Manohar Parrikar's Panaji bypoll win adds strength to BJP in Goa
The ruling BJP won both assembly seats of Valpoi and Panaji in Goa to take the party's strength to 14 in the Goa assembly. Out of the 40-seat assembly, the BJP along with its coalition partners has a comfortable 24 seats. Monday's bypoll result has added more strength and stability to the coalition government in Goa.
BJP's massive victory in both assembly constituencies came as a loss of face for the Congress that banked on "BJP stole the mandate" narrative. The sympathy card neither ensured a victory for the Congress nor dented the BJP's vote share in either constituency. Manohar Parrikar won with a margin of 4,803 votes i.e., 63.47 per cent of the total votes polled in the bypoll. The Congress barely managed half of Parrikar's vote share with 32.56 per cent.
Vishwajith Rane's victory in Valpoi also came as a drubbing for the Congress. The former Congress leader who quit the party and joined the BJP registered a thumping victory despite the Congress going all out to defeat him. Rane won with a massive margin of 10,066 and trumped Congress' Roy Naik. Now the BJP's strength in the Goa assembly stands at 14 as against the Congress' 16.
BJP more stable in Goa now
Despite Panaji being an assured seat for the BJP, it was crucial given the political developments in the aftermath of the 2017 assembly elections. Despite managing to win 17 seats, the Congress lost out on the opportunity to form a government with independents as well as other parties like Maharashtravadi Gomantak Party and Goa Forward Party choosing to align with the BJP. Its leaders then, quit the party bringing down the number to 16.
Parrikar's win just made BJP stronger in Goa assembly and has given it more bargaining power in the long term. With the wins, the BJP has just made it more difficult for the Congress if it had many plans of derailing the government. The results also depict the mood of the people that there is no anti-incumbency and Congress' claims of 'BJP stealing the mandate' does not appeal to the voters.
In the 2012 assembly elections, Parrikar had won from the same seat with a margin of over 6,000 votes. Not much has changed today. For Rane however, the results come as vindication and a personal success. He does not need the Congress' backing to win an election and can do so on his own irrespective of the party. Neither the BJP nor Manohar Parrikar has lost the sway over Panaji, neither has Rane lost his foothold in Valpoi.