BJP Emerges As Single Largest Party In Goa, To Form Govt With Support Of Smaller Parties, Independents

As the BJP emerges as the single largest party in Goa, smaller parties and independents are rushing to extend support, despite the fact that it may not be needed.

BJP emerges as the single largest party in Goa.

In a state, whose mandate has never favoured a comeback for a ruling party and which has alternated rulers, the BJP has returned to power as the single largest party. It has survived a strong anti-incumbency factor and the anger of the electorate in its return journey to rule. Given Goa’s nearly two-decade-old political history of not bringing back the ruling party for a consequent term, the BJP seems to have found the formula to break the jinx.

The saffron party, which too had thought that the outcome would be a hung assembly, has now recovered from the shocker the mandate has thrown up in their favour. The BJP has emerged as the single largest party with 20 seats. It needs a single seat to reach the halfway mark of 21 seats needed to form the government. The Maharashtrawadi Gomantak Party (MGP), which had a pre-poll tie-up with the Trinamool Congress (TMC) has extended the support to the BJP. The MGP has won two seats.  

Armed with the mandatory letters of support the BJP will stake claim to form the next government in the state. The newly-elected MLAs will meet Governor P S Sreedharan Pillai after electing the Legislative party leader. As trends indicated a wave in the BJP’s favour, independent candidates have been extending their hand of support. Dr Chandrakant Shetye, who won from the Bicholim assembly constituency, was the first of the independents to meet outgoing chief minister Dr Pramod Sawant and extend his support to the BJP in its attempts at government formation.   

When winnability was an important factor, the Congress Party fielded new faces as 15 of its 17 MLAs had defected to the BJP, AAP and TMC. Since it was the party’s stalwarts and heavyweight leaders who had defected, finding replacements to match their stature was a daunting task for the Congress Party. Though the BJP had faced a strong anti-incumbency on various counts – public anger topping the list - the results indicate that these factors probably did not have the desired impact on the electorate. 

Significant losers include Utpal Parrikar, son of the late CM Manohar Parrikar. He lost the elections from his father’s constituency Panaji. He had contested as an independent from this seat after the BJP had rejected his claims for a ticket. This was a much-watched fight as this seat had always elected the late CM. Utpal Parrikar’s opponent Atanasio ‘Babush’ Monserrate won by a narrow margin of 674 votes. 

The TMC which had parachuted into Goa nearly three months before the Assembly polls equipped with the financial wherewithal, political strategist Prashant Kishor and his IPAC team, failed to open its account in the polls. Though the party had launched a very aggressive and visible campaign in Goa, all of its candidates lost the elections. These include the party’s Goa chief Kiran Kandolkar and his wife Kavita. Former NCP MLA Churchill Alemao, who had joined the TMC too lost the polls. His daughter Valanka too lost the elections on the TMC ticket. 

At the end of the final round, TMC secured 5.21 per cent of the vote share. Its alliance partner Maharashtrawadi Gomantak Party (MGP) secures 7.72 per cent of the total votes polled. Though TMC has not been able to win a single seat in the state it has emerged in the second or third position in a number of constituencies. The party stood second in the Thivim assembly constituency contested by Kavita Kandolkar. In the nearby Aldona seat, contested by Kiran Kandolkar, the TMC came in third. Alemao lost the Benaulim seat, which has been his stronghold. He came in second here losing to Captain Venzy Viegas of AAP. Alemao’s daughter too came in the second position in Navelim. Former BJP minister Benjamin Silva, who fought the polls on a TMC ticket came in third in the Velim seat, which was won by AAP’s Cruz Silva. TMC has an alliance with the MGP and had contested 26 seats.

AAP’s CM candidate Amit Palekar did not win his seat. Both its deputy chief ministers Manohar Ajgaonkar and Chandrakant Kavlekar of the BJP have lost their seats. While Ajgaonkar was defeated by Digambar Kamat (Congress Party) by 6,000 votes from Margao. Ajgaonkar has been traditionally contesting from Pernem in North Goa, however this time the BJP fielded him from Margao. Kavlekar, who had openly talked about his chief ministerial ambitions, was defeated from Quepem by Altone D’Costa (Congress Party).

According to sources, the majority of those who had defected to the BJP from the Congress Party have won their seats.