Panaji: In 2012, the BJP won Goa by a margin of one – 21 of 40 seats – on the promise of cleaning the mining mess, closing casinos, reversing the Congress’ policy of funding English-medium schools and a clean administration under Manohar Parrikar.
On Saturday, the BJP’s tally was down to 13, with chief minister Laxmikant Parsekar among the losers of the 2017 state election.
Parsekar took over from Parrikar after he was made the defence minister.
No party got an outright majority in the coastal state but the Congress, with 17 seats, was best placed to form a coalition government.
So, what went wrong for the BJP?
Analysts say the party failed to keep its promises. Not a single scam-tainted politician was acted upon, the administration was opaque and casinos flourished.
“They abandoned their most important stand against corruption,” senior journalist Raju Nayak, who edits Marathi daily Lokmat, said. “People have not voted for the Congress, but against the BJP.”
The rollback on corruption and the perceived communal polarisation across the country alienated Goa’s influential Catholic community, which voted the BJP in 2012 to throw out the Congress.
The decision to continue funds for 139 private English-medium schools alienated the party’s support base – particularly among a section of the Rashtriya Swayawamsewak Sangh headed by Subhash Velingkar, an influential voice in Goa’s Hindu community.
Velingkar floated the Goa Suraksha Manch (GSM), a political outfit that tied up with former BJP ally the Maharashtrawadi Gomantak Party (MGP), to defeat the saffron party, by taking away its core Hindu vote.
The MGP and GSM have won four seats between them and have likely hurt the BJP more by splitting the Hindu vote.