Goa Assembly election result: BJP, Congress keep close eye amid possibility of hung assembly
Goa Chief Minister Pramod Sawant has expressed confidence of the BJP forming the next government in the state, while the hopeful Congress has asked its candidates to stay in a hotel.
Amid predictions of a hung assembly, leaders of BJP and Congress in Goa would be keeping a close watch on the results of assembly elections on Thursday to assess their chances of forming government in the state.
Goa Chief Minister Pramod Sawant has expressed confidence of the BJP forming the next government in the state. The Congress, which is also hopeful of forming the government, has asked its candidates to stay at a hotel to prevent any attempt at "poaching". The party's leaders in Goa are learnt to be in touch with state leaders of Trinamool Congress and Aam Aadmi Party "to prevent BJP from returning to power" in the state.
Senior Congress leader P Chidambaram on Wednesday held a meeting with ally Goa Forward Party and briefed the candidates at a hotel in Goa's Margao on the eve of the counting of votes.
After the meeting, Karnataka Congress president DK Shivakumar told ANI that they have sought an appointment with the Governor on Thursday.
"We will get a majority. BJP is very much known for poaching. That is the reason we have asked all our MLAs to stay in a private hotel at Margao," he said.
Goa witnessed a multi-cornered contest with AAP and Trinamool Congress also in the fray apart from the traditional rivals Congress and BJP.
BJP fought the election on all 40 seats in the state while the Goa Forward Party (GFP) entered into a pre-poll alliance with Congress. Trinamool Congress allied with Maharashtrawadi Gomantak Party.
The exit polls have predicted a neck-to-neck fight between BJP and the Congress-led alliance.
In the 2017 assembly polls, Congress had emerged as the single largest party winning 17 seats, but the BJP moved swiftly and formed government after roping in the support of regional parties and independent MLAs.
The BJP contested this election without Manohar Parrikar, its tall leader from the state. His son Utpal contested from Panaji seat as an independent candidate after BJP did not give him ticket from the seat. The BJP has fielded Atanasio "Babush" Monserrate from the constituency.
Chief Minister Pramod Sawant contested from the Sanquelim constituency against Congress' Dharamesh Saglani while Margao saw a fascinating contest with BJP pitting Goa Deputy CM Manohar Ajgaonkar against Congress veteran Digambar Kamat.
Goa Forward Party president Vijai Sardesai is eyeing a third consecutive win from the Fatorda seat while Churchill Alemao is seeking another term from Benaulim but on a TMC ticket.
Michael Lobo was a minister in the Pramod Sawant-led government until January when he resigned from the cabinet and joined Congress. He fought Calangute from against BJP's Joseph Sequeira.
All arrangements have been put in place for counting on Thursday. More than 1,500 counting officials have been trained and deployed for the purpose and the counting will start at 8 am.
Assembly elections were held on February 14 in a single phase in Goa. The state saw 79.61 per cent polling.