The Goa Congress, early Thursday, asked for a meeting with the Governor PS Sreedharan Pillai before the counting started, NDTV reported citing party sources. 

Congress leaders have asked for an appointment for 3 PM. However, no appointment has been given yet, the sources added. 

Congress, as per the report, said that the party is confident of a majority and is learning from mistakes made in the 2017 election. 

In 2017, the Congress was the biggest party, with 17 seats, but failed to get the support it needed to make 21, felled by infighting in its ranks and a smooth operation by the BJP to quickly gather support from regional parties and independents and stake claim to form government.

On Tuesday evening, all 37 Congress candidates moved with luggage into a resort in north Goa’s Bambolim. The Congress has called it a birthday party for its leader Digambar Kamat, but it is a thinly disguised move to sequester its potential new MPs to ensure there is no poaching by the BJP in case no party gets a majority.

Also read: Goa election results 2022: Counting of votes begins

Counting of votes polled in the February 14 Assembly elections in Goa began on Thursday morning in the coastal state, where the ruling BJP is seeking a third straight term in power, while the opposition Congress is hoping for a clear mandate to avoid the fiasco of 2017.

Counting got underway at 8 am at Government Polytechnic at Altinho in Panaji for 19 Assembly constituencies in North Goa and at Damodar College in Margao town for 21 seats in South Goa, an official said.

Altogether 302 candidates contested the elections which saw multi-cornered fights due to presence of many smaller and regional outfits besides the BJP and the Congress, the two major political forces in Goa.

The voter turnout was 79%.

Most exit polls have predicted a hung House, amid talk of various post-result scenarios.

Also read: Congress gathers candidates at resort amid hung Goa assembly predictions

A party or coalition needs 21 seats to form the government in Goa. Earlier this week, Opoyi’s poll of polls – based on an average of 10 exit polls – predicted a dead heat. It showed the BJP winning between 15 to 18 seats in the Goa Assembly and the Congress, between 14 to 18.

Double COVID-19 vaccination certificate has been made compulsory for entering counting centres, where three layers of security are in place.

Elaborate arrangements have been made at both the counting centres and all the results are expected around noon, the official said, adding anyone eligible to enter will have to carry either a negative RT-PCR certificate or double vaccination proof.

Besides BJP and Congress, Goa Forward Party, Maharashtrawadi Gomantak Party, Aam Aadmi Party and Trinamool Congress apart from independents contested the polls.

Also read: Who is Colonel Ajay Kothiyal?

In the 2017 Assembly polls, despite winning 17 seats, the Congress could not come to power as the BJP, which had bagged 13 seats, allied with some independents and regional parties to form the government under the leadership of Manohar Parrikar.