After BJP registered a emphatic win in Uttar Pradesh and Uttarakhand, all eyes were on the other three states, namely Goa, Manipur and Punjab, where the saffron party’s performance was bereft of anything noticeable.
In Goa, where the party had won 28 out of 40 seats in 2012, it suffered a huge setback by only winning 13 seats this time with five out of eight BJP ministers including Chief Minister Laxmikant Parsekar losing their seats. That’s how unpopular the BJP government had become.
The anger against the BJP government was more than visible when I visited the state in January with people appearing determined to teach the saffron party a lesson for its failure to deliver its poll promises and a series of subsequent U-turns. Voters were also very upset with Manohar Parrikar, who after winning the assembly elections had left the state to become the defence minister in Narendra Modi’s government.
Parsekar lost his Mandrem seat to Congress’s Dayanand Sopte by more than 7,000 votes, which is a huge margin in light of Goa being a small and relatively less populated state.
Parsekar’s forest minister Rajendra Arlekar suffered a defeat at the hands of Maharashtrawadi Gomantak Party’s Manohar Asgaonkar in Pernem constituency by 6030 votes.
Water Resources Minister Dayanand Mandrekar was defeated by Goa Forward Party’s Vinod Palyekar by 1441 votes, while Tourism minister Dilip Parulekar lost his seat by over 2,000 votes to another candidate from Goa Forward Party, Jayesh Salgaokar.
In Siroda, Congress’s Subhash Sirodkar defeated Industries Minister Mahadev Naik by nearly 5,000 votes.
Ironically, two parties (Goa Forward and Maharashtrawadi Gomantak Party) who voters preferred over the BJP, have now gone to support the saffron party to form the government in the state.
Goa Forward Party is led by Vijai Sardesai, who was a senior functionary of Youth Congress before he formed his own regional outfit a year ago. His entire election campaign was based against BJP. Speaking to me in January, Sardesai, a popular leader from south Goa’s Fatorda area, had said that he had always been consistent in his opposition against the BJP.
He had told me, “Our principal opponent is the BJP. I’ve been steadfast and consistent in my opposition of the BJP for the last five years. It’s me and not the Congress, which fought them.(sic)” Watch the entire video below
Goa Forward Party’s president, Prabhakar Timble, rightly recognised the damage his party’s support to BJP would have caused to his reputation and resigned from his post. This was exclusively reported by Janta Ka Reporter on Sunday.
It’s ironic that Goa Forward Party, which went to elections dubbing Parrikar a man of U-turns and someone who had least respect for Goans, took just few hours to perform a spectacular U-turn of its own.
Timble, while exclusively speaking to me on Sunday morning, had said that the Governor ought to have invited Congress as the single largest party to form the government and prove majority in the assembly. But, the three elected MLAs went ahead and extended the support to the BJP without consulting him or the party’s executive committee.
Congress has alleged foul play and even exchange of money by the BJP in winning over the MLAs to form the government. In its defence, the saffron party has now claimed that the poll percentage and not the number of seats should matter in forming the government. At least that’s what the party’s spokesperson, GVL Narsimha Rao told the NDTV on Monday morning.
In Manipur too, the situation was no different. Congress won 28, while the BJP could only win 21 seats. In other words, Congress needed the support of just three more MLAs to form the government, while the BJP required 10 legislators to come on board.
Congress leaders said that the lone MLA from Trinamool Congress had already declared its support to the party while the negotiations were on with independent and National People’s Party MLAs.
But the BJP, with the support of the Naga People’s Front (4 seats), National People’s Party (4 seats) and one MLA each from independent and Lok Janashakti Party, is now set to form the government in this north-eastern state. There are also disturbing reports of the BJP allegedly attempting to woo Congress MLAs to betray their loyalty to their parent party and join the government.
Again, like Goa, the saffron party was accused of indulging in horse trading and intimidation by its political rivals even in Manipur to gain the support of the required MLAs.
Congress party has come under attack for not being nimble on its feet to secure the magical numbers in both the states. In its defence, the party says that it simply couldn’t match the BJP leaders’ ‘skills’ to intimidate and buy MLAs in a bid to form the government. Several Congress leaders told me in confidence that MLAs in both Goa and Manipur were threatened of dire consequences and blackmailed to come on board.
One senior Congress functionary close to the party’s top leadership said, “MLAs in Manipur in particular were warned that the Centre will freeze all funds for development projects if they didn’t assist the saffron party to form the government.”
Meanwhile, a video of late Pramod Mahajan, who held an important portfolio in Atal Bihari Vajpayee’s cabinet between 1999 and 2004, mocking India’s democracy for not allowing the single largest party to form the government, has gone viral now.
You can watch the video below.