Goa parties set to switch gears as election day approaches

Goa parties set to switch gears as election day approaches

With the Assembly elections barely a week away, political parties in Goa appear set to switch gears, with the Congress and the BJP roping in their star campaigners and other regional outfits also upping the ante during poll campaigns.

The ruling BJP, which is contesting 37 of the 40 Assembly seats, should get a boost, with Prime Minister Narendra Modi scheduled to address a rally in Panaji on Saturday.
Top BJP leaders and Union ministers, namely Nitin Gadkari, M Venkaiah Naidu, Smriti Irani and Ananth Kumar, have also campaigned in Goa.

The BJP and the AAP are contesting the February 4 election, sans an alliance.“We do not need an alliance. Our performance has been effective and we will return with a mandate of 26 seats,” state BJP president Vinay Tendulkar told DH.

 The party has been battling dissent in at least three Assembly seats, namely Bicholim, Mayem and Canacona, from members who were denied tickets. The BJP is expected to release its poll manifesto on January 29, which according to Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar, will focus on the eradication of unemployment.

“Our aim is to ensure that no youth in Goa is unemployed in the next five years,” he said.

Vying for seats
The only party contesting all 40 seats is the AAP, whose chief ministerial candidate Elvis Gomes has already released a comprehensive manifesto, which focuses on the significant enhancement of monetary social schemes and promises to eradicate corruption and casinos.

“The AAP is the only alternative in these elections. People are tired of the corrupt BJP and Congress parties, which have betrayed their confidence over and over again,” Gomes told DH.

The Congress, which is battling dissent from its own party members over ticket distribution and alliance negotiations, is contesting 37 seats.

AICC general secretary Digvijay Singh said there is severe anti-incumbency against the BJP in Goa. “The BJP rule has been synonymous with misgovernance and corruption. This election will see their decimation,” Singh said.

The Maharashtrawadi Gomantak Party or MGP (22 seats), Goa Suraksha Manch (5 seats) and Shiv Sena (3 seats) alliance poses a threat to the BJP. All three parties have been critical of the saffron party and its minority “appeasement” policies.

The MGP was formerly part of the BJP-led ruling alliance and the Manch is mentored by former RSS leader Subhash Velingkar, who has vowed to defeat the BJP. “The election will mark the end of Parrikar as a remote-control chief minister,” Velingkar said.
DH News Service

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