Panaji: The BJP crossed the half-way mark in Goa on Tuesday, winning 20 seats and leading in 3 others. Goa BJP leader Manohar Parrikar declared jubilantly that he will most likely be the next chief minister of the state. He added, "I have given a time schedule which I will follow. In the budget, we will make announcements like petrol VAT and inflation."
He further said, "The Congress has been punished in Goa. I am proud of the fact that I got support from Hindus, Muslims and Christians alike. They have voted to save Goa."
The Congress has so far managed to win 8 seats.
The United Goan Democratic Party (UGDP), meanwhile, has won 2 seats, and the Independents have bagged 5 seats.
BJP President Nitin Gadkari said at a press conference in Delhi that "even minorities" had voted in favour of the party.
Meanwhile, Congress spokesperson Abhishek Manu Singhvi said that the "illegal mining factor" seemed to have turned the tide in the BJP's favour.
Congratulating Parrikar, Singhvi said, "We will introspect deeply and will have an inquiry."
BJP leaders who won included Ganesh Gaonkar from Sanvordem, Mahadev Naik from Siroda, Kiran Kandolkar from Tivim and Anant Shet from Maem. Ramesh Tawadkar and Nilesh Cabral are other party leaders leading from their respective constituencies.
BJP managed to gain seats in most of the Congress dominated constituencies like Aldona, Calangute, Sanvordem, Tivim, Vasco, Cotalim, Curchorem and others. BJP is leading in another 7 constituencies including the seat of the Leader of Opposition in the Assembly, Manohar Parrikar in Panaji. Parrikar is leading by almost 4,000 votes against Congress Yatin Parekh.
Congress has till now got victory in four constituencies including its senior leader Pratapsingh Rane in Poriem and Atanasio Monserratte in St Cruz constituency. Congress is trailing in about 8 seats, managing to win only in four seats. Congress heavyweights Ravi Nayak and Pratap Singh Rane are leading in Ponda and Poriem seats respectively.
Chief Minister Digamber Kamat is leading from Margao constituency by 1,300 votes. The Congress in Goa is suffering a major embarrassment after all its major leaders suffered a defeat.The 'family raj' seems to have worked against the party as three of the candidates from Alemao family - Churchil Aleamo (Navelim), his bother Joaquim (Cuncolim) and daughter Valanka suffered defeat in Benaulim. Similarly, Congress MLA Pandurang Madkaikar's brother Daku Madkaikar contesting from Priol also suffered defeat at the hands of MGP. A total of three independent candidates have won while Goa Vikas Party has won two seats.
MGP President Dipak Dhavalikar said the combination will stake claim to form the government. "We will form the government in the next two days," he said, adding BJP's Parrikar is the preferred chief ministerial candidate.
With additional information from PTI