Goa election result updates | BJP wins 20 seats in Goa

BJP emerges as single largest party with 20 seats, followed by the Congress with 12. MGP pledges support to BJP.

March 10, 2022 07:30 am | Updated March 11, 2022 01:49 am IST

Goa Chief Minister Pramod Sawant flashes the victory sign as BJP leads, during counting day of Goa elections, in Panaji on March 10, 2022.

Goa Chief Minister Pramod Sawant flashes the victory sign as BJP leads, during counting day of Goa elections, in Panaji on March 10, 2022. | Photo Credit: PTI

With all the results out, the BJP has emerged as the single largest party with 20 seats in the 40-seat Assembly. The Congress has won 11 seats with its alliance partner GFP one. The Maharashtrawadi Gomantak PartyAAP and the MGP have won in two each and others in four. Comfortably placed to retain power in Goa, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) on Thursday said it will take a decision on staking claim to form the next government in the state after a meeting of its newly elected MLAs on Friday.

Earlier in the day, a senior party leader had said, the BJP, which emerged as the single largest party winning 20 seats in the 40-member Assembly, will meet Governor P S Sreedharan Pillai and stake claim to form government on Thursday evening.

The BJP has said it has received letters of support from the Maharshtrawadi Gomantak Party (2 seats) and three Independent MLAs, enabling the ruling party to cross the simple majority mark of 21.

BJP’s Goa election in-charge Devendra Fadnavis said a decision on staking claim to form the government will be taken on Friday after a meeting of the party’s legislature wing. He made the remarks at a press conference in the presence of Chief Minister Pramod Sawant, Goa BJP president Sadanand Tanavade, Union Minister Shripad Naik and other party leaders. Mr. Fadnavis said the MGP has formally given a letter to the BJP extending its support to the party in government formation. “Both the winning candidates of the MGP will support the BJP along with the three Independent MLAs,” he said.

He said the party’s central parliamentary board will meet in New Delhi late on Thursday to discuss the results of all the states, where polls were held in February-March. “The committee will designate an observer for Goa, who will arrive here tomorrow to participate in the legislature party wing meeting,” Mr. Fadnavis said.

After the meeting, the party will decide the date to meet the Governor and stake claim for government formation, the former Maharashtra CM said.Fadanavis said that BJP’s central leadership will be participating in the swearing in ceremonies of all t

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1:40 p.m.

BJP wins 20 out of 40 seats in Goa

BJP secured 20 seats in Goa while the Congress won 12 seats.

MGP confirms support for BJP

BJP’s Goa election in-charge Devendra Fadnavis says the Maharashtrawadi Gomantak Party (MGP) - the TMC’s ally - has given a letter of support to the BJP.

Watch | Goa Election Results 2022: key winners and losers

“We will form govt. with a healthy majority of 25 seats. Three independent candidates have pledged their support and the MGP, too, has given its letter of support to the BJP. Now, we will have a meeting of our central parliamentary board and only then meet the Governor to stake claim to form the new government. We do not need to run here and there because we have already secured a majority, says the ex-Maharashtra CM.”

C.T. Ravi, BJP National General Secretary and party’s Goa in charge: “We will prove our majority on the floor. We are 20 plus five seats (two of the MGP and three independents). All those (parties) which are concerned about Goa’s development are welcome to join us. All BJP workers have followed the party’s stratagem of winning the booths, thereby winning the polls. We studied all constituencies for three months before polls and identified our weak areas. No party has won polls for three times consecutively in Goa’s political history.”

Mr Fadnavis takes jibes at the Congress: “We do not need to poach any Congress candidates. We have no such need. Congress did not trust its candidates hence they had to keep their flock in a resort. BJP did not need to find any resort as it had faith in its candidates. The Congress thought they would win and had already sought an appointment beforehand with the Governor at 3 pm today. Since no one from their side turned up, I guess the governor was kept waiting.”

6.15 p.m.

Goa Congress reflects on poor performance

With counting in just 2 of the 40 seats remaining, despondency plagues the Congress camp as top leadership accepts the verdict of electorate. While Congress election strategist P. Chidambaram attributed his party’s loss to its inability to communicate effectively to the people to stop the division of votes, Goa Congress chief Girish Chodankar said that the party stood vindicated in not awarding tickets to defectors as seven of ten Congress MLAs who had joined the BJP in 2019 had lost this time.

Goa Congress desk in-charge Dinesh Gundu Rao said the Congress would serve as the “voice of people of Goa” and that the party would be revamped after the results. - Shoumojit Banerjee

Goa has rejected outsiders: Vishwajit Rane

BJP leader Vishwajit Rane on Thursday said the people of Goa have rejected “power-hungry outsiders”.

Mr. Rane won from Valpoi Assembly constituency while his party had won at least 20 seats by evening after counting of votes for Assembly elections began.

“This is a victory of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, party president J.P. Nadda, Union Home Minister Amit Shah and all BJP leaders, including our State leaders,” Mr. Rane said.

The BJP worked as a team due to which the victory was possible, he added.

Without naming the Aam Aadmi Party and Trinamool Congress, Mr. Rane said “power-hungry” outsiders tried to mislead the people of Goa but the voters have rejected them.

The AAP has won two seats. — PTI

5.30 pm

Three couples set to enter Goa Assembly

The new Goa Assembly will have three pairs of husband and wife among its 40 members.

Vishwajit Rane, Health Minister in the outgoing BJP Government, and his wife Diviya won comfortably on party tickets from Valpoi and Poriem Assembly seats, respectively. Mr. Vishwajit Rane won by a margin of 8,085 votes, while Ms. Diviya outdid him by defeating her nearest rival by 13,943 votes.

Congress’s Michael Lobo won from his traditional Assembly constituency Calangute, while wife Delilah won from Siolim, also on a Congress ticket.

BJP’s Atanasio Monserratte won from Panaji, while his wife Jeniffer won from Taleigao on a BJP ticket.

But the Kandolkars were not so lucky, nor were the father-daughter duo of Churchill Alemao and Valanka. Kavita Kandolkar and her husband Kiran who contested from Thivim and Aldona Assembly seats as Trinamool Congress candidates, lost. Ms. Kavita Kandolkar lost to sitting BJP MLA Nilkant Halarnkar and Kiran to Congress’ Carlose Fereira.

Two other TMC candidates — Mr. Churchill Alemao who was contesting from Benaulim and his daughter Valanka who had stood from Navelim, also bit the dust. — PTI

5.20 pm

AAP makes inroads, TMC fails to make a mark

Both Arvind Kejriwal’s Aam Aadmi Party and Mamta Banerjee’s Trinamool Congress delivered a damp squib in the current Goa polls.

While the AAP could only secure two wins, the TMC did not bag a single seat. The AAP did however make inroads in the State this time, as it could not win any seat in the 2017 election.

AAP’s Captain Captain Venzy Viegas won the Benaulim seat and Cruz Silva bagged the Velim constituency. The party hailed the two victories as the “beginning of honest politics” in Goa.

As for the TMC, the main hope it had fielded to make a mark in Goa was its party nominee and former Goa CM Churchill Alemao (who quit the NCP to join the TMC), lost to an RGP candidate in St. Andre. Two other major TMC runners — Kiran Kandolkar in the Aldona seat, his wife Kavita Kandolkar in Tivim, were both trailing.

The TMC, which contested the Goa election for the first time, said on its Twitter handle that it accepts the mandate with “humility”, adding that would continue to serve the people of Goa and work harder ni earn their trust “no matter how long it takes.”

5.00 pm

Premature to say BJP has won: Sequeira

Even as the BJP is emerging as the single largest party in Goa, the Congress on Thursday expressed confidence that it will form the next government in the coastal State with the help of other political parties, saying that the final results are yet to be announced.

“Lead is not everything. The final results are yet to come. We will form the next government with the help of other political parties and Independents,” he said.

As per the Election Commission of India’s (ECI) latest data for all the 40 Assembly seats in Goa, the BJP has so far won five seats and is leading in 15 others. The Congress has won three seats and is leading in eight.

Talking to reporters outside a counting centre, Goa Pradesh Congress Committee’s working president Aleixo Sequeira said the final tally is yet to be announced, so it is premature to say that the BJP has won the election. — PTI

4.45 pm

Both Deputy Chief Ministers lose polls

Both Deputy Chief Ministers of Goa lost the Assembly elections to their nearest Congress rivals.

Deputy Chief Minister Manohar Ajgaonkar was defeated by Leader of Opposition and Congress candidate Digambar Kamat by a huge margin of almost 6,000 votes in the Margao Assembly constituency. Mr. Ajgaonkar, who had been traditionally contesting from Pernem in North Goa, was this time fielded by the BJP from Margao in South Goa.

The second Deputy Chief Minister in the Pramod Sawant-led Cabinet, Chandrakant Kavlekar, lost to Congress candidate Altone D’Costa in Quepem. Mr. Kavlekar had won from Quepem in 2017 on a Congress ticket. He shifted to the BJP in 2019 along with nine other Congress MLAs and was rewarded with the Deputy CM’s post.

4.30 pm

This is my victory, BJP did not help me: Atanasio Monserratte

Atanasio Monserratte, who won from Panaji Assembly constituency on a BJP ticket, on Thursday said it was his victory and not that of the party.

Mr. Monserratte, who defeated Independent candidate Utpal Parrikar by 674 votes, also claimed that the party did not support him.

“This is not a victory of the party. This is my victory. The party did not stand with me, it never did any damage control,” said Mr. Monserratte, who crossed over to the BJP from the Congress only in 2019.

The BJP cadres in Panaji did not accept him but the people of Panaji stood by him, he said.

Mr. Utpal Parrikar contested the election on his own after the BJP refused him ticket from Panaji which his late father and former Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar had represented in the past.

4.15 pm

RGP wins St. Andre seat

Revolutionary Goans (RG) party opens account in coastal State after its candidate Viresh Borkar won the St. Andre seat. The AAP too is also set to open its account in Goa as it is leading on two seats.

However, in the crowded non-BJP Opposition, the TMC has fared the worst by failing to win even a single seat with its top leaders — ex-CM Churchill Alemao and party president Kiran Kandolkar — crashing in Benaulim and Aldona constituencies respectively. (Reports Shourmojit Banerjee)

4.10 pm

BJP to stake claim today evening to form govt in Goa

The BJP, which is emerging as the single largest party in the 40-member Goa Assembly, will meet Governor P.S. Sreedharan Pillai and stake claim to form government on Thursday evening, a senior party leader said.

As per data of the Election Commission of India, the BJP has so far won five seats and is leading in 15 others in the coastal state, where counting of votes is currently underway.

The BJP’s legislature wing will meet around 4 p.m. 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. — PTI

4.05 pm

Utpal Parrikar loses to BJP’s Atanasio Monserratte from Panaji seat

Independent candidate Utpal Parrikar, the son of Goa’s former chief minister Manohar Parrikar, lost to BJP’s Atanasio Monserratte from the Panaji Assembly seat.

After the end of last round of counting, mr. Monserratte won by 674 votes, an election official said. “I gave a good fight,” Mr. Utpal Parrikar, who bagged 5,857 votes, said while leaving the counting station.

Mr. Monserratte polled 6,531 votes, while Congress candidate Elvis Gomes got 3,062 votes.

After the BJP refused ticket to Utpal Parrikar, he contested the election as an Independent.

Mr. Monserratte said the BJP cadres in the State capital Panaji did not accept Mr. Utpal Parrikar in the party. — PTI

4.00 pm

Kejriwal says it’s beginning of honest politics in Goa

As AAP leads in 2 seats, Kejriwal says it’s beginning of honest politics in Goa

As early trends showed the AAP was leading in two seats in Goa, its national convenor and Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal on Thursday said it was a “beginning of honest politics” in the coastal State.

He also congratulated his party candidates Venzy Viegas and Cruz Silva who were leading in their respective constituencies.

“AAP wins two seats in Goa. Congratulations and best wishes to Capt Venzy and Er Cruz. It’s the beginning of honest politics in Goa,” Mr. Kejriwal tweeted. — PTI

3.40 pm

‘BJP will form govt with the help of Independents’

The BJP is now leading in 20 constituencies, Congress-GFP alliance in 12, MGP-TMC in 2, AAP in two, Revolutionary Goans in one seat, and independent candidates in three seats.

“Even if the BJP falls short of a simple majority by the odd seat, it will easily form the government with the help of Independents. Even the Maharashtrawadi Gomantak Party (MGP) is with the BJP,” CM Pramod Sawant said.

The MGP, which is the TMC’s ally in this election and was touted as being a ‘kingmaker’ ahead of the results, may now find itself superfluous given that the BJP is leading on 19 of the 40 Assembly seats.

3.20 pm

Independents secure three seats

In the backdrop of BJP’s history of the 2017 election, when it garnered the support of winning independent candidates and other party defectors to form the government; the wins of some independent candidates in the current polls become crucial.

Independent candidate Dr. Chandrakant Shetye has won from the Bicholim seat by defeating Maharashtrawadi Gomantak’s Naresh Rajaram Sawal by a margin of 318 votes. Rajesh Patnekar, the candidate fielded by the BJP, meanwhile, came in third. The Bicholim seat was won by Mr. Patnekar, who defeated MGP’s Mr. Sawal. Dr. Shetye, who is an ophthalmologist by profession, ran for the first time in the Goa Assembly election.

Independent candidate AntonioVas has won from the Cortalim constituency by defeating Olencio Simoes of the Congress by a margin of 1,178 votes.. Mr. Vas had lost the Cortalim seat in the 2017 election to BJP’s Alina Saldhana. Ms. Saldhana quit the BJP in a last minute move in January this year, along with two other minority MLAs. Mr. Vas’s Zilla Parishad election win against a Congress candidate, was a positive indication for his performance in the current polls.

Independent candidate Aleixo Reginaldo Lourenco has won over INC’s Moreno Rebelo by a margin of 5,055 votes in the Curtorim constituency. Mr. Launrenco had won the Curtorim seat in the 2017 and 2007 Goa Assembly elections, but quit the party last year to join the TMC. He quit the TMC soon after, to contest the current poll as an Independent.

2.40 pm

BJP secures Curchorem, Dabolim and Maem; Congress wins Margao and Aldona

BJP’s Nilesh Cabral has won over INC’s Amit Patkar in Curchorem constituency by a margin of 672 votes. The seat was won by Mr. Cabral for the last two terms in 2017 and 2012, who ran on a BJP ticket both times. He had won over a Goa Suraksha Manch candidate and a Congress candidate in 2017 and 2012, respectively. He was the Minister of Power, and Law and Judiciary in the ruling BJP’s Goa Cabinet since September, 2018. He held two other portfolios — Non-Conventional Energy and Legislative Affairs.

BJP’s Mauvin Heliodoro Godinho has won over INC’s Captain Viriato Hipolito Mendonca Fernandes in Dabolim constituency by a margin of 1,570 votes. Mr. Godinho has won the Dabolim seat third time in a row. He had won the seat in 2017 for the BJP and in 2012 as a Congress candidate. He was made the Panchayat Minster of Goa by the BJP after his 2017 win. Mr. Godinho has also won four terms from the Cortalim seat in the past.

BJP’s Premendra Vishnu Shet has won over Goa Forward Party’s Santosh Kumar Sawant in Maem constituency by a margin of 3,136 votes.

INC’s Digambar Kamat has won from the Margao constituency by defeating Ajgaonkar Manohar (Babu) of the BJP by a margin of 7,794 votes. Mr. Kamat has won his sixth term from the Margao seat. He won both in the 2012 and 2017 elections on a Congress ticket, and was the Chief Minister of Goa from 2007 to 2012. He was also the INC’s Leader of the Opposition in the outgoing Assembly, and the expected CM candidate for the party.

INC’s Carlos Alvares Ferreira has won over BJP’s Glenn John Vijay Ambrose E Souza Ticlo by a margin of 1,823 votes in the Aldona constituency

2.10 pm

CM Pramod Sawant leads in Sanquelim

Goa CM Pramod Sawant is ahead of Dharmesh Saglani of the Congress in the Sanquelim constituency by 386 votes.

Commenting on his narrow margin, Mr. Sawant said though he might secure the constituency, analysis of the Sanquelim contest would be done later. “Right now, I’m grateful to all my constituents and party workers who have reposed faith in me.”

1.50 pm

Congress accepts defeat

We had thought that we will win but we have to accept the people’s mandate. We have got 12 seats, BJP has got 18 seats. We will work strongly as the opposition. Congress will have to work hard to win the confidence of people, Congress leader Michael Lobo told ANI on the party’s performance. 

1.25 pm

Rohan Khaunte secures Porvorim seat for BJP

BJP’s Rohan Khaunte has won over All India Trinamool Congress’s Sandeep Vazarkar in Porvorim constituency by a margin of 7,950 votes.

In 2017, Mr. Khaunte emerged triumphant as an Independent candidate for a record second time in Goa. The State had never given an independent candidate a second chance until then.

Interestingly, in 2017 he defeated Guruprasad Pawaskar of the BJP by a margin of 4,213. This time he contested on a BJP ticket and won handsomely with an increased margin of 7,950 votes.

1.15 pm

INC’s Micheal Vincent Lobo wins Calangute by a margin of 4,9,79 votes

INC’s Michael Vincent Lobo has won over BJP’s Joseph Robert Sequeira in the Calangute constituency by a margin of 4,979 votes.

Mr. Lobo had quit the BJP in a last minute move in January, after a membership of 15 years and two-term wins for the party in Calangute. The Saffron party’s most prominent Catholic face at the time and Ports and Waste Management Minister in the Pramod Sawant Cabinet, he was one of the three minority faces who exited the BJP in January.

Mr. Lobo, who secured this win for the Congress was an important induction for the party after multiple defections to the BJP in the last five years.

Mr. Lobo, at the time of quitting the BJP, had said that, had been vocal in his criticism of Mr. Sawant’s Government for a while, alleged that the BJP was sidelining grassroots leaders like himself to make way for “outsiders”. He had added that he would not have quit the party had former Goa CM and late BJP stalwart Manohar Parrikar been alive. Mr. Lobo brought another strategic advantage to the Congress in the Bardez sub-district, as he also wields considerable influence in the Mapusa, Siolim and Saligao constituencies.

1.00 pm

AAP’s Venzy Veigas poised to defeat TMC’s Churchill Alemao

The AAP’s Captain Venzy Viegas is emerging as a ‘giant killer’ and is poised to defeat ex-CM and the TMC’s Churchill Alemao, a four-time MLA from the Benaulim seat.

Meanwhile, the AAP’s CM candidate Amit Palekar is trailing heavily in Santa Cruz. By announcing Goa-based lawyer and social activist Mr. Palekar as it CM candidate, the AAP had kept its promise made in Nov. 2021, that Chief Ministerial face would be from the Bhandari community, which forms the largest electoral bloc in the coastal State (comprising more than 30%).

12.40 pm

In Curtorim, Aleixo Reginaldo Lourenco leads by 3,700 votes

Independent candidate and former three-time MLA Aleixo Reginaldo Lourenco is leading RG party’s Rubert Pereira by a margin of more than 3,700 votes.

Mr. Lourenco had quit from the Mamata Banerjee-led Trinamool Congress (TMC) less than a month after he had left the Congress for the TMC. “When I took the decision [to join the TMC], I hurt a lot of people,” he has said, adding that he had faced a severe ‘backlash’ from his loyal constituents following his decision to join the TMC.

He had exited the Congress despite the party including Mr. Lourenco’s name in the first list of eight candidates.

12.20 pm

BJP inching towards becoming single largest party

The BJP is inching towards becoming the single largest party, leading on 19 seats. Congress-Goa Forward Party alliance leads in 12 seats, the MGP-TMC alliance in 3 seats, AAP in 2 seats, and the Revolutionary Goans party is leading in one seat.

The Congress, earlier in the week, had said it was open to a post-poll alliance with parties other than the BJP to form the next government, if it does not get a majority on its own.

Though the Congress had won 17 seats in the 2017 State Assembly elections, the BJP, which had bagged 13 seats,  formed the government by quickly forging an alliance with some other parties and independents.

12.00 pm

Utpal Parrikar trails behind BJP’s Atanasio Monserrate

In Panaji, BJP’s Atanasio Monserrate is leading Independent candidate and ex-Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar’s son Utpal Manohar Parrikar by a margin of 700 votes.

In keeping with its promise of backing Mr. Utpal Parrikar, the Shiv Sena had withdrawn its candidate from the Panaji seat.

The Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) had also promised to support to Mr. Utpal Parrikar, while the Congress fielded an allegedly ‘weak’ candidate to boost his chances against Mr. Monserrate.

11.40 am

Revolutionary Goan party cannibalises non-BJP vottes

In an overcrowded Opposition space, the ‘wild card’ Revolutionary Goans (RG) party led by ex-AAP member Manoj Parab is cannibalising non-BJP votes.

RG candidate Viresh Borkar has secured a slender lead in the St. Andre constituency while performing well in the Thivim, Curtorim and even Marcaim constituencies which is Sudin Dhavalikar’s stronghold.

Likened to a Goan version of the early Shiv Sena and Raj Thackeray’s Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS), the RG, with its ‘son of the soil’ agenda, has managed substantial support in the huge Goan migrant population in neighbouring Maharashtra, Karnataka and especially settled abroad.

11.25 am

BJP leads in 18; Pramod Sawant retakes lead

After four rounds, BJP is leading in 18 constituencies, Congress in 13, MGP-TMC alliance in 5 seats and AAP in one. The Independents were ahead in three seats.

CM Pramod Sawant retakes lead by more than 600 votes over the Congress’ Dharmesh Saglani in Sanquelim.

11.20 am

MGP may hold key to govt formation

Goa’s oldest regional party, the Maharashtrawadi Gomantak Party (MGP), is at the centre of poll talks after the exit polls predicted a hung Assembly and that it could emerge as the ‘kingmaker’ this time.

MGP was the first party to rule Goa, after the end of Portuguese colonial rule in 1961.

The MGP has tied up the Trinamool Congress (TMC), which is trying to make inroads into the coastal State, contesting for the first time.

MGP chief and candidate from Marcaim constituency, Sudin Dhavalikar, has said that he is “100% sure” of his alliance with the TMC, while simultaneously having met leaders of the Congress and the BJP. He added that his party will win 10 seats and decide on Thursday evening about whether it will form the government.

MGP, traditionally having a pro-Hindutva ideology, entered into an unlikely alliance with the TMC, after its relationship soured with ideological ally and ruling party, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).

Mr. Dhavalikar was dropped by the BJP from the Cabinet and from his position as the Deputy Chief Minister of Goa in 2019, after two MGP MLAs exited the party to join the BJP, resulting in the merger of the MGP Legislative Party with the BJP.

11.00 am

Ranes’ poised to triumph with record margins

While BJP leader and Goa Health Minister Vishwajit Rane, son of Congressman Pratapsingh Rane, is leading from Valpoi by more than 6,000 votes, his wife and BJP candidate from Poriem, Dr. Deviya Rane is leading by a staggering 10,000 votes.

The Congress is poised to be comprehensively routed in Sattari district (where Valpoi and Poriem are sited). Poriem was the bastion of Pratapsingh Rane, a 11-time MLA and the State’s longest serving CM, who declined to contest this time, making way instead for his daughter-in-law Dr. Deviya Rane (from Poriem).

10.45 am

Neck-and-neck contest in Sanquelim

See saw contest in Chief Minister Pramod Sawant’s constituency of Sanquelim. Congress Dharmesh Saglani has now taken a lead of 317 votes over the CM.

10.15 am

CM Sawant leads in Sanquelim

BJP candidates during a meeting chaired by BJP Goa election in-charge Devendra Fadnavis, a day before the results of Goa Assembly elections, in Panaji, Wednesday, March 9, 2022.

BJP candidates during a meeting chaired by BJP Goa election in-charge Devendra Fadnavis, a day before the results of Goa Assembly elections, in Panaji, Wednesday, March 9, 2022. | Photo Credit: PTI

CM Pramod Sawant has now taken a lead in Sanquelim. Meanwhile, Panaji is witnessing a keen contest with BJP's Atanasio 'Babush' Monserrate leading against independent candidate Utpal Parrikar by a little over 300 votes. Mr. Parrikar, son of late Goa CM and BJP stalwart Mahohar Parrikar, rebelled against the party after being denied a ticket by the BJP to contest as an independent from Panaji, a seat held by Mahohar Parrikar for nearly 25 years.

Congress candidate Michael Lobo, an ex-BJP Minister and a prominent Catholic face, has secured a comfortable lead in his bastion Calangute as has BJP candidate Rohan Khaunte, who leads by more than 1,000 votes in Porvorim.

9.40 am

BJP leads in 17 seats

BJP retakes lead in early trends, with saffron party now leading on 17 seats, the Congress on 16, MGP-TMC alliance on three seats.

The Aam Aadmi Party is leading in one seat and an independent candidate in three seats.

9.35 am

Comfortable lead for Health Minister Vishwajit Rane

The husband-wife duo of BJP leader and Goa Health Minister Vishwajit Rane and BJP candidate Dr. Deviya Rane secure comfortable leads from Valpoi and Poriem constituencies respectively.

Both the seats are strongholds of the Rane family. Former Goa CM and Congress stalwart Pratapsingh Rane, a 11-time MLA and the State’s longest serving CM, had stepped aside to make way for his daughter-in-law Deviya Rane (from Poriem) ahead of the polls. Vishwajit Rane, who was earlier in the Congress before switching over to the BJP, is said to be current Goa CM Pramod Sawant’s rival for the Chief Minister’s post

9.20 am

CM Sawant trailing

After the first round of counting, Goa Chief Minister and BJP leader Pramod Sawant trails in Sanquelim by more than 400 votes. Mr. Sawant is pitted against the Congress’ Dharmesh Saglani. While Mr. Sawant, seeking a third term from Sanquelim, had won the 2012 election with a comfortable margin of nearly 7,000 votes, he was given a tough fight by Mr. Saglani, his Congress challenger in the 2017 Goa Assembly election as well, causing his vote share plummeting by nearly 23%.

Mr. Sawant also faces potential vote-cutters from the Maharashtrawadi Gomantak Party (MGP) and the Revolutionary Goans (RG) in the rural parts of Sanquelim, which constitutes his primary vote base.

9.05 am

Early leads for Congress

Early trends show a lead for Congress in 20 seats, while the BJP leading on 16 seats. The MGP-TMC alliance is leading in four seats.

Postal ballots show a lead for BJP’s Atanasio ‘Babush’ Monserrate, the incumbent Panaji MLA who is pitted against rebel candidate Utpal Parrikar.

Ex-Chief Minister and BJP stalwart Laxmikant Parsekar, who rebelled to contest as an Independent from Mandrem, is also said to be leading.

8.55 am

Confident of winning: MGP

 “Confident of winning with massive majority, said Maharashtrawadi Gomantak Party (MGP) leader Sudin Dhavalikar, who is a five-time MLA from Marcaim in South Goa.

On the question of MGP playing ‘kingmaker’ and acting independently of its ally, the Trinamool Congress, Mr. Dhavalikar said that “leaders of both parties will be meeting at around 3:30 pm decision whatever decision they take will be binding on both parties.”

Once the BJP long-time ally in Goa, the ideologically similar MGP had been dumped by the former by CM Pramod Sawant in 2019 when Mr. Dhavalikar was sacked as Goa Dy. Chief Minister. Two of the three MGP MLAs then joined the BJP. Since then, Mr. Dhavalikar has categorically said he would never ally with a BJP led by Mr. Sawant.

8.45 am

Pramod Sawant offers prayers at Datta Mandir

Incumbent Goa Chief Minister Pramod Sawant on Thursday offered prayers at the Datta Mandir in his constituency Sanquelim before heading to the counting centre.

8.20 am

MGP, the kingmaker?

With exit polls predicting a neck-and-neck fight between ruling BJP and opposition Congress, Goa’s oldest party - the Maharashtrawadi Gomantak Party (MGP), which is allied to the TMC - is expected to play ‘kingmaker’.

On Wednesday, BJP’s Goa election in-charge Devendra Fadnavis had said that it was “natural for BJP and MGP to come together to form the next government, as there are similarities in ideology of both parties” - Shoumojit Banerjee

8.10 am

Congress makes the first move

Congress has sought the Goa governor’s appointment at 3pm today to stake claim to form the next government, according to reports. Governor P.S. Sreedharan Pillai has yet to grant the appointment. - Shoumojit Banerjee

8.00 am

Counting begins

Counting of votes for all the 40 Assembly seats began in Goa at 8.00 am today. Initially, counting of postal ballots at two centres was started. Fate of over 300 candidates will be decided in the high-stakes contest.;

BJP leader and ex-CM Ravi Naik, the party’s candidate from Ponda and MGP President Deepak Dhavalikar were among the first to arrive at the counting centres. - Shoumojit Banerjee

Resort politics

‘Defection–scarred’ Goa Congress moves its candidates to a plush resort

Despite administering its candidates pre–poll temple oaths and sign anti–defection affidavits, the “defection–scarred” Congress has moved all its candidates to a resort in North Goa to guard against possible defections ahead of the results to the Goa Assembly election on March 10.

Sawant meets Modi

Ahead of poll results, Goa CM Sawant meets PM Modi

Less than 48 hours before the Assembly poll results and a day after exit polls indicated a hung Assembly in Goa, its Chief Minister Pramod Sawant met Prime Minister Narendra Modi in New Delhi.

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