After the exit
polls predicted a hung Assembly in Goa, both the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)
and the Congress have actively started looking for post-poll alliance partners.
BJP leader and Goa chief minister Pramod Sawant was in Delhi Tuesday to meet Prime Minister
Narendra Modi in what media reports indicated was a bid to put together a plan
of action. Congress too has made it known that it is seeking anti-BJP partners
for a post-poll alliance.

Opoyi’s poll of
exit polls, an averaging out of the mid-point and range outcomes of all
published exit polls, predicts the BJP to win 15 to 18 seats, the Congress 14
to 18 seats, the Maharashtrawadi Gomantak Party (MGP) and the Trinamool
Congress alliance 2 to 4 seats. The Goa Assembly has 40 seats and a political
party or coalition needs 21 seats to secure a majority and form government.

Also Read | Goa: Hung house prediction puts BJP on prowl, Sawant eyes MGP alliance

Therefore, when
the final lines are drawn, it might well come down to the MGP-TMC coalition to
play kingmaker. In the event of a hung Assembly, it will set off political forces
difficult to predict. While anything can happen, echoes of how things turned
out in 2017 have begun to reverberate.

Congress leader
Rahul Gandhi, who has been haunted by how his party failed to form the
government despite securing 17 seats, has said that this time the grand old
party will remain vigilant in order to be able to mobilise resources.

Also Read | Goa Elections 2022: Can Pramod Sawant pass ‘Parrikar legacy’ test?

In the 2017
Assembly polls, BJP won 13 seats, the Congress 17. The Maharashtrawadi Gomantak
Party (MGP) and the Goa Forward Party (GFP) won 3 seats each. Vijay Sardesai’s
GFP was in talks with the Congress as part of a secret pact. However, internal resistance
within Congress, forced the party to file a candidate against the firebrand
leader. Angered, Sardesai lent support to BJP which proved critical in forming
the government.

Since the BJP
captured power in Goa, 20 out of the 40 MLAs in the Goa legislative Assembly
have either resigned or switched sides. In 2019, the Congress received a jolt
when 10 of its 17 elected MLAs jumped ship to the BJP on a single day. Going
into the polls, the single-largest party in 2017 had a combined strength of two.