Tuesday 13 November 2018

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Politics | Assembly '02

BJP gains little, loses more

 

Union home minister Lal Krishna Advani may claim that the Bharatiya Janata Party has turned victorious in the crucial mid-term Assembly elections in Goa. But in reality, it has lost more while gaining little.

With absolute majority of 21 in the 40-member House, chief minister Manohar Parrikar dissolved the Assembly on 27 February, though Goans had elected only 10 BJP men in 1999 polls. Today, after seeking a fresh mandate on 30 May, they are still at 17.

It is thus still a question whether the saffron brigade has gained seven or lost four, after asking for a vote in the name of good governance of 16 months. The BJP did not want to rule with a fractured mandate as their strength had swollen to 21 by admitting 11 Congressmen into the party.

"Our calculations went little wrong", admits Laxmikant Parsekar, the local BJP chief, who defeated former union minister Ramakant Khalap of the Congress. In a hung Assembly, Parrikar has once again become the chief minister, but of a coalition government, with two small regional outfits - the UGDP and the MGP.

Union minister Pramod Mahajan, soon after the poll results, complimented the local party leaders for increasing the votes from 26 per cent to 38 per cent, while the Congress reduced from 39 per cent to 38 per cent, winning only 16 seats this time, against 21 in '99.

No doubt the BJP has secured more number of votes this time, but could retain only 10 seats, including two seats which they contested by fielding those who had defected from the Congress. They had denied tickets to three defected legislators and one 'original', while former deputy chief minister Ravi Naik quit last minute. He got re-elected on the Congress ticket.

But the BJP also lost six seats, of which two belonged to the 'original' saffronites and four neo-saffronites, including three ministers and the deputy speaker. Comparatively, the Congress lost almost eight seats of sitting MLAs, including six of its traditional strongholds of bigwigs like Churchill Alemao, Khalap and PCC president Nirmala Sawant as well as scamsters like Mauvin Godinho and Somnath Zuwarkar.

Incidentally, both the parties could win seven new seats each. But only three among them were won by the BJP on its own while credit for the remaining four goes to the split vote between the Congress and the NCP as the alliance talks among them failed at the last minute.

In spite of this, the Congress could get in seven new seats including four new faces. Sitting independent MLA Isidore Fernandes as well as former MLAs Harish Zantye and Joaquim Alemao also stepped into the House once again.

"We could not gain majority solely due to disunity among the Congressmen and anti-party activity", alleges Sawant, the PCC chief, who also lost the polls.

The Congress wanted to win the polls to show the country that the BJP continues to lose after the Gujarat carnage. The BJP is also now trying to project the coalition as its full-fledged party government, in order to counter the Congress strategy. But in reality, both the parties were kept out of absolute power, by electing the hung Assembly.






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