Is Goa headed for a hung assembly after BJP and Congress' neck and neck battle?

Asmita Sarkar
Is Goa headed for a hung assembly after BJP and Congress' neck and neck battle?

Goa seems to be headed for a hung assembly with the Bharatiya Janata Party winning 12 seats and Congress winning 14 seats. The BJP is poised to win 13, while the Congress could win 17 if its four leads convert to wins. Goa Chief Minister Laxmikant Parsekar resigned on Saturday.

In such a situation, regional parties like Goa Forward Party, Maharashtrawadi Gomantak (MGP) and independent candidates will be the kingmakers in the state.

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Prior to Manohar Parrikar winning the 2012 Assembly election, Congress had been in power for three terms with a small period under President's rule.

Goa, which has a strong RSS/BJP following, has done much worse than 2012. It had crossed the half-way mark when it allied with MGP. However, BJP's break from MGP has affected the party adversely in the state.

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BJP chief Amit Shah said on Saturday that they would be forming the government in four states, but that dream seems to be an uphill task in the smaller states of Goa and Manipur. Goa is divided over the two national parties as is Manipur.

BJP's conservatism in Goa, a popular tourist destination, where excise laws are lax had been leaning towards conservative laws. In December 2016, reports said that drinking in public places would be banned.

A state that runs because of its tourism and the many kinds of entertainment, like gambling, fests and parties, it provides would have been hit hard if there were tighter controls of alcohol. In 2016, huge crowd-puller festivals like Sunburn and Supersonic also chose to move out of the state due to the state's law that only one festival would be held in the holiday season.

Apart from the economic concerns, people could simply be riding an anti-incumbency wave.

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