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Read Editorial – Going Forward in Goa

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MEANINGS are given in BOLD

Fractured (break or cause to break) mandates (an official order or commission to do something) and post-poll coalitions (a temporary alliance for combined action, especially of political parties forming a government) are not new to Goa, which has had a history of political instability (the state of being unstable). This time round, after the counting of votes on March 11, the process became even more complex with the issue of government-formation being taken to court. With only 13 legislators in the 40-member Assembly, it was clearly going to be difficult for the BJP to stake (support) a claim to power, but the single largest party, the Congress, was short of a majority too, winning 17 seats. Moreover, the Congress failed to get its own legislature party in order after the elections and was unable to make haste (excessive speed or urgency of movement or action; hurry) in choosing a leader and finding allies.

Support was guaranteed to the BJP by the Maharashtrawadi Gomantak Party, which had been an ally (combine) in the outgoing government. With the Goa Forward Party and two independents also hitching (move (something) into a different position with a jerk) their bandwagon (an activity or cause that has suddenly become fashionable or popular) to the BJP, it was evident (clearly seen or understood; obvious) that the party had the upper hand. In the absence of a pre-poll alliance, it is arguable that the Governor should have invited the leader of the single largest party to try to form the government.

But there was no likelihood of the Congress being able to command a majority in the House without the endorsement (support; agreement) of the MGP or the GFP and independents, something that, notwithstanding its protestations (an objection or protest), the party fully well realised. The Supreme Court’s decisions to not stay Governor Mridula Sinha’s invitation to the BJP to form the government may have, at least partially, blunted (make or become less sharp) the criticism that she acted in a partisan (a strong supporter of a party, cause, or person) manner. With the BJP winning the vote of confidence in the Assembly, a certain post hoc (for this) legitimacy (conformity to the law or to rules) has been established, but there is no escaping the fact that this happened in the shadow of a controversy.

While the party will be relieved to have returned to power, the BJP’s reduced tally (calculate the total number of) in the Assembly elections is a reflection of a degree of dissatisfaction with its performance. Past State governments in Goa have had a reputation for rent-seeking and paying little regard to violations of environmental norms, especially by the construction, tourism and mining industries. The BJP, after coming to power in 2012, had promised to take steps to eradicate (destroy completely; put an end to) corruption and graft at various levels of the State’s administration, but its efforts were found to be lacking.

Goa’s voters have this time clearly been looking for political alternatives, which are reflected in the success of smaller parties such as the GFP. That the senior BJP leader and Union Defence Minister, Manohar Parrikar, had to be roped(to take part in)  in to take over as Chief Minister indicates that the party is aware of the challenges it faces in running a fresh government in Goa. Mr. Parrikar now has a chance to deliver on the pledge he made during his previous tenure (give (someone) a permanent post), of delivering a better administration.

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