Counting of votes
is underway in Goa, India’s smallest state, on Thursday. The 40-seat Goa
Assembly is expected to see a close contest. According to exit polls, the
Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) is predicted to win 15 to 18 seats and the
Congress 14 to 18. With 21 seats required for majority, Goa is anyone’s game. On
the very same day, the Congress’ Goa unit approached the Supreme Court over the
defection of 10 MLAs to the BJP in 2017.
In the 2017
Assembly elections in Goa, the Congress won 17 seats and the BJP 13. The
support of independents allowed BJP to get enough seats to form a majority.
However, later on, 10 MLAs from the Congress defected to the BJP in the first
wave and later more people resigned. From 17 seats in the Assembly, the
Congress only had two MLAs at the end of the term.
request for disqualification of the MLAs who had defected was rejected by the Speaker
as two-thirds of the MLAs had merged with the BJP. The decision of the Speaker
was to reject Congress’ request was also upheld by the Bombay High Court. With
a new Assembly set to come together in the next couple of days, this petition
does not influence anything. The purpose of going to the Supreme Court is deter
MLAs from going to the BJP.
Even before counting
of votes began, the Congress sought an appointment with Goa Governor PS
Sreedharan Pillai at 3pm Thursday, an appointment likely to be a bid to form
the government. No appointment has been given so far, reports NDTV. Sources in
the Congress were quoted saying they are confident of a majority.
The grand old party is
being extremely vigilant about the Goa election results. The party has reached
out to the Maharashtrawadi Gomantak Party (MGP) as well as the Trinamool
Congress (TMC) and the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP), all expected to win crucial seats
which might decide the fate of Goa.