The Bharatiya Janata Party on Saturday suffered acute reverses in Goa where it won only 13 seats in the 40-member house as the poll results threw a hung assembly with the opposition Congress emerging as the single largest party with 17 seats.
The Maharashtrawadi Gomantak Party, the Goa Forward Party and the independents won three each while the Nationalist Congress Party bagged one seat. The majority mark is 21.
Chief Minister Laxmikant Parsekar, who bit the dust in Mandrem, submitted his resignation to Governor Mridula Sinha after his party finished way behind the simple majority needed to form the government.
The Congress, which had nine seats in the outgoing House, steeply increased its tally to 17, besides ensuring the victory of a party-backed independent candidate.
Four former Congress chief ministers -- Digambar Kamat, Pratapsinh Rane, Ravi Naik and Luiznho Falerio -- emerged victorious in the polls.
Besides the humiliating defeat of Parsekar, who lost by over 7,000 votes, six BJP ministers too fell by the wayside.
The verdict would give smaller parties like the newly formed Goa Forward Party and the MGP a role in the government formation.
The poor show of the BJP, which had won 21 seats last time, is also seen as a setback for Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar, who had led the campaign from the front, fuelling speculations that he may return to his home state as chief minister.
The Aam Aadmi Party, which had hit the state with fanfare, too drew a blank.
The MGP, which had pulled out of the BJP-led coalition just before the February 4 polls, formed an alliance with the Shiv Sena and the Goa Suraksha Manch, floated by Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh rebel Subhash Velingkar.
The other two parties, however, failed to open their accounts.
The Congress sources said as the single largest party, it would stake claim to form the next government and was confident of getting the support from independents and others.
Shortly after the results were out, Parrikar said the BJP remains in the race for forming the government.
“In the situation of a fractured mandate, everyone is in the run to form the government. We are also there. If the BJP acts like a core group and brings together smaller parties, we can still give a stable government,” he said.
Apart from the anti-incumbency mood, it is believed that floating of GSM by Velingkar and pulling out of the MGP from the ruling alliance contributed to the BJP’s defeat.
Meanwhile, after submitting his resignation, Parsekar said the people of Goa will repent for the next five years for giving a fractured mandate.
“I don’t know why there was such a result. People have given a fractured mandate and I feel they have committed a mistake. They will rue it for the next five years,” Parsekar told reporters.
All India Congress Committee general secretary in-charge of Goa Digvijay Singh said the Congress will seek support of like-minded parties to form the next government.
“We will not mind approaching like-minded parties such as Goa Forward Party to form the next government,” he told reporters.
Out of the 13 BJP winners, seven are from the Catholic community which has a large presence in the coastal state.
Photograph: PTI Photo