Amid hung assembly, Congress and BJP stake claim in Goa
The 2017 Goa Assembly elections for 40 seats witnessed a plethora of surprises for all political parties, even as the Congress emerged as the single largest party with 17 seats, followed by the BJP with 13 seats, NCP (1), Independents (3) and regional parties –MGP (3) and Goa Forward (3).
However, the Aam Aadmi Party drew a complete blank with even its Chief Minister-designate Elvis Gomes losing to Clafasio Dias (INC) in the Cuncolim constituency, despite a recount.
It was a day of upsets for many candidates in the Goa elections as dark horses and giant-killers shot into the limelight with disastrous consequences for the losers. Of the lone candidate couple in the electoral fray, Atanasio "Babush" Monserrate had shifted from his winning stronghold of Taleigao to fight from Panjim constituency, but instead lost to BJP's Siddharth Kunkolienkar. However, Babush's wife – Jennifer Monserrate (INC) won from the Taleigao seat that he used to originally contest from.
One major upset witnessed unknown face Dr Vinod Palyekar (Goa Forward Party) defeating veteran BJP MLA Dayanand Mandrekar in Siolim by 1197 votes.
Meanwhile, many former chief ministers either made their political comebacks or held onto their strongholds. These included former Congress chief ministers like:
Pratapsinh Rane (won from Poriem with 4066 votes), Digambar Kamat (Margao by 4900 votes), and Goa INC President Luizinho Faleiro (2478 votes from Navelim constituency.)
However, the Goa BJP chief minister Laxmikant Parsekar suffered a shock defeat to the party's former leader-turned-Congress candidate Dayanand Sopte by a margin of 7119 votes.
Meanwhile, even as the BJP -- the second major winner with 13 seats – is in talks with other parties for forming the Government, their frontline chief ministerial candidates are likely to be former Deputy Chief Minister Francisco D'Souza (who won in Mapusa with 6828 votes) and potential Chief Minister candidate and second-time winner Michael Lobo (BJP) by 4460 votes in the famed beach tourism Calangute constituency.
Lobo had been highlighted as the chief ministerial candidate earlier, while Francisco D'souza had staked his claim unsuccessfully against the 2017 election losing candidate – former Chief Minister Laxmikant Parsekar, who had been elected CM due to former CM Manohar Parrikar becoming the Union Defence Minister.
Pointing out that the Goa BJP had won these 13 seats due to its development platform, Lobo told reporters that the BJP is open to alliances with the MGP, GFP and Independents, but not with the Congress.