Polls in Goa: TMC secures pre-election alliance with MGP: Sign of political change ahead of Goa Assembly elections?

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MGP Chairman Deepak Dhavalikar announced pre-poll alliance with TMC on December 6, 2021 | Photo credit: PTI

Highlights

  • In 2017, the BJP opted to go it alone in the Goa polls, however, it only managed to claim 13 seats in the 40-member chamber. It was in fact Congress that became the largest party in the state with 17 seats.
  • But the holding of saffron has succeeded in concocting an alliance with several regional parties including the MGP to form the government. The three seats won by the MGP in 2017 were essential to the NDA’s triumph over the big old party
  • In the wake of a convincing victory in the West Bengal Assembly elections held earlier this year, the TMC embarked on a campaign of expansion, focusing on several BJP-led states, including Goa.

Just days after Trinamool Congressman (TMC) leader Mahua Moitra asserted that “all parties in Goa are in cahoots” with the ruling BJP, the group led by Mamata Banerjee has sealed a pre-election alliance with the Maharashtrawadi Gomantak (MGP) party ahead of the state assembly elections.

Although the TMC has previously said it seeks to compete for all seats in the next election, during a press briefing on December 6, MGP chairman Deepak Dhavalikar said: “The TMC has accepted 12 seats and if all conditions are visit on December 13, we could announce the alliance together.

The alliance has important implications for the political calculation of the state. This is the first time that the MGP – Goa’s oldest regional party – has forged a pre-election bond with a party other than its alleged “natural ally” the BJP. In 2017, the BJP opted to go it alone in the Goa polls, however, it only managed to claim 13 seats in the 40-member chamber. In fact, Congress became the largest party in the state with 17 seats.

But the holding of saffron has succeeded in concocting an alliance with several regional parties including the MGP to form the government. The three seats won by the MGP in 2017 were essential to the NDA’s triumph over the big old party. However, in March 2019, the BJP managed to woo two MGP MPs to their cause and in so doing reduced the MGP’s strength in the Goa legislature to just 1, while bringing its own tally to 14 – to tie. with Congress at the time.

It appears that the wounds of 2019 have not healed for the MGP with its only lawmaker remaining in the Goa assembly, Sudin Dhavalikar remarking in early November: “It is true that we committed suicide. [by aligning with the BJP] in the past. The alliance that we made in 2012, the BJP ended it by sacking our ministers in 2016. Despite that, in 2017 we helped them form a government and again after about a year they got us sacked. In such a situation, why will we go back to BJP?

As such, the loss of BJP is the gain of TMC. In the wake of a convincing victory in the West Bengal Assembly elections held earlier this year, the TMC embarked on a campaign of expansion, targeting several BJP-led states, including Goa.

He has already hired former chief minister and congressman Luizinho Faleiro and found the support of independent MP Prasad Gaonkar. After launching its “Goencho Navi Sakal” (Goa’s New Dawn) campaign in September, TMC executives Mahua Moitra, Babul Supriyo and Leander Paes have toured the state regularly for support.

The party is seeking to pressure the BJP ahead of the 2024 elections in Lok Sabha and it appears to have mapped out a route to Delhi via Goa. Yet having never won a seat in Goa’s Legislative Assembly before, it remains to be seen what kind of impact the TMC will have this time around, given that it also has to fight against a new Aam Aadmi party. (AAP) led by Kejriwal. A relatively late start to his campaign could also weaken his prospects in the next election.


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