UP AND Uttarakhand have voted decisively for the BJP, and Punjab has gone with the Congress, but the assembly election narrative in the two other states — Manipur and Goa — is far from over. In Manipur, the Congress emerged as the single largest party with 28 of 60 seats. But the results presented a clear verdict against the party’s incumbent and three-time Chief Minister Okram Ibobi Singh, as the BJP opened its account on its own in style, with 21 seats.
In Goa, the electorate appeared to endorse the Congress, which claimed 17 of the 40 seats, pushing the ruling BJP to second with 13, and Chief Minister Laxmikant Parsekar losing from Mandrem. Dr A Chella Kumar, who charted the Congress campaign along with party state chief Luizinho Faleiro, said, “The Congress is forming the government in Goa. We are safe.”
Manipur: The BJP surge
The BJP tally of 21 indicates that the party has established a strong presence, setting the stage for a bigger push in the 2019 general elections. In the outgoing assembly, the BJP had two MLAs, both of whom had crossed over after winning on Trinamool Congress tickets. BJP leaders are now hoping that it will find allies among the 10 winners from smaller parties.
The Congress is in a tight spot even though the Trinamool Congress, which won one seat, has offered support. The Naga People’s Front, which won four seats, is an ally of the BJP. The LJP, too, has won a seat and is part of the NDA. The National People’s Party has won four and then, there is an Independent.
Sources said AICC general secretary in charge of Manipur C P Joshi and AICC observer Ramesh Chennithala would be in Manipur Sunday. Joshi said the Congress will stake claim to form the government since it is the single largest party. Sources said the party has already established contact with some of the BJP MLAs who are “Congress turncoats”. “Let us see how many we can win back,” said a Congress leader.
Goa: Congress has edge
The first indication of the BJP losing was evident one hour into counting, when Chief Minister Parsekar trailed Dayanand Sopte of the Congress. And, with AAP drawing a blank, the fractured verdict has put the focus on peripheral entities, such as Maharashtrawadi Gomantak Party (MGP) and Goa Forward, with three seats each, and the NCP, with one.
Goa Forward and the NCP are likely to back a Congress government — two of the three Goa Forward MLAs are former Congressmen. Besides, an independent backed by the Congress, Rohan Khaunte, has won from Porvorim.
Congress sources said the AICC general secretary in charge of Goa, Digvijaya Singh, is in touch with the leaders of the MGP, too — it was part of the BJP-led government before walking out of its alliance just before the elections.
While negotiations are on to secure the numbers, sources said a tussle has already begun for the chief minister’s post among former chief minister Digambar Kamat, state chief Faleiro and veteran Pratapsingh Rane.