In the Mormugao parliamentary seat in South Goa, the contest seems to have broadened to include three candidates in the fray to lay claim for the coveted seat currently held by the Congress.
So it is the three "S"s in Sardinha, Sawaikar and Saldanha making a fervent claim to the south Goa seat traditionally held by the Congress. While the candidates in south Goa had a much cleaner campaigning system this time with no banners or posters, there were the occasional loudspeaker jarring vehicles blaring away their commentary to seek votes for certain candidates.
While the Congress candidate Mr Francisco Sardinha was helped in his campaign by their national party president Ms Sonia Gandhi, The BJP candidate Mr Narendra Sawaikar had film actor Shatrughan Sinha and TV artiste Smriti Irani supporting the campaign while the UGDP being a regional Goan party, was ably supported in its campaign by the local party leaders Mr Anacleto Viegas and Mr Radharao Gracias.
Mr Sardinha, being a member of the ruling dispensation in Goa and the centre could derive benefit from the works carried out by his party in the south Goan constituency. Also the hard hitting speech of Ms Sonia Gandhi against the BJP during his election rally in Margao could lend the necessary power to his campaign. Mr Sardinha is also a seasoned campaigner for the last 30 years in Goan politics and a well known personality in Goa which could help his cause.
Mr Sardinha could however bear the brunt of inner party bickering in Goa where the open revolt of Mr Churchill Alemao the PWD minister who's daughter Ms Valanka Alemao was denied the same ticket is seen as a blow to the party's campaign.
Mr Sawaikar has been seen as a new face to the Goan electorate although his name was announced well in advance which helped his campaign. Besides his party's image and popularity, Mr Sawaikar, an unknown entity hasn't got much to get him further among the electorate.
The third "S" in the fray, Mr Mathany Saldanha is a shrewd canvasser who has been fighting for local issues such as the issues of CRZ, environment, special status for Goa, etc and could gobble up a sizeable chunk of votes which may be more harm to the congress than to the BJP. However the denial of his traditional party symbol at the last minute could be hard-hitting on him as also the fact that his reach in the hinterland areas of Goa has been limited.
People in south Goa are largely focused on voting for candidates who they feel could bring about development to Goa and open up Job opportunities to the unemployed youth of the region
The other seven candidates in the fray seem to be relatively unknown with little or no campaigning . These include Mr Jawahar Dias, Mr Derick Dias, Mr Francisco A J Fernandes, Mr Mulla Salim. Ms Smita Salunke and Mr Hamza Khan