Amid hung assembly, Congress and BJP stake claim in Goa

Panaji: Goa ended up with a hung assembly on Saturday but both the Congress and the BJP claimed they will form the new government in the coastal state.

While the Congress emerged as the single largest party in the 40-member house winning 17 seats, the BJP was second with 13 seats.

A Congress spokesperson said the party would soon stake claim to form the government while Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar said that the BJP was already in talks with regional parties and Independents to return to power.

"A lot of like-minded people have been elected, including my friend Vijai (Sardesai of Goa Forward). Let the party leadership decide. Of course we will form the government," newly-elected Congress MLA from Valpoi, Vishwajeet Rane told IANS here.

Parrikar told a press conference late on Saturday said some smaller parties who are keen on siding with the BJP and not the Congress were in contact.


"Many of them have expressed clearly that they want to be associated with BJP and not with Congress," he said. Asked if he was in touch with these parties, he said: "Obviously".

While the Congress and BJP have accounted for a bulk of the votes, Goa Forward and the Maharastrawadi Gomantak Party (MGP), both regional parties, have won three seats yet, while three Independents were also elected.

Their role would be crucial as far as government formation is concerned.

The result also revealed that as many as seven cabinet ministers, including Chief Minister Laxmikant Parsekar, were defeated.

Parsekar finished second with 9,371 votes in Mandrem assembly seat with the Congress' Dayanand Sopte of the Congress winning with 16,490 votes. Parsekar late on Saturday submitted his resignation to Governor Mridula Sinha, who asked him to continue till alternative arrangments.

"She has accepted my resignation and asked me to continue as caretaker chief minister," Parsekar said.

On the result, Parsekar said that he was could not understand why the results panned out in the way they had.

"We provided allround development. We have also got a lot of support from the central government. I cannot understand this mandate, but I accept it... I think Goans have made a mistake," he said.

Sopte however told the media that Parsekar lost by a big margin because "people were unhappy with the CM's work."

Among other cabinet ministers who were defeated was Tourism Minister Dilip Parulekar who lost the Saligao seat to Jayesh Salgaonkar of Goa Forward by 2,137 votes.

Water Resources Minister Dayanand Mandrekar also lost to Goa Forward's Vinod Palyenkar by 1,441 votes while Industries Minister Mahadev Naik lost to Congress' Subhash Shirodkar by 4,870 votes.

Former Minister and state MGP President Deepak Dhavalikar was defeated by Independent candidate Govind Gawde in Priol by 4,686 votes. Dhavalikar and his brother Sudin Dhavalikar were sacked from the cabinet by Parsekar, about a month before polls were announced in Goa.

Fisheries Minister Avertano Furtado lost to Congress state chief Luizinho Faleiro by 2,478 votes in Navelim while Forest and Environment Minister Rajendra Arlekar lost to MGP's Manohar Ajgaonkar by 6,030 votes.

According to former Chief Minister Digambar Kamat, who won from Margao, the verdict was a slap in the face of the BJP-led coalition's governance.

"Ministers are losing everywhere, even the Chief Minister has lost. They (ministers) are even leaving counting halls after the first round. People were disgusted with them," he said.

Prominent winners included for Congress, former Chief Ministers Ravi Naik (Ponda) and Pratapsingh Rane (Poriem), Jennifer Monserrate (Taleigao), Filipe Neri Rodrigues (Velim), and Isidore Fernandes (Canacona) and for BJP, Mauvin Godinho (Dabolim), Deputy Chief Minister Francis D'Souza (Mapusa), Milind Naik (Mormugao), and Glenn Ticlo (Aldona). 

NCP's Churchill Alemao, making a political comeback after being arrested in connection with the multi-crore Louis Berger bribery scam two years back, won from Benaulim, beating his nearest rival Royla Fernandes of the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) by 5,191 votes.

One of the two parties which suffered the worst losses was AAP, which had made a determined bid to take power, but could not win a single seat, with its Chief Ministerial candidate Elvis Gomes coming fourth in Cuncolim, polling only 3,336 votes.

Congess' Clafasio Dias won from Cuncolim, defeating Independent Joaquim Alemao by just 213 votes.

"We have to respect the people's will. The fact remains that the AAP has made an impact on Goa and we will continue to work," Gomes said.

The Goa Surakha Manch, formed by ex-RSS leader Subhash Velinkar who had the Shiv Sena as his ally, also could not open its account.