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Goa Polls: MGP Mulls Alliance With BJP; Demands 8 Seats & Governor's Post, Say Sources

In a key development ahead of the Goa Assembly polls, sources revealed that the Maharashtrawadi Gomantak Party (MGP) is likely to ally with BJP once again.

BJP, Goa

Image: ANI

In a key development ahead of the Goa Assembly polls, sources revealed that the Maharashtrawadi Gomantak Party (MGP) is likely to ally with BJP once again. Speculation about a potential electoral arrangement was rife after BJP's Goa election in-charge Devendra Fadnavis met MGP leader Sudin Dhavalikar in the previous week. As per sources, MGP has sought to contest on 8 seats and demanded that Dhavalikar should be made a Governor in any state in lieu of an alliance with the saffron party for the 2022 Goa election.

Founded by Dayanand Bandodkar, MGP was the ruling party in Goa from the first Assembly polls in 1963 to 1979. However, the party gradually lost its grip over the state after the rise of viable alternatives in the form of BJP and Congress. In the 2017 polls, it won three seats as a part of an alliance with Shiv Sena and ousted RSS Goa chief Subhash Velingkar-led Goa Suraksha Manch. While it supported BJP to form a government after the election with Dhavalikar being the Deputy CM, the latter was ousted from the Cabinet in 2019 after the saffron party secured a majority of its own. 

BJP seeks re-election in Goa

In the 2017 Goa Assembly polls, BJP suffered a big blow in the absence of its stalwart leader Manohar Parrikar as it could win only 13 seats in contrast to Congress whose candidates won in 17 constituencies. However, BJP staked claim to form the government with the support of 3 MGP MLAs, 3 GFP MLAs, two Independents and an NCP MLA under the leadership of Parrikar who resigned as the Defence Minister. After he passed away on March 17, 2019, the then Assembly Speaker Pramod Sawant replaced him.

Deputy CMs in the Parrikar Cabinet- Dhavalikar and GFP president Vijai Sardesai were sacked from the Cabinet in the next months. Meanwhile, BJP consolidated its position after 10 Congress MLAs including Chandrakant Kavlekar, Atanasio Monserrate, Jeniffer Monserratte, Francis Silveira, Philip Nery Rodrigues, Cleaofacio Dias, Wilfred Dsa, Nilkant Halarnkar and Isidor Fernandes joined the saffron party on July 10, 2019. Both AAP and TMC are seeking to make inroads in the state in the wake of a weakened Congress state unit. 

TMC received a big boost on September 29 when Congress veteran and former Goa CM Luizinho Faleiro joined the party. He has represented the Navelim constituency 7 times from 1980 besides serving as the Chief Minister for two terms. On the other hand, Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal promised 300 units of free electricity per month, waiver of old bills, 24/7 power supply and free electricity to farmers if AAP forms a government in the state. He also vowed to provide a job to one unemployed youth in each family, monthly unemployment allowance and 80% reservation in the private sector for locals. 

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