ravi Naik, everyone who mattered in Goa politics was associated with MGP at some point of time.
Late Dayanand Bandodkar, Goa's first chief minister, was the leader of MGP and ruled the state for ten years - 1963 to 1973 - after which his daughter Shashikala Kakodkar took over from 1973 to 1979.
A quick glance at the history reveals that the MGP won five elections before being overshadowed by the Congress, the country's oldest political party.
The first poll in Goa as a Union Territory which also consisted of Daman and Diu in 1963 saw MGP polling 40.13 per cent of total votes and emerging as the most powerful party.
Of the then 30 seats, MGP won 14 while its nearest rival United Goans bagged 12. The Congress got a lone seat.
In 1967 elections, the MGP increased its vote share marginally to 40.37 per cent. This time, the party got 16 seats while United Goans -- which was then divided into two factions UG (Sequira) and UG (Furtado) -- won 12.