Panaji: Even before the final results are yet to be announced, Goa Congress spokesperson Ramakant Khalap has termed the party's poor showing as the Waterloo of the ruling Congress-Nationalist Congress Party combine.

Khalap, a former Union Minister of State for Law, said that tickets liberally given by the party to kin of sitting legislators was responsible for the disappointing mandate for the party. Several other defeated legislators as well as rebel Congressmen have echoed Khalap's sentiments.

 The Congress has won just two seats as opposed to the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) which had won seven seats so far. "The family raaj was the Congress' Waterloo. It was embarrassing... the Delhi leaders who came to Goa for canvassing have no explanation for family raj. They used to say in private that something had gone wrong (with the ticket distribution)," Khalap told a talk show on local television.

"The Congress has axed its own feet. We should now perform the role of a constructive opposition," he added. Sitting Congress legislator Pratap Gauns who lost the Sanquelim seat said the family raj factor had proved costly.

"The family raj strategy proved expensive. We kept telling them not to give tickets to the families of MLAs, but they said they were winnable candidates," Gauns said. Vijay Sardesai, a Congress rebel who has won from the Fatorda constituency in South Goa by defeating contestants from the Congress and the BJP, said the moment Congress leader Oscar Fernandes endorsed tickets to family members of Congress legislators, he signalled the beginning of the end.

"Oscar Fernandes has cut the head of the Congress. God save Congress, God save Oscar," Sardesai said. Former head of the Congress election campaign committee Mauvin Godinho also said that his opposition of the distribution of tickets to family members of legislators had fallen on deaf ears.

"Everyone knows which issues I was raising. You know what they are... The issue of family raj was most crucial which I think the people have not liked," Godinho said. Goa voted March 3 for a 40-member assembly.

(Agencies)