Goa Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar on Monday said the BJP’s victory in the two bypolls in the state will provide “moral strength” to the party-led ruling coalition. He said the results also negate the perception in certain quarters that the BJP went against the mandate of the February assembly polls and formed the government under him. The party retained the Panaji seat and wrested Valpoi from the Congress with comfortable margins. Parrikar himself emerged victorious from Panaji, while his Cabinet colleague Vishwajit Rane romped home in Valpoi.
“This is an endorsement of the government and the party candidates,” the chief minister said, addressing a press conference after the results were announced this morning.
Parrikar said the strength of the ruling coalition has now gone up to 23, which is a comfortable majority in the 40-member assembly.
To a query, the IIT engineer-turned-politician said, “The ruling coalition is a happy family of 23 members and (we) do not want anyone for the next five years.”
“In a democracy, numbers count and right now the ruling coalition has 23 members … which gives moral strength to the state government,” he said.
The CM said the victories were on the expected lines.
Parrikar alleged “certain sections” tried to create communal discord ahead of the August 23 bypolls and the opposition targeted him and Rane.
“But people thwarted all such attempts,” he said.
Asked whether the results were a referendum on his nearly six-month-old government, Parrikar replied in the affirmative.
There were allegations by the opposition that we formed the government without having a mandate. The current results are a reply to them, the chief minister said.
In the February polls, the Congress had emerged as the single largest party.
However, the BJP, which had won fewer seats than the Congress, formed the new government by quickly stitching up a coalition with support from the Goa Forward Party, the MGP and all the three Independents who won the polls.
Parrikar said he never predicted any particular margin but was confident of a victory.
“I had never predicted the (victory) margin. I had always said I will win with a comfortable margin. I got 64 per cent of the votes polled and my opponent got 33 per cent.”
The chief minister defeated his nearest rival, Congress’s Girish Chodankar, by 4,803 votes.
Parrikar assumed office in March after resigning as defence minister. When he took charge, he was not an MLA and hence had to get elected to the assembly within six months to continue in the office.
His party colleague Siddharth Kuncolienkar, who was elected from Panaji in the February polls, had vacated the seat for Parrikar.