New Delhi/Panaji: The Congress has emerged as the single-largest party in Goa after votes polled in the Assembly election were counted on Saturday. The party, however, may not get to form the government in the coastal state as the Nationalist Congress Party (one seat), the Maharashtrawadi Gomantak (3) and the Goa Forward Party (3) seem inclined to support the BJP.
Election results of the tiny state may also effect a change in the Modi cabinet with chorus for Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar's return to the state growing. Michael Lobo, who won from Calangute constituency, said BJP MLAs have passed a resolution seeking BJP chief Amit Shah's nod to elect Parrikar as the state legislature party leader.
Sources in the BJP told CNN-News18 that it has received support from the three parties. With seven seats from these three parties, the BJP, which won 13 seats, has 20 seats in hand. It will need the support of one of the three Independent MLAs to reach the majority mark of 21 in the 40-seat Assembly. Independent MLA Govind Gawade, who was backed by the party during the election from Priol constituency, is expected to back the BJP. The Congress has 17 seats.
Sources told CNN-News18 that the NCP, Maharashtrawadi Gomantak Party (MGP) and Goa Forward Party also want Parrikar back as Goa CM.
Outgoing CM Laxmikant Parsekar lost the election from Mandrem and had anyway not been projected as the CM face before elections. Party leaders had earlier indicated that Parrikar may return to Goa as the CM. The final call will be taken by the BJP's central leadership.
"The people want Parrikar to come back to Goa. Now it will depend on the Goa Forward Party and Maharashtrawadi Gomantak Party. If they support us, we will form the government in the state," BJP legislator Michael Lobo told reporters outside party headquarters in Panaji.
Another BJP legislator Pramod Sawant, who got re-elected from Sankhalim constituency on party ticket for the second time, said the state government under Parrikar's leadership can deliver better. "People have seen the kind of development that the state witnessed under his guidance. We do not want the state to suffer for next five years," PTI quoted Sawant as saying.
On Sunday, Congress leader Digvijaya Singh said he was confident of the numbers. "We are in touch with non-BJP MLAs," he said. He, however, added that his party was ready to sit in the Opposition and accused the BJP of indulging in horse-trading.
"Go ahead if you (BJP) have the support of more than 21 (MLAs). We are ready to sit in Opposition, but its a coup against people's mandate," he said.(With PTI inputs)