The picture is not all rosy for the Congress in Goa. The ruling party is on the back-foot following allegations of illegal mining and corruption charges.
The BJP has directly accused chief minister Digambar Kamat of involvement in the Rs 25,000-crore illegal mining scam, which is being probed by a judicial commission headed by Justice MB Shah. The panel is also investigating illegal mining in other parts of the country.
But illegal mining and corruption are not the only worries for the Congress as other parties too are facing similar charges. As many as 10 Congress rebels are in the fray and set to raise the pitch for the official nominees. Prominent among them is former state Congress general secretary Vijay Sardesai, considered a sure-fire winner from Fatorda. The party ignored him and gave the ticket to MK Shaikh to woo Muslim voters.
Though not a serious contender, Trinamool Congress is said to have joined the poll fray only to hurt the Congress. It is contesting on 20 of the total 40 constituencies in Goa and has fielded Congress rebels on majority of these seats.
The rebels along with independents and smaller parties will play a major role in the formation of next government in Goa, which is known for giving a fractured mandate as the state had 14 governments in 15 years between 1990 and 2005.
Riding high on anti-incumbency factor, the BJP is hoping to oust the ruling Congress-NCP combine in alliance with the Maharashtra Gomantak Party (MGP). In a first, the party has gone all out to woo the Christians, who comprise 27% of the state's 14 lakh population. While the BJP gave tickets to seven Catholic candidates, it avoided a direct fight with the Congress in Dabolim constituency, which has 72% Hindu voters.