Panaji: Accepting the verdict against the Congress, which managed to win only just 11 seats in the 40-member state assembly, the party’s senior observer in-charge of Goa polls P. Chidambaram on Thursday March 10 said that while the people of Goa wanted change, their votes were split amongst the opposition parties.
“We accept the verdict of the people of Goa. Our candidates fought a good election, fought bravely, fought against several obstacles and 11 of our candidates and one of our ally Goa Forward party won. People have voted the BJP to power and we accept that and we wish the people of Goa very well,” Chidambaram told a press conference in Panaji.
Chidambaram went on to give a detailed explanation to underline the importance of split in the opposition votes in the victory of the BJP, which has won 20 seats in the 40 member state assembly, where 21 is the magic figure. The BJP is already in talks with winning independent candidates as well as the Maharashtrawadi Gomantak Party to make up for the minor shortfall in the required numbers.
“The first thing that is very clear is the people of Goa wanted a change but in their voting behaviour they could not bring about a change. I say this because the winning party, the BJP got only a little over 33 per cent of votes. The overwhelming majority voted against the BJP but those votes were split across many parties which gave the BJP the opportunity to win 20 seats,” Chidambaram said.
“Although we communicated the message that if you want change, vote for the Congress, do not split the votes among other parties, we accept that this message was perhaps not communicated as effectively as it should have been,” he said.
“That message was heard by all Goans but they reacted differently and voted largely for the Congress party and also voted for other parties especially the new entrants to the electoral field in Goa. As a result the non BJP votes were divided and in some cases hopelessly divided which gave the BJP a free pass to victory in that constituency,” he further added.
Chidambaram also had a word of praise for the young candidates (more than 70 percent of the Congress candidates were fresh faces) fielded by the Congress.
“These young clean, educated candidates, many of whom were contesting for the first time, put up a splendid performance. We are disappointed they lost. We have told them that this is the best opportunity for you to stay firmly with the party, build the party and begin the fight for the next election from tomorrow. And many of them will begin the fight for the next election from tomorrow,” Chidambaram said.