No party wants to go with BJP, claims Goa Congress chief ahead of poll results
Goa Congress president Girish Chodankar expressed confidence that the smaller parties, most prominently the Maharashtrawadi Gomantak Party (MGP), will join the Congress in a post poll scenario.
PANAJI: Expressing confidence that the smaller parties, most prominently the Maharashtrawadi Gomantak Party (MGP), will join the Congress in a post poll scenario, Goa Congress president Girish Chodankar said that the Bharatiya Janata Party’s (BJP) betrayal of the MGP was still fresh in the minds of the regional forces.
“Over the last 2 terms, the BJP has betrayed various political parties and independents – the MGP, Goa Forward and various Congress MLAs who defected. When the Congress took people along, it has always given respect to them. We have not betrayed anyone. The BJP has destroyed those people who helped them. The people of Goa have not forgotten this. People have no trust in the BJP. There is no party left in Goa which wants to go with the BJP,” Chodankar told reporters on the eve of the counting.
The party has also begun sequestering its candidates in a hotel on the outskirts of the state capital in anticipation of a hung assembly and wary of the attempts by the BJP to poach their MLAs. While the party has maintained that they were there to celebrate the birthday of leader of opposition, Digambar Kamat, it is understood that the candidates will stay there until the counting day and possibly beyond in order that they can be quickly shifted to the governor’s residence should they display a show of strength.
“The people of Goa felt that the Congress candidates, who they had cast votes for, should stay together like a team because people are worried about the fact that despite voting against the BJP, they hijack the government. It is not going to be possible this time. Our candidates are new and young and they want to stay like a team. This has given them an opportunity to get to know one another. That is why we are staying together. We have not forced anyone,” Chodankar said.
The Congress has exuded a quiet confidence that they have already won over the MGP. Multiple Congress leaders have said that the MGP will not be aligning with the BJP in a post poll scenario even as the party has welcomed all non-BJP parties into the government whether they need the numbers or not.
“We have spoken to everyone who has fought against the BJP. We know we will get an absolute majority, still in the interest of making this government truly of the people of Goa, we want to take all political parties together. Independents and several others are in touch with us. Some independents want to identify with us right away, while some are looking to see which way the wind will blow. It is up to them. We are not going to use pressure tactics. Independent candidates and political parties have understood the sentiment of the people of Goa and nobody wants the BJP back in power,” Chodankar added.
The party has also deputed Karnataka Congress president D K Shivakumar, Karnataka MLA Satish Jarkiholi and Maharashtra minister Sunil Kedar to Goa to oversee the counting day and the post poll situation.
The Trinamool Congress (TMC), which contested the election in alliance with the MGP, has flown down senior party leaders Abhishek Banerjee and Derek O’Brien and poll strategist Prashant Kishore ahead of counting and is expected to discuss various post poll scenarios with its alliance partner in the state.
“We do not mind joining any anti-BJP alliance provided the party forming the government is willing to accept our demand that the 3 schemes we had promised the people before the elections are implemented,” Trinamool spokesperson Trajano D’Mello said.
The Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) too revealed that its party leaders were in touch with the Congress.
“The Congress has reached out to us but a final decision will be taken by the party leadership depending on the numbers,” AAP state convener Rahul Mhambre said.