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BJP just shy of majority mark in Goa, will seek support of independents and MGP to form govt

According to Election Commission trends as of 2.10 pm, the BJP won 3 seats and was leading in 17 out of Goa's 40 seats, while the Congress was trailing with 11 seats.

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Mumbai: Despite predictions of a hung assembly, the incumbent Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) is emerging as the single-largest party in Goa very close to the half-way mark, and thus not far from being able to form a second consecutive government in the coastal state.

According to Election Commission of India (ECI) trends as of 2.10 pm, the BJP won 3 seats and was leading in 17 out of Goa’s 40 seats, while the Congress was trailing with 11 seats. The Congress’ ally, Goa Forward Party (GFP), is on cue to win one seat.

BJP Goa President Sadanand Shet Tanavade said on Twitter: “Trends and leads indicate BJP Goa is inching towards majority. I am confident the BJP will cross the halfway mark by the day progresses.”

After his win from Sanquelim, incumbent CM Pramod Sawant told reporters, “The credit for this win goes to the party karyakartas. We will take the support of independents and MGP both.”

Independent candidates are leading in three seats. The MGP is also leading in three seats too, according to ECI data.

The BJP has sought time from the Governor’s office, party sources said.

Also read: Rival bashing, history raking & trying to fit ‘Goan’ mould: How parties wooed Goa electorate

AAP likely to open account, TMC to draw a blank

The Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) may open its account in Goa this time, leading in two seats. The regional Maharashtrawadi Gomantak Party (MGP), which had allied with the Trinamool Congress Party (TMC), is leading in three seats.

The TMC, which contested elections in Goa seriously for the first time, carpet-bombing the state with publicity campaigns, and positioning itself as a credible alternative to the incumbent BJP, is likely to draw a blank in the state.

In 2017, the Congress emerged as the single largest party with 17 seats, but the BJP took the mandate away from under its nose by quickly cobbling together an alliance with the MGP and the GFP to form the government.

Exit polls, as well as the early hours of counting had indicated that there was a neck-and-neck fight between the Congress and the BJP, and the result was likely to be a hung assembly.

It sparked off an intense race between the BJP and Congress to get the support of other parties and victorious independents, and bolster their strength to cross the half-way mark and stake claim to form the government.

BJP in talks with MGP

On record, leaders from the Congress as well as BJP exuded confidence of crossing the half-way mark on their own. However, they were both prepared for a hung assembly, and had started back-channel talks with other parties and independents with a strong chance of winning at least two weeks before the results.

An independent candidate from Goa’s Catholic-dominated Salcete taluka, who did not wish to be named, told ThePrint: “Everyone was approaching me, my associates to know my next steps. I had decided to wait and watch and see what the situation is after the results.”

The BJP leadership, meanwhile, initiated talks for a post-poll alliance with MGP, which has traditionally been its ally in Goa.

The MGP had earlier said it will never ally with the BJP as the latter had poached two of its three MLAs in 2019 and unceremoniously dumped MGP’s Sudin Dhavalikar as the deputy CM. BJP’s Devendra Fadnavis, the party’s poll in-charge for Goa, also met Dhavalikar last week to discuss a possible post-poll alliance.

Dhavalikar has said any decision on a post-poll alliance will be taken after discussion with the MGP’s ally, TMC. He has also indicated that he will not support Sawant as CM.

According to the ECI, the MGP was leading in tree seats as of 12.30 pm.

(Edited by Shreyas Sharma)

Also read: In Goa politics, personalities matter more than party. These polls are more proof


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