It is better to be pragmatic than to indulge in wishful thinking. In Goa's politics too, the present Assembly poll scenario at the moment seems to be fairly clear. BJP is the ruling party and has lost a lot of lustre due to inept governance that has seen a large portion of its supporters feeling disenchanted and thus leaning towards other parties.
However, what baffles the most is that the Opposition parties despite past experiences have not learnt from mistakes and have not gone to form pre-poll alliances with seat sharing.
Consider, there are ten Opposition parties such as the Congress, Aam Aadmi Party, Trinamool Congress, Nationalist Congress Party, Goa Forward Party, Maharashtrawadi Gomantak Party, MDF, Revolutionary Goans, Shiv Sena and the Goencho Avaaz as well as independents.
Amongst these only the Congress and the NCP have formed an alliance and will share seats. The other eight parties are going it alone at the moment and even with the poll survey having shown that 65% of the Goans are seeking a change of guard in the State, still it is incomprehensible why these eight parties are not seeking pre-poll alliances.
The popularity of the Congress seems to be on the decline. In the last elections to the Assembly in 2017, Congress fared extremely well having bagged 17 seats, but then went on to default from forming the government for reasons that seem to be sheer lethargy or inability to decide well in time on a chief ministerial candidate, thus ceding ground to the BJP who with 13 seats went on to cobble up a government in the dead of night with the help of the GFP, MGP and independents.
This marriage of convenience did not last as in another big blow to the Congress ten of its MLAs defected en masse and joined the BJP along with two MGP MLAs and to the detriment of the GFP who were kept out of government.
The Congress now like in other parts of the country such as Karnataka and Madhya Pradesh was not strong enough to keep its sheep together with the predatory BJP pouncing on their MLAs and forming governments in these two states.
Another big blow is in the offing in Punjab, which has a Congress government but with the recent developments in which the former chief minister of Punjab having decided to form a new party following in party wrangling.
This clearly raises the spectre of a bad showing by the party in the Lok Sabha elections in 2024. Congress, even with the farmers protesting the enactment of the three farm laws seemed to have been incapable of taking advantage of the disenchantment with the BJP-led NDA government.
Is the reason for this malaise on the absence of a strong leader at the Centre? The Aam Aadmi Party in Goa is making rapid strides as is the TMC which has its strategic political arm, the I-PAC, which however has still a lot of work to do to decisively bring about a change of fortunes in the Goan electoral scenario.
The Mining Dependants Forum has a large following of about 2 lakh voters, but are still untested in the political scene. The Revolutionary Goans too have made an impact in Goa just like the Goencho Avaaz Party which has fought several environmental battles in Goa for several years.
The Shiv Sena may not be able to gather much following in Goa at the moment. As the status stands today, the TMC, which is most capable of wresting the initiative with the momentum that it is showing could spring a major surprise.
In the absence of such a thing happening the likeliest scenario at the moment seems to be a fractured mandate, with no party having a clear majority of 21 seats. (The writer is a social activist)