By Advait Moharir
The election results have come in, and it is clear that Goa has voted a hung assembly. Congress has 17 seats, BJP has 13 seats while the Maharashtrawadi Gomanktak Party(MGP) has 3. Independents have won 7 seats and have played spoilsport in BJPs bid to achieve another term in the 40-member Assembly.
What keeps Goa on the fence during Elections?
Goa has had a history of hung assemblies. Since its formation in 1962 after its liberation from the Portuguese, Goa has gone through several phases of President’s Rule interspersed by short governments from MGP and the Congress. It was with the BJP’s victory in the 1999 Elections that the contest became a bipolar one between the former and the Congress, and since then they have alternatively ruled that State. With each party having its set of loyal constituencies evenly divided across the State, the winning side barely scrapes beyond the required 50% mark every time.
A new set of circumstances emerged this time around. Manohar Parrikar, who became CM in 2012, was a popular leader. Known for his administrative efficiency, no-nonsense attitude and simplicity, he is known to have brought good governance to the State with multiple reformative policies, including lowering oil prices throughout the State and banning illegal mining. His RSS roots and extensive ground level work experience ensured that he had mass contact with the public. Parrikar resigned from the CM’s post in 2014, as he was summoned by PM Modi to take up the post of Union Defence Minister. This sudden change considerably weakened BJP’s position in the State, as it was difficult to replace someone of his stature.
Not a worthy successor to Parrikar?
The replacement in the form of Laxmikant Parsekar did not augur too well for the party. The first signs showed up when the MGP decided to break its alliance with the BJP and contest the polls alone. Trouble soon followed, when Goa RSS Chief Dilip Venglikar revolted against the ruling BJP and floated his own outfit. While Venglikar did not belong to the BJP, it is well known that BJP and RSS have a good relationship. Hence, an immediate drawback from the age-old alliance was pitted as RSS’s refusal to campaign for the BJP. It is well known, as seen in the case of UP, that much of ground-level campaigning for BJP is done by local RSS cadres, and this is what probably hurt the BJPs chances.
Apart from this, Venglikar’s decision to bridge an alliance with MGP might have boosted their chances of gaining a higher seat count. But things came full circle, as a BJP-MGP alliance could have formed the government; but the alliance breakup led to a vote division instead.
While the BJP hinted at Parrikar’s return to State politics and even made him the star campaigner to boost its chances, it was a tad bit late. Saving its alliance with the MGP and paying more attention to the RSS would have helped the BJP better. Their underestimation of the MGP and overconfidence regarding RSS support that brought about this stagnation.
With the MGP hinting that it would go with BJP, whether the next government will be formed by BJP or not will depend on how successful they are in wooing the Independents and small parties.
Featured Image Credits: Reuters