SOIRU VELIP | NT
Panaji: The Bharatiya Janata Party has become the single largest party in the state legislative assembly by winning three out of four seats in the bypolls.
Though the BJP lost the prestigious Panaji seat, which was represented by former chief minister Manohar Parrikar for the last two-and-half decades, the bypoll mandate has boosted the stability of the Sawant government.
With the victory in three seats – Mandrem, Mapusa and Shiroda – the BJP tally in the state legislative assembly has gone up to 17.
Atanasio ‘Babush’ Monserrate of the Congress won the Panaji seat, increasing the party rally to 15.
Political observers said the landslide victory of the NDA at the Centre and the BJP victory in the three assembly seats have sent out a clear message: there will not be change in the state dispensation. Monserrate had asserted that there would be a Congress-led government in the state after May 23, claiming that the Goa Forward Party and the Independent legislators would switch to the Congress for forming a new government. Although Monserrate won the Panaji seat, it will not be possible for the Congress to bring down the Sawant-led coalition government at this juncture.
Reacting to the NDA victory at the Centre, Goa Forward Party chief and Deputy Chief Minister Vijai Sardesai tweeted that this was undoubtedly a positive victory for development.
He congratulated Prime Minister Narendra Modi and BJP president Amit Shah, and looked forward to work with the NDA to take Goa forward on the path of progress.
“May this historic win pave the way for even closer partnership between our parties in the state,” Sardesai said, indicating that his party will continue staying with the BJP government.
The victory in the bypolls has also endorsed the leadership of Pramod Sawant, who has been leading the coalition government in the state after the death of Manohar Parrikar.
The bypoll outcome has also minimised the importance of the alliance partners, besides sending a clear message to dissatisfied party MLAs that they should not take the party for granted.
The outcome of the bypoll in the Shiroda constituency where MGP president Pandurang ‘Dipak’ Dhavalikar lost the election by merely 76 votes astounded party legislator and former deputy chief minister Ramakrishna ‘Sudin’ Dhavalikar, who is now in Opposition.
Now, the BJP tally stands at 17, and the Sawant government’s strength has risen to 23 legislators with three GFP legislators and three Independents.
On the other hand, the Congress tally now stands at 15. NCP’s Churchill Alemao and MGP’s Dhavalikar are also on Opposition benches.