Goa polls: Defections in mind, Congress candidates to pledge loyalty before Rahul Gandhi tomorrow

By, Hindustan Times, New Delhi
Feb 03, 2022 04:46 PM IST

Goa assembly election: The Congress has organised a ‘Pledge of Loyalty’ program as part of Rahul Gandhi's visit to the state on Friday for all its poll candidates.

Congress candidates in poll-bound Goa would take a ‘pledge of loyalty’ during the visit of former party Rahul Gandhi to the coastal state on Friday.

Congress leader Rahul Gandhi.(PTI File Photo)
Congress leader Rahul Gandhi.(PTI File Photo)

The grand old party had seen mass defection of its legislators in the current term, with most of its members joining the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in 2019.

Election for the 40-seat Assembly in Goa has been scheduled for February 14 and the counting of votes will be done on March 10.

The party’s state unit will organise a program as part of Gandhi’s day-long visit wherein Congress candidates will swear-in their loyalty in his presence.

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“The party has designed a programme called Pledge of Loyalty at 1pm, wherein poll candidates and other leaders would take an oath of loyalty to the party in the presence of Gandhi,” a spokesperson for the Goa Pradesh Congress Committee (GPCC) told news agency PTI.

The Congress leader is set to hold a series of meetings with stakeholders, one of which would be with the party’s senior functionaries at the International Centre in Dona Paula, before overseeing the ‘pledge of loyalty’ programme. “On his arrival in Goa on Friday, Rahul Gandhi would first hold a meeting with the party leaders at the International Centre in Dona Paula near here,” the spokesperson said.

Later, Gandhi is slated to address a public meeting at the Sanquelim Assembly constituency, from where the BJP has fielded incumbent chief minister Pramod Sawant.

Congress saw many of its legislators leave the party in the recent past. In 2019, as many as 10 of its MLAs joined the ruling camp.

Recently, P Chidambaram, who is the party’s poll observer for Goa, said candidates have been selected keeping in mind the defections. “Loyalty was considered the top criterion,” he said.

“Next, the candidates spontaneously offered to take a pledge before a temple, church and a dargah. I think such a pledge has removed any lingering doubt about the loyalty of our candidates to the Congress Party and to the voters who will vote them to office,” he said.

The Congress is contesting in alliance with the Goa Forward Party (GFP).

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