PANAJI ; With neither Congress nor the BJP winning a majority in the Goa Assembly, the 10 seats bagged by regional parties and independent candidates are crucial to government formation in the small state.
The Congress stood as the largest party with 17 seats followed by BJP with 13. But the most significant factor in government formation could be the three seats each won by the Maharashtrawadi Gomantak Party (MGP) and the Goa Forward Party. Prior to elections on February 4, the MGP had ended its alliance with the BJP.
Both the BJP and Congress camps in Goa are calculating the possibilities of their forming the government. While former chief minister and defence minister Manohar Parrikar held a meeting with BJP leaders in the state, Congress leader Digvijay Singh met the winning candidates of his party and other party members in Panaji. Political analysts see the results as a setback for BJP and a guarded mandate for the Congress.
Despite fielding its star campaigner Prime Minister Narendra Modi and several BJP Union ministers in election rallies, the BJP could not hold on to its majority in Goa.
In the run-up to the vote, there was inspired talk about Manohar Parikkar returning to the state as CM to replace Laxmikant Parsekar but the kiteflying did nothing to change the mind of voters in Goa who voted in a hung Assembly. Parsekar himself lost his seat in Mandrem. Much of the voter diasaffection for the BJP had to do with the burgeoning of the casinos.
“The mandate is clear. The arrogance and ignorance of BJP and its ministers has pushed the party to the number two position in Goa. There is talk of the BJP forming a government with the help of regional parties and independents, but it could be disastrous to the party,” said Raju Naik, a political analyst.