NEW DELHI: The results of the Goa assembly polls, where the BJP emerged as the single largest party by winning 20 out of 40 seats, showed that in 10 constituencies, the victory margin remained in the range of as low as 76 to 716, the Election Commission data has revealed.
The victory margin remained below the 100-mark in two of these constituencies in the coastal state, where the assembly polls were held on February 14 and the results were declared on Thursday.
The lowest victory margin of 76 was recorded in St Andre constituency in North Goa, where Revolutionary Goans Party (RGP), a new political outfit in the state, made its debut by defeating BJP candidate and sitting MLA Francis Silveira. RGP candidate Viresh Borkar won the contest.
Ponda assembly segment witnessed a close fight between BJP’s Ravi Naik and Maharashtrawadi Gomantak Party (MGP) candidate Dr Ketan Bhatikar. While initial results had announced Dr Bhatikar was the winner, the recounting of the votes turned the tables, in which Naik won the poll battle by bagging 77 votes more than his nearest rival.
Velim constituency in South Goa also witnessed a close contest, where Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) candidate Cruz Silva defeated Congress’s Savio D’Silva by getting 169 votes more than the latter.
In Priol constituency in South Goa, BJP candidate Govind Gaude defeated MGP president and party candidate Deepak Dhavalikar by a margin of 213 votes.
Chief Minister Dr Pramod Sawant of the BJP was seen trailing in the initial round of counting, but improved his performance in the second and third rounds, defeated his rival, Congress candidate Dharmesh Saglani, by a margin of 666 votes in Sanquelim constituency.
Speaking about the narrow victory margin, Sawant later said that it was a cause of concern for him and he would introspect on it.
In the closely-fought contest between BJP candidate Atanasio Monserratte and Independent candidate Utpal Parrikar, son of former Goa chief minister late Manohar Parrikar, also saw the former winning with 716 votes in Panaji constituency. Monserratte said he was not happy with his victory margin and blamed BJP cadres for not accepting him in the party.
Parrikar had decided to contest as an Independent after the BJP denied ticket to him from Panaji.
Speaker of Legislative assembly Rajesh Patnekar, who was BJP candidate from Bicholim assembly segment, was defeated by 318 votes by Independent candidate Dr Chandrakant Shetye. After getting elected, Shetye immediately gave his support to the BJP.
Power minister and BJP candidate Nilesh Cabral won with 672 votes against Congress candidate Amit Patkar in Curchorem constituency in South Goa.
Two newcomers – Jit Arolkar (MGP) and Ulhas Tuenkar (BJP) – also won with a very low margin against their rivals. While Arolkar defeated BJP candidate Dayanand Sopte with 715 votes in Mandrem seat, Tuenkar defeated Trinamool Congress (TMC) nominee Valanka Alemao in Navelim constituency with 430 votes.
The BJP emerged as the single largest party in the coastal state by winning 20 assembly seats, just one shy of the halfway mark, and quickly enlisted the support of regional outfit MGP and three Independent MLAs to form its government for a third consecutive term in the state.
The BJP’s tally of 20 was an improvement from 2017, when it had won 13 seats in the 40-member assembly, where the simple majority mark is 21.
The Congress won 11 seats, down from 17 five years ago, and its ally Goa Forward Party (GFP) on. The AAP and the MGP won two seats each, while the Revolutionary Goans Party bagged one seat.
Source: Press Trust of India