Post Parrikar's Demise, Power In Goa Is Anybody's Game

Pandemonium is likely to prevail in the 40-member Goa assembly post the demise of CM Manohar Parrikar.
April 12, 2016. Photo by US Department of Defence

The death of Goa Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar on March 17, 2019 has left a huge leadership void in the state. Parrikar was the adhesive keeping the Bharatiya Janata Party and its allies together, and his absence has sparked a political slug-fest.

The Congress has already staked claim to form the government to Governor Mridula Sinha, and the current BJP allies are non-committal on continuing their support to the BJP in Parrikar's absence.

BOOM looked at all the changes between the composition of the Goa assembly at the culmination of the latest assembly election in the state in 2017 till now, as players in the state rush to grab the leadership space.

Assembly Results 2017: A Hung House

The Goa state elections in March 2017 saw a hung assembly with the Congress as the single largest party, with 17 out of 40 seats. The BJP emerged with the 13 seats, thus witnessing local outfits, the Maharashtrawadi Gomantak Party (MGP), the Goa Forward Party (GFP) and independents (IND) become kingmakers in the state with 9 seats collectively between them.

In 2017, the BJP actually lost 8 seats relative to its holdings in the previous Goa assembly, where it had 21 seats and was able to rule on its own.

Both the GFP and the MGP did not go with the BJP as allies at the onset of the election as pre-poll allies. While the GFP ran with the explicit agenda to keep the BJP out of the state, the MGP broke away from the BJP and contested the assembly elections in alliance with the Shiv Sena and the Goa Suraksha Manch.

However, immediately after the results were declared, the BJP managed to cobble up an alliance of the GFP, MGP and independents; steering the BJP-led alliance to 22 seats and preventing the Congress-NCP collective with 18 seats from coming power even though their alliance emerged as the largest one.

The GFP and the MGP joined the BJP in alliance with one condition - that Manohar Parrikar - then Union defence minister - should be the chief minister of the state. The governor then invited Parrikar to form the government, and he proved his majority and has been Goa's CM since then.

Parties' demand of Parrikar being CM in exchange for support to the BJP and their stances during the election can be read here.

Since Parrikar was an a non-MLA, he was elected to the Goa assembly from the state constituency of Panaji in August 2018, as he was constitutionally required to do.

The Goa Assembly: The Schismatic Present

However, the Goa assembly now stands with four vacant assembly seats, including the Panaji constituency occupied by Parrikar.

The BJP gained from a defection from the Congress, when Congress leader and then MLA from Valpoi Vishwajit Rane defected to the BJP, and was re-elected from the BJP from the same seat.

Post-Parrikar, anybody has a chance to form the government in Goa. The Congress is likely to go all out to avenge their denial of power in 2017 and take advantage of their numbers and form the government in this vacuum.

The seats of Mandrem, Mapusa and Shiroda are to go the polls with Goa on April 23, when the state will vote to elect two MPs from the state in the forthcoming Lok Sabha election. These vacancies are part of the 34 vacancies in assemblies across India that are scheduled to go simultaneously to the polls with the Lok Sabha elections.

The forthcoming by-elections to these seats has the power to tilt the balance of power in anybody's hands.

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