PANAJI/ IMPHAL All set to form its governments in UP and Uttarakhand, the BJP has started jockeying for power in Goa and Manipur where it failed to emerge as the single largest party, cobbling together post- poll alliances.
BJP strongman from Goa, Manohar Parrikar even staked claim to form the government with the support of MGP, a former ally, the NCP, independents and some other smaller outfits.
Parrikar, currently the Defence Minister, was being sent back to the tiny coastal state after prospective allies made his return the pre-condition for support.
He called on Governor Mridula Sinha in the evening with the letters of support from three members each of the Goa Forward Party (GFP), the Maharashtrawadi Gomantak Party (MGP) and two Independents, taking the tally of the coalition to 21. The lone NCP MLA was also claimed to have extended support, but was yet to back the BJP-led coalition formally.
The BJP, with 13 MLAs in the 40-member state assembly, finished second after the Congress, which has the highest number of 17 legislators.
Union minister and the BJP's election in-charge for Goa, Nitin Gadkari said, "Parrikar will resign as the Defence Minister before taking oath as Chief Minister of Goa."
In Manipur, the BJP's chances of forming the next government brightened today after the National People's Party and the LJP formally extended their support.
Flanked by NPP and LJP leaders and their winning candidates, BJP general secretary Ram Madhav told a press conference in Imphal, "We have been able to come to an understanding with the NPP and the Lok Janshakti Party in our bid to form the government in Manipur."
The NPP and the LJP, both NDA constituents at the Centre, have won four seats and one seat respectively. Despite the backing of these five MLAs, BJP, which has won 21 seats in the 60-member assembly, will require the backing of five more to reach the magic figure of 31.
Madhav said that as per an "understanding" with another NDA partner Naga People's Front, which has won four seats, the number would go up to 30 and the support of one more MLA would be "secured".
"Though the BJP fell short of the numbers required to form government, with the help of alliance partners, the magical figure of 21 seats has been achieved. I promise that we will give a stable government which will work towards the development of the state," Parrikar told reporters after staking claim to form the government.
"I have already staked the claim to form government and I am expecting invitation from the Governor any time," he said addressing a joint press conference with Union Minister and the BJP's Goa election incharge Nitin Gadkari.
Gadkari said, "When none of the parties could get absolute majority in Goa, it was obvious that we would form the government with the like-minded parties.
"I held meetings with MGP and Goa Forward Party who put forth the condition that they would support the party only if government is led by Manohar Parrikar.
Gadkari said he had put up the feelings of the like-minded parties before Prime Minister Narendra Modi and party president Amit Shah.
"I explained to them that deputing Parrikar back to Goa is in the interest of welfare of the State and stability of government, that would be formed. The decision to move Parrikar to Goa has also been endorsed by BJP Parliamentary Board," he added.
The Goa unit BJP president Vinay Tendulkar said though NCP's Churchill Alemao has extended support to the coalition, he is yet to give a letter of support.
"He (Alemao) couldn't reach Raj Bhavan in time as he was stuck up in traffic. Alemao will give his letter of support tomorrow," he said.