Oppn parties object to Goa CM holding public meetings

Opposition parties object to Goa CM holding public meetings

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Opposition parties in Goa on Monday objected to Chief Minister Pramod Sawant addressing public meetings for upcoming Zilla Panchayat elections despite the coronavirus threat.

The election to all the 50 ZP constituencies are scheduled to be held on March 22.

At least one political party has suggested that the upcoming polls be postponed in view of concerns over novel coronavirus.

"When Andhra Pradesh can keep on hold its Zilla Panchayat elections for the next two months, Goa with a similar climate could also imitate Andhra," said Goa Forward Party (GFP) president Vijai Sardesai.

Referring to the campaigning for the polls by the Chief Minister, Sardesai alleged that the state government was not serious about coronavirus threat.

"The reaction of the government in Goa to deadly pandemic virus varies from port minister Michael Lobo saying that Covid-19 outbreak will increase tourism footfalls in Goa to party's Goa chief (Sadanand Tanavade) stating that voting for ZP elections is safe from the coronavirus spread as it will not be held in air-conditioned booths," he said.

Meanwhile, Goa Congress president Girish Chodankar said while the state government has invoked "draconian" Epidemic Diseases Act, 1897, the CM has been "defying" the precautionary warnings of his own government over coronavirus threat.

He said while the CM was not granting permission to other parties to hold meetings, the BJP is going ahead with it own meetings.

When contacted, BJP Goa president Sadanand Tanavade said the meetings called by BJP are of smaller groups.

"All those people who participate are party workers from respective villages," he said.

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