The BJP leads in 19 seats in Goa, as of 2:45 PM. With a clear majority mark, 21 seats, yet to be reached, the party will need support from independent candidates and/or other parties, which it says it will receive from independent candidates. 

The BJP will meet Governor P S Sreedharan Pillai and stake claim to form government on Thursday evening, a senior party leader said, as per PTI

The BJP’s legislature wing will meet around 4 PM in the state capital Panaji during which the group leader would be decided, a senior party leader said.

“After that, the party will stake claim to form the next government,” he said.

The BJP has said that three independents, who are currently leading in their respective constituencies, are in touch with the party. Dr Chandrakant Shetye, the independent candidate who won from Bicholim Assembly constituency, met Chief Minister Pramod Sawant after the announcement of his victory, the party leader said.

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The BJP flipped Congress’ lead in the first hour of counting. The Digambar Kamat-led camp is ahead in 12 constituencies in Goa, as of 1 PM. The TMC+ and AAP are ahead in four and three seats respectively. 

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On the eve of counting, BJP in-charge in Goa Devendra Fadnavis described the MGP as a natural ally. 

Congress too had reached out to the MGP, TMC and AAP – all parties expected to win crucial seats in Goa. On the day of the counting, the party had approached the Supreme Court over the defection of 10 MLAs to the BJP in 2017.

BJP leaders will meet Goa Governor P.S.Sreedharan Pillai on Thursday to stake claim for government formation in the state, ANI reported. 

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Pramod Sawant won the election from his traditional Sanquelim Assembly constituency, while health minister Vishwajit Rane, a prominent contender for the CM’s post, was leading in Valpoi constituency.

After the 2017 elections, Congress failed to form government despite emerging as the single largest party.

The BJP won 13 seats in 2017 elections. Its strength went up to 27 after Congress MLAs quit and joined it. Nine BJP MLAs left ahead of last month’s Assembly election, leaving BJP’s strength in the outgoing Assembly at 18.

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The Congress won 17 seats in 2017 elections. The party’s tally went down to five after its MLAs quit and joined BJP. Three Congress MLAs left the party ahead of last month’s elections, further depleting the party strength in the outgoing Assembly to two.

Exit poll predictions of a hung house sent the Congress into hiding as votes are counted today in elections to Goa’s 40-seat assembly. 

 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.

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Goa Congress, early Thursday, asked for an appointment from the governor before counting started, NDTV reported, citing sources. 

Goa went to polls on February 14, in a single phase, and recorded a voter turnout of 75.29%.