With the BJP needing eight seats to reach the magic figure of 21, and the Congress four short of a majority, smaller parties and independents now hold the key to government formation in Goa.
Here is the list of possible kingmakers:
Party: Maharashtrawadi Gomantak Party
Seats : 3
A self-described “Chanakya” of Goa politics, Dhavalikar has been part of every state government, be it led by the BJP or the Congress, since 1998.
The MGP was part of the BJP-led coalition government from 2012 to 2016. But he broke away last year to form an alternative saffron alliance comprising the MGP, the Shiv Sena, and the newly formed Goa Suraksha Manch.
He would support a BJP-led government, he told the HT.
Party: Goa Forward Party
A former president of the Goa Pradesh Youth Congress, Sardesai successfully contested the 2012 assembly elections as an independent candidate. Joined the debutant Goa Forward Party after he was denied a Congress ticket for the 2017 elections at the last minute.
Now with three crucial seats in his kitty, he is looking to drive a hard bargain, but is likely to swing towards the BJP.
Party: Nationalist Congress Party:
In 1990, Churchill Alemao was Chief Minister for 18 days. Since then, his political journey has been marked by frequent changing of sides from Congress to non-Congress parties.
A businessman-cum- politician, Khaunte is a two-time MLA, winning as an independent in 2012 and again in 2017.
In December last year, he published a long op-ed in the local papers, titled “Why I will not join the BJP”, suggesting the Congress has his support.
A popular tribal leader, Gaude garnered support from the BJP and informal endorsement from the Aam Aadmi Party leaders to defeat Deepak Dhavalikar, brother of MGP leader Sudin Dhavalikar.
While his campaign was backed by the BJP, he could swing either way.
An independent legislator from Sanguem’s tribal community, Gaonkar is believed to be close to Congress leader Digambar Kamat.