Army voters in the recently concluded Goan assembly elections had caused a lot of flutter. The issue of contention as brought up by the opposition parties was that these army voters could be influenced into voting for the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP). The Aquem Baixo Gram Sabha in an effort to address the issue unanimously resolved to take off the 662 names of army voters from its voter’s list.
70 villagers attending the Gram Sabha demanded that the names of the army voters be stricken off the voter’s list since the army personnel could not engage in the development of the village. The villagers also pointed out that they do not pay house tax to the panchayat.
Luizinho Faliero during the run-up to the elections had objected to the inclusion of army voters into the voter’s list. He had stated that he could not carry on canvassing or directly approach the army personnel mainly due to them staying in an army camp. During the all-party conclave called by Congress in Panjim on February 23, this issue was discussed at length along with the postal ballot issue.
During the conclave, Durgadas Kamat of the Goa Forward Party (GFP) had been very critical of army voters being added to the voter roll. On the day of the conclave, Goa Su-Raj Party had filed a writ petition in the high court demanding that electoral roll of Navelim along with St. Andre and Ponda constituencies be revised.
It is stated that 700 to 800 army voters had been added to the electoral in the three constituencies with the maximum number being enrolled in the Navelim constituency. The move was criticised by opposition parties as the number of votes could make a huge difference in the electoral results.
The Panchayat secretary has said that keeping in mind people’s sentiments, the resolution will be forwarded to the Directorate of Panchayats.
(Image credit: The Indian Express)