BJP, Congress in tight race as Goa braces for hectic political parleys

Panaji, March 9 (IANS) With most exit polls predicting a tough fight between the ruling BJP and the Congress in Goa, the coastal state is bracing for yet another spell of hectic political parleys, with votes polled in the February 14 Assembly elections scheduled to be counted on Thursday.
With the polling authorities in the state saying that the results may be out as early as 11 a.m., the two main political parties are already reaching out to all possible quarters for support, in case they fall short of numbers.
For the record, while both the BJP and the Congress have expressed confidence of winning a majority, leaders of both parties have started back channel talks with potential allies in case they fall short of the majority mark.
“The Congress will win a majority on its own, and we have already reached out to non-BJP parties as well as Independent candidates to join our government formation efforts, because we truly want the new government to belong to the people of Goa,” state Congress President Girish Chodankar told reporters.
The Congress has started talks with the leaders of Trinamool Congress, Maharashtrawadi Gomantak Party, Aam Aadmi Party and several Independent candidates for support in its government formation efforts.
The BJP has also expressed confidence of winning a majority, but its party leaders, including former Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis, are reaching out to “natural ally” MGP for support.
The MGP, which exit pollsters claimed could emerge as the kingmaker in the Goa number game, has been in ruling alliances with both the Congress and the BJP in the past.
The party was split by the BJP in 2019 before its senior leader Sudin Dhavalikar, a Deputy Chief Minister in Chief Minister Pramod Sawant’s cabinet, was sacked.
Dhavalikar, however, said that the MGP is in touch with both the Congress as well as the BJP leadership.
“I have met P. Chidambaram and Dinesh Gundu Rao. We discussed various issues. We will be having further discussions with our candidates, after which we will meet Trinamool leaders and take a final decision. If BJP calls us, we will go to meet them too,” Dhavalikar said.
While Chidambaram is the Congress’ senior observer for the Goa polls, Gundu Rao is the party’s secretary in-charge for Goa affairs.
The MGP has contested the polls in alliance with the Trinamool Congress. The AAP is contesting the polls on its own, fielding candidates in 39 out of the 40 Assembly constituencies.
In all, 301 candidates are in the fray.

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