‘20+3+2’: Devendra Fadnavis on BJP's Goa government formation plan
20+3+2 = 25. Simple math that ex Maharashtra chief minister Devendra Fadnavis says is the Bharatiya Janata Party's plans for government formation in Goa. The BJP has won 20 of 40 seats in the 2022 Goa Assembly election. The party is still one short of the majority mark of 21.
Nevertheless the BJP will retain the coastal state, thanks to the support of three newly-elected independent candidates and two elected members of the Maharashtrawadi Gomantak Party, a regional outfit that is a former BJP ally.
"We've won 20 seats. MGP has given us a letter of support. Three independent MLAs have also supported us. So now we are 20+3+2 =25. There is a possibility that more candidates will join us. So we are forming the government," Fadnavis, the party's in-charge for the Goa campaign, said Thursday night.
20+3+2 therefore means the BJP will return in Goa. Party leaders, ANI said, have already lined up a meet with Governor PS Sreedharan Pillai to make their case.
Exit polls predicted a neck-and-neck race between the BJP and the Congress (some even suggested it might sneak a win) and early leads held true, with the GOP inching ahead briefly and staying level, or within touch, for a while.
As the day wore on, though, the BJP stretched its legs and disappeared into the distance. Among the BJP's 20 winners is the chief minister, who defeated the Congress' Dharmesh Saglani by around 600 votes in Sanquelim.
Sawant later thanked the Goa voters for the result and the BJP for having had faith in him to lead the re-election campaign.
The Congress has won 11 seats.
The nine remaining seats have been split between the MGP (2), the GFP (1), the Revolutionary Goans Party (1), three independent candidates, and two from Arvind Kejriwal's Aam Aadmi Party, which made its debut in Goan politics.
Earlier this week, after it became clear the Goa race could be very tight, the BJP reached out to the MGP, its former ally, to discuss a homecoming, and said they had received a positive response, despite the fact the MGP has a pre-poll deal with the Trinamool. Mamata Banerjee's outfit has drawn a blank.
As an aside, it wasn't all smooth sailing for the BJP today.
Party leader Atanasio 'Babush' Monserrate ripped into his own outfit earlier in the day - despite winning his contest in Panaji - claiming he had not been given enough support in his fight against Manohar Parrikar's son Utpal.
"I fought the unofficial candidate of the BJP (Utpal Parrikar) as well as the Congress. It is because of the support of the few of the workers and other supporters, that is who we have managed to retain the seat," he said, in comments unlikely to down well with senior leaders.
Utpal Parrikar walked away from the BJP in a huff after being denied the chance to contest from Panaji - his father's turf. He eventually contested as an independent candidate but lost.
With input from ANI