Panaji: The BJP looks ready to retain Goa, despite placing second in the picturesque coastal state. There will be one major change if it forms the government: Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar will return to his home state as Chief Minister. He has resigned as Defence Minister. Together with union minister Nitin Gadkari, he held a long meeting this evening at a five-star hotel where the BJP efficiently collected the additional seven seats it needs from small regional parties. Its leaders will now meet the Governor Mridula Shah to stake claim.
Goa has 40 seats. The Congress won the most – 17 – but not enough to form the government -the target is 21. The BJP, which is the incumbent, won 13.
So who forms the government depends heavily on regional parties. The Maharashtrawadi Gomantak Party or MGP is a former ally of the BJP (it opted out of the partnership right before the election). It won three seats and has said it will support the BJP if Mr Parrikar is selected by his party as head of the government.
Another regional party Goa Forward, which also won three seats, has provided its support in writing at the meeting this evening.
There are three independents who have been elected -and have the potential to play a crucial role. One of them is allied with the BJP. that gives the BJP the seven extra seats it needs for a majority.
Chief Minister Laxmikant Parsekar lost both the constituencies he fought – a sign, the Congress says, of the people’s firm rejection of the BJP.
Mr Parrikar, after taking over as Chief Minister, will have to get elected to the Goa legislature within 6 months. He will also have to prove his majority in the legislature.
The Congress’s Digvijaya Singh has accused the BJP of wooing defections and horse-trading. But he said that if the Congress does not get enough written support to hit 21 seats, it would “not like” to try and form the government.