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Saturday, April 1, 2023

Shiroda By-Poll: The land of Bakibab Borkar is parched but politically fertile

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Rupesh Samant



Nilya Khadichya Kathala,

Maja Hirawach Gav,

Jagat mi miravito

Tyache Lavuniya nav


This is how legendary Marathi-Konkani writer and poet late Bakibab Borkar had described his birthplace, Borim village, decades ago, when it was still untouched with the modernization.

As you travel through this village, located on the bank of River Zuari, Bakibab Borkar’s poem turns into a reality. The God fearing  people from this village strongly believes in Goddess Navadurga and off-late have added  Sai Baba to their list of deities. Borim has a mini-Shirdi, just next to the place where Bakibab was born.


Shantiniketan, a board on a house with tile roof, where Bakibab Borkar was born and grew before he shifted to Mumbai, is nonchalant place, which could ideally have been converted into museum. The works of Bakibab, however, has found a home at the library owned by Pratibha Friends Circle near Navadurga Temple.


Politically, Borim has been one of the most potent village. And when Shiroda goes for by-election, the villagers cannot be left out from the political frenzy that is unleashed here.


The political inclinations stands grossly divided between BJP’s Subhash Shirodkar and MGP’s Deepak Dhavalikar. Congress’ Mahadev Naik is missing in the political discussions.


Anger against Subhash Shirodkar for mid-term switch over


The voters are still not able to digest the fact that Subhash Shirodkar is a BJP candidate. They have seen Shirodkar on Congress symbol, ruling the constituency for over twenty years. The BJP in this constituency doesn’t stem from the RSS lineage. The funda of being BJP man was very simple in this constituency. If you are opposed to Subhash then you are BJP person. But the political colours have changed overnight.


Double whammy for BJP cadres in Shiroda

The BJP cadre faced double whammy in the year 2018-19. First their arch rival, Shirodkar, went on a business trip to Delhi only to join BJP. Secondly, their new found leader Mahadev Naik, joined Congress claiming it to be his home coming. The cadres are in shock, but has now adjusted to their fate. Gradually, they have started accepting Shirodkar as their leader and are seen campaigning for them.

Entry of Deepak Dhavalikar in Shiroda

MGP President Deepak Dhavalikar’s entry in Shiroda constituency is a game changer. Goa’s oldest regional party had Abhay Prabhu as its candidate during 2017 election. Prabhu is a son of former minister Babai Prabhu, who has strong following in this constituency.

When Dhavalikar initially announced his intention to contest from Shiroda, none took him seriously. Many thought it as his blackmailing trick to get more perks for his party in Manohar Parrikar-led government. But everyone was stunned when they saw Dhavalikar campaigning and gaining ground here. At present, Dhavalikar has covered majority ground in Shiroda, and has become front runner, leaving behind Shirodkar.


Mahadev Naik and the marriage

Mahadev Naik has become a family man since the year 2017, when he was defeated by Shirodkar. When Shirodkar was joining BJP, Mahadev was in the USA to meet his daughter there. After his arrival, Mahadev joined Congress.

At present, Mahadev is not seen much on the field. The reason is simple. He is busy in distributing wedding invitations of his son, which is scheduled on April 20. Many claim that Mahadev is smart and reaching out the voters in the guise of distributing wedding cards. But the ground reality is different. He is absent in campaigning. Mahadev’s absence is helping MGP.


Issues that affect people

People living in this constituency are still fending for basic amenities like water. They are far away from proper water supply. Then PWD Minister Sudin Dhavalikar in presence of then CM Manohar Parrikar had laid foundation stone for 10 MLD pipeline connecting Selaulim to Shiroda. It is to be seen whether the pipeline will be a reality or remains to be a piped dream for the voters.

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