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Goa : 2017

Goa : 2017

This could possibly be the first time that we Goans have had to wait so long after an election for the results to be declared.

A torture for the aspirants who are as much in the dark about their electoral fortunes as also every voter who is equally anxious to know whether his choice has the endorsement of the rest of the electorate, this inordinate delay in counting the votes is definitely playing on the nerves of everyone concerned.

A number of piquant issues which put constitutional experts in a dilemma of sorts could well have been avoided if the counting of votes in the state were to be planned within a few days of the elections being held, with a new government assuming office soon thereafter.

As unnecessary as the stream of election observers who flocked the state, this inordinate delay in declaring the results is indicative of a lack of foresightedness on the part of the election commission in scheduling polls in the five states.

With elections to the largest state in the country listed in seven phases, polling at the other states could have been planned in the first week of March when elections to the UP assembly would be drawing to an end.

Well, these are all things that need not be dwelt on any further except probably as excuses by unsuccessful candidates for their defeats. Nevertheless, it could also have been for the first time that there were no chest-thumping and overt shows of exuberance by the contestants over their electoral chances.

In any case, the Modi-magic does not seem to have rubbed off on the Goans this time around. The Congress appears to be consolidating its position capturing many important seats it has lost out to the BJP in the last elections.

But at this hour it looks as if Goa is headed for a hung Assembly with the Congress in the lead.

The ruling BJP suffered a major blow when Chief Minister Laxmikant Parsekar was defeated by Dayanand Sopte of the Congress.

Right from the outset it was very evident that the MGP, NCP and the Goa Forward would play a significant role in forming the next government in Goa. With Congress likely to get into an alliance with these parties, the power quotient in the state is as murky as it was before the counting of the votes.

It would be a total ignorance of what swings political parleys take if one is to assume that the regional outfits will not demand their pound of flesh over the matter of lending their support. And this time it is the CM’s chair that has become the bone of contention!

Even before the elections, with the MGP planning to go all alone by itself without any alliance with any party, it was believed that Sudin Dhavlikar of MGP would eye the CM’s post were he to lend his party’s support to any national dispensation staking its claim to form the government.

After retaining his seat with the highest margin of 13680 votes in the state, his claims cannot be ignored either!

Vijai Sardesai of Goa Forward party will once again relish his role as the King-maker. With his party opening the account with three of its members heading for the Assembly so far, he is destined to play a vital role in the ‘proceedings’.

Were the Congress to pacify them with equally good ‘adjustments’ in the government, retaining the CM’s chair for itself, an internal tussle in the party, with three of its stalwarts throwing their hats in the ring, is sure to create a piquant situation for the party.

As quite a few big names in the last government fall by the wayside and the last few results unfold towards the end of the counting, one can’t but be amused by the thought that it is not as much as to who forms the government in Goa, the Congress or the BJP, rather as to who actually ascends the throne, the high seat of power in the state!

The results finally portrayed a very dismal picture of the fractured mandate given by the Goan electorate. Out of the fourty constituencies contested, the INC won 17 seats, the BJP 13, MGP 3, NCP 1, Goa Forward 3 and 3 Independents. The AAP had a disastrous debut in the assembly elections in Goa.

Contrary to predictions, with the Congress emerging as the single largest party instead of the BJP in a hung verdict in Goa, hectic parleys and closed-door meetings taking place in various party headquarters, we are in for another couple of days’ delay before we actually know as to how the new ‘victors’ align themselves according to their ‘priorities’!

The BJP, after its outstanding performance in the last elections in the state, has gone with the wind this time around. Nonetheless, the congress or the BJP; both are now at the mercy of the ‘others’ faction.

Let us sincerely hope that last-minute discussions do not continue forever depriving us of a new government at the earliest!

#(Published on 13th March 2017, Volume XXIX, Issue 11)