The Goa Assembly elections are likely to be a three-pronged fight with the ruling BJP, opposition Congress and new entrant AAP pitted against each other in the coastal state.
While the Manohar Parrikar-led BJP had won in the 2012 elections in alliance with Maharashtrawadi Gomantak Party (MGP), this time it has been abandoned by its political friends who have now ganged up against it.
Hence, the BJP has decided to go to the polls on its own for the Assembly elections scheduled to be held on February 4.
As per a recent announcement, the party will contest in 37 out of the total 40 seats. In the remaining three constituencies under Salcette taluka, which has a Catholic stronghold, it will support the Independents.
Departing from its 2012 strategy when it had announced Manohar Parrikar as the chief ministerial face before seeking votes, the BJP this time has said that the elected members will chose their leader.
Standing alone, the BJP has covered majority of the ground through its ‘Vijay Sankalp’ rallies, which have been addressed by Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar and Chief Minister Laxmikant Parsekar, in 35 constituencies of the state.
The BJP, which has seen steady growth in the coastal state, has its strength in the robust organisational set up which percolates to every booth level.
BJP Goa chief Vinay Tendulkar recently said that the party is confident of winning over 26 seats on its own.
“We are fighting this election on the plank of good governance and development. We have shown the people that BJP means development,” he said.
But according to political experts, it would have been an easy election for BJP if its ally MGP had not split with it and the medium of instruction issue had not given rise to another political outfit Goa Suraksha Manch (GSM) led by RSS rebel Subhash Velingkar.
The three pro-Hindutva outfits - MGP, GSM and Shiv Sena - may eat into the votes of BJP and are likely to give the ruling party a tough challenge in several constituencies.
MGP leader Sudin Dhavalikar is slated to be projected as the chief ministerial candidate by these parties, which are likely to tie-up soon. The MGP split with the BJP on January 5, a day after election dates were announced.
Dhavalikar has exuded confidence that his party will form government in Goa, in alliance with GSM and Shiv Sena.
“BJP will be wiped out from the state. For the 2012 elections, majority of the seats were won by BJP with the support of MGP. BJP would not have won 21 seats on their own without MGP,” he claimed recently.