So it’s finally done and dusted. The BJP-MGP alliance which was widely expected to go to the polls together in 2017 has finally broken.
It is a split which has been messy and acrimonious and most importantly, both will go to battle against each other, with fresh wounds.
So where do they go from here? The MGP will combine with the Goa Suraksha Manch and drive the right wing agenda more aggressively than the BJP, an agenda driven by language above all else. But will that be the language of enough people to change the course of this election by taking the ground away from the BJP is still a question which doesn’t yet have an answer. But certain dents are obvious like in Pernem and Bicholim. Madkaim is its sanctum sanctorum anyway. But on the flip side, Priol is not signed sealed and delivered. However, ironically, with just four weeks for the elections, MGP like other parties will need at least a week to put its poll team ready.
The BJP on the other hand, is grappling with the MGP loss. But it has, as matter of strategy, gone on an absolute overdrive getting Congress candidates to cross over. The project hasn’t ended with Mauvin Godinho and Pandurang Madkaikar. Pravin Zantye, son of cashew king and veteran Congressman Harish Zantye, who was a part of team Vishwajit Rane, is on the verge of joining the BJP and contesting from Mayem. And it is indeed a fact that the BJP has got its eye out even for someone like Ravi Naik from Ponda. So these games haven’t quite ended. In fact they are just beginning. It will still face the MGP head on in seats like Vasco and Dabolim but its larger game is to let parties like AAP split votes, especially in Salcete and support some independents and dummy candidates in others for the same task. It will use parties like the Goa Vikas Party, minus Mickky Pacheco, which is likely to field about eight to ten candidates to cut votes to its advantage in Fatorda, Cortalim and even Nuvem where Mickky Pacheco will be contesting on a Goa Suraj Party ticket.
The BJP is clearly going to use the strategy of disruption to move ahead in seats where it finds itself weak. Phase 2 of this strategy will be initiated after the results are out and will be pursued with a missionary zeal if the BJP falls short of majority. That is when all the floaters will be tapped, leading with Babush Monseratte, irrespective of what his equation with the Congress may well be. As we have mentioned earlier, the BJP is not untouchable for any party barring the Congress. The AAP of course is treated by the BJP as a “friendly enemy”.
We may yet end up being in a situation, where the wheel will come a full circle and the MGP may have no option but to support the BJP, if the Congress doesn’t have enough to form a post-poll government with MGP’s outside support. The MGP is not used to being out of power and will do any deal to get back in government. And that is something the BJP hopes to take advantage of. It is only a last minute surge, and a miraculous one at that, of the Congress which can actually upset all equations but the reality of this doesn’t quite bite yet.