For a 40-member assembly in Goa, eight aspirants for the post of chief minister shows the state's politics is heavily faction-ridden.
The BJP central leadership has turned down a proposal to allow North Goa MP Shripad Naik to contest in the assembly polls. The reason: it doesn't want anyone to overshadow leader of opposition Manohar Parrikar, who remains the unstated chief ministerial candidate.
Naik's supporters had wanted him to contest from the newly carved out Porvorim constituency in view of the fact that he belongs to the influential Bhandari samaj.A section of Goa BJP leaders also wanted Naik to enter the fray. Unlike Parrikar, who enjoys a tough image, Naik may be a better bet to put together an alliance in the case of a hung assembly after the March 3 election.
But, with Parrikar already on a jan sampark campaign to reach out to voters, the BJP high command did not want a conflicting signal to go out, sources said.
The Congress too has to do a balancing job. If the party gets a clear majority, the incumbent chief minister, Digambar Kamat, should not have a problem in retaining office.
If not, there will be at least five other aspirants to the chair. They are former chief minister and 2007-12 assembly speaker Pratapsinh Rane, home minister Ravi Naik, PWD minister Churchill Alemao, power minister Aleixo Sequeira and health minister Vishwajit Rane.
Like Kamat, they also want their "supporters" to get the ticket. In June 2007, the Congress high command named Kamat chief minister.