Panaji, March 11 (IANS): Goa appeared headed for a hung Assembly on Saturday with the Congress and the BJP both winning seven seats each and also leading in two seats each.
The Nationalist Congress Party (NCP), the Goa Forward and the Maharashtrawadi Gomantak Party (MGP) won one seat each. Officials said vote count was on in 23 of the 40 constituencies.
The ruling Bharatiya Janata Party suffered a major blow when Chief Minister Laxmikant Parsekar was defeated by Dayanand Sopte of the Congress at Mandrem by 7,119 votes.
While Sopte polled 16,490 votes, Parsekar finished with 9,371 votes.
Parsekar did not speak to reporters while exiting the counting centre. Sopte told the media that people were unhappy with the Chief Minister's performance.
"The margin of nearly 5,000 votes shows that the people were unhappy with the CM's work," Sopte said.
At Poriem, former Chief Minister and Congress candidate Pratapsingh Rane with 14,977 votes defeated BJP's Vishwajit K Rane, who could garner only 10,911 votes.
While the Congress won from Nuvem, Poriem, Quepem, Shiroda, St. Andre, Taleigao and Mandrem, the BJP won from Aldona, Bicholim, Calangute, Dabolim, Mayem, Mapusa and Sanquelim.
The Mapusa victor was Deputy Chief Minister Francis D'Souza, who defeated his MGP rival Vinod Phadke by 6,828 votes.
This is D'Souza's sixth consecutive win in assembly elections. He is the seniormost elected BJP legislator in the state and one of the most prominent Catholic faces of the BJP in Goa.
Asked if he was in the race for Chief Ministership, D'Souza told IANS: "It is up to the party to decide."
NCP's Churchill Alemao, who was making a political comeback after being arrested in connection with the multi-crore Louis Berger bribery scam two years back, won from Benaulim, beating his nearest rival Royla Fernandes of the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) by 5,191 votes.
The Goa Forward and the MGP won one seat each.
The AAP, which had made a determined bid to take power in the coastal state, could not win a single seat, with its Chief Ministerial candidate Elvis Gomes coming fourth in Cuncolim, polling only 3,336 votes.
Conrgess' Clafasio won from Cuncolim, defeating Independent candidate Joaquim Alemao by a slender margin of 213 votes.
"We have to respect the people's will. The fact remains that the AAP has made an impact on Goa and we will continue to work," Gomes told reporters after the results were declared.
The Goa Surakha Manch, formed by ex-RSS leader Subhash Velinkar who had the Shiv Sena as his ally, also could not open its account.