Goa Exit Poll Results 2017: BJP likely to form new govt, may not reach majority mark of 21 seats

Pollsters seem to be divided over the election outcome in Goa. While the India Today-My Axis Poll predicts a clear majority for BJP, the Huffpost-CVoter predicts a hung Assembly.

FP Politics March 09, 2017 19:29:43 IST
Goa Exit Poll Results 2017: BJP likely to form new govt, may not reach majority mark of 21 seats

The exit polls released on Thursday projected a win for BJP in the 40-seat Goa Assembly. The exit polls put Congress in the second lead and predicted that the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) might not repeat its Delhi success in Goa.

Three exit polls Axis My India, C-Voter and MRC have given the BJP an edge over its competitors. The party is likely to win 15 to 22 seats, followed by Congress. MRC predicts 15 seats for BJP, 10 for Congress and AAP seven. Meanwhile, C-voter predicts that BJP may retain Goa with 18 seats and Congress may gain six seats. AAP which is making its debut in Goa might just end up only two seats. C-Voter exit poll predicts that BJP would be the single largest party in Goa.

Political commentator Ajay Jha tells Firstpost that based on the exit polls, BJP may form the new government but may not hit the majority mark of 21 seats. "Goa could be headed for a hung Assembly in which smaller parties could come into the picture. Congress winning the maximum 18 seats may open intense efforts and bargaining. As of now it is clear that AAP’s attempts to extend its 2014 Delhi experiment may have failed in Goa," he says. The smaller parties and the Independents are likely to be the kingmakers.

Goa Exit Poll Results 2017 BJP likely to form new govt may not reach majority mark of 21 seats

Opinion polls like India Today-My Axis Poll predicts a clear majority for BJP and the Huffpost-CVoter projected a hung Assembly.

India Today-My Axis survey

According to the India Today-My Axis Poll, the incumbent BJP is expected to win between 23 and 27 seats, while the Congress will win just 12 to 14 seats.

However, it is bad news for the debutant Aam Aadmi Party (AAP), which the poll predicts won't win more than two seats.

The main reason for BJP retaining the tourist state can be attributed to the split in anti-incumbency votes.

The poll also sought to know people's choice for the post of chief minister of Goa.

Around 35 percent of the total respondents wanted Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar back as the chief minister.

Former chief minister Digambar Kamat came a distant second, with 16 percent of the respondents wanting him to serve a second term. Incumbent Laxmikant Parsekar came third with 15 percent.

While Parsekar might not have been a popular chief ministerial choice, people seem to have a high level of satisfaction with his government's performance.

Goa Exit Poll Results 2017 BJP likely to form new govt may not reach majority mark of 21 seats

Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar is the most popular choice for CM. PTI

Around 53 percent of the total respondents were reported to have expressed satisfaction with government's performance while only 44 percent of the respondents were unhappy with the saffron party's regime.

If this poll mirrors the actual results on 11 March, then it is good news for the BJP.

Huffpost-CVoter poll

The poll predicts a hung Assembly in the state. While the Congress is expected to be the single largest party with 16 seats, the BJP is a close second with 15 seats.

The "others" seem to make a considerable dent in the prospects of the two major parties. This category, which includes the AAP and the Maharashtravadi Gomantak Party-led mahayuti, is expected to grab eight seats in the 40-member Assembly.

The vote share that the parties are expected to garner also tells a story.

While the BJP is predicted to be the largest party by vote share with 31 percent of the total votes, the Congress, which the poll predicts will win the most seats, is a distant second with 26 percent vote share. The "others" play a spoilsport, dividing the anti-incumbency votes yet contributing to a hung Assembly.

These parties are expected to grab at least 30 percent of the vote pie.

However, only 11 March will let us know if any of these pre-poll surveys hold true or are we in for some electoral surprises.

With only a few days left for the counting, here's a recap of what has unfolded in the last two months.

Political dynamics

The voting for the Goa Assembly Election 2017 concluded on 4 February. According to the Election Commission's estimates, 83 percent of Goa’s registered 11.09 lakh votes exercised their right. But a high voter turnout does not indicate a clear anti-incumbency wave. In this multi-pronged fight, there is a possibility that BJP could emerge as the single largest party in a hung Assembly, as Ajay Jha pointed out in this piece.

Apart from the ruling BJP and main Opposition party Congress, Maharashtrawadi Gomantak Party (MGP), Shiv Sena and the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) are in the fray. The RSS’ breakaway faction Goa Suraksha Manch (GSM) and Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) made their debut in this election. While GSM could emerge as the kingmaker, AAP is touted to be the dark horse in the race.

Though the BJP seems to be confident of coming back to power, who will be the chief minister remains to be the big question. Laxmikant Parsekar, who holds the chief minister’s office, was sidelined with Union minister and former chief minister of Goa Manohar Parrikar spearheading the party’s election campaign in the state. The party bigwigs also remained vague on Parrikar’s return to the state.

“(Prime Minister) Narendrabhai (Modi) needs him (Parrikar) at the Centre as well. We will decide after elections where Parrikar will be working. But let me assure you that wherever Parrikar may be working, the Goa government will function under his leadership," said BJP president Amit Shah during one of the election rallies.

After running a poll campaign against the BJP and the incumbent government, RSS breakaway group GSM dissolved the rebel unit and announced their collective re-entry back into the Sangh. Velingkar also said that all the members of the RSS, who had stepped out of the organisation with him, would be rejoining the shakhas and continue their work as the volunteers of the Sangh.

The GSM had got in an alliance with BJP’s long-time ally MGP and the Shiv Sena. It remains to be seen whether these three parties will get into an alliance with the BJP if it emerges as the single largest party.

Both the Congress and the BJP claimed victory with a comfortable majority ahead of the counting of votes on 11 March. BJP state unit president Vinay Tendulkar said, "The BJP is sure to win 22-23 seats." Even Congress president Luizinho Faleiro claimed, “We are expecting 23 to 25 seats. We should have the majority this time. I know that many, including some of our senior leaders, were saying that the Congress will not get more than three seats. The situation is now from minus to plus."

Faleiro also said that the Congress was open to support from leaders of other political parties and independent candidates.

Meanwhile, the AAP which made its debut in the state is expected to take votes from both the Congress and the BJP. David Davidas writes for Firstpost: This much is certain: AAP is the only party that has positive support across large parts of Goa — particularly along the relatively heavily populated coastal belt. Most observers, even among AAP activists, say their support is the greatest in the Christian-dominated Salcete belt in south Goa. However, several Christians and others in north Goa areas like Mapusa too are drawn towards AAP.

Key candidates and constituencies

Party Candidate Constituency
BJP Laxmikant Parsekar Mandrem
BJP Rajendra Arlekar Pernem
BJP Franciso D'Souza Mapusa
BJP Dilip Parulekar Saligao
BJP Milind Sagun Naik Mormugao
BJP Mauvin Heliodoro Godinho Dabolim
BJP Alina Saldanha Cortalim
BJP Subhash Alias Rajan K. Naik Cuncolim
INC Nilkanth Ramnath Halarnkar Tivim
INC Pratapsingh R Rane Poriem
INC Vishwajit Pratapsingh Rane Valpoi
INC Ravi Sitaram Naik Ponda
INC Digambar Vasant Kamat Margao
INC Luizinho Faleiro Navelim
NCP Churchill Alemao Benaulim
MGP Pandurang Alias Deepak Madhav Dhavalikar Priol
MGP Ramkrishna Alias Sudin Dhavalikar Marcaim
AAP Devendra Krishnaji Prabhu Parsekar Desai Mandrem
AAP Elvis Gomes Cuncolim
AAP Sandesh Telekar Canacona
AAP Giovanni Karl Vaz Mormugao
AAP Valmiki Naik Panaji
AAP Olencio Simoes Cortalim
AAP Santosh Raiturkar Margao

The tiny tourist haven of Goa — 40 Assembly seats —  seems to be moving towards a multi-pronged fight.

A study of the results of the 2012 Goa Assembly Election showed that in four of the 40 assembly constituencies, candidates won by a margin of less than a thousand votes with the narrowest margin being less than 500 votes in the Sanguem constituency.

After a direct BJP versus Congress fight in the previous two Assembly elections, the 2017 polls witnessed a multi-pronged contest. For the first time since 2007, neither Congress nor BJP have gone in for an alliance with smaller parties. With AAP adding flavour to the polling season, it could indeed be anybody’s game.

Coming to the key candidates, all eyes are on the incumbent chief minister Laxmikant Parsekar. The three-term MLA from Mandrem is leading the ruling BJP's charge. This election will be a test for Parsekar to come out of Parrikar's shadow and become a leader in his own right.

Also, in the fray is Subhash Velingkar. The Goa state RSS chief until August 2016, Velingkar was sacked over his opposition to BJP's stance over regional language issue. After splitting from the RSS, he formed the GSM to fight his former party. The GSM has tied up with the MGP, Shiv Sena and Goa Praja Party. According to the latest reports, however, they dissolved the rebel unit and announced their collective re-entry back into the RSS.

Elvis Gomes, the former civil servant-turned-politician joined the AAP after taking voluntary retirement in July 2016. Fifty-three year-old Gomes was named the party's chief ministerial candidate by supremo Arvind Kejriwal and is set to fight from South Goa's Cuncolim seat.

From the Congress campaign, there is state unit president and two time chief minister Luizinho Faleiro and Digambar Kamat who was the chief minister of the state between 2007 and 2012. While Faleiro is said to be close to Sonia Gandhi, Kamat, on the other hand, is considered to be enjoying the confidence of the Leader of Opposition in the outgoing Assembly, Vishwajit Rane.

(With inputs from agencies)

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