'Will get Congress battle-ready for 2022 Goa polls'

Will get Congress battle-ready for 2022 Goa polls; select loyal candidates: P Chidambaram

Chidambaram said that replacing state leadership was not part of his mandate

Congress leader P Chidambaram. Credit: PTI Photo

The Congress will be battle-ready for the 2022 Goa assembly polls and the party will prop up "loyal" candidates who will not switch over to the BJP, former Union Finance Minister P Chidambaram said on Thursday while steering clear of media queries related to change in the party's state leadership and over the issue of patching up an alliance with like-minded parties.

The veteran politician was in Goa on a two-day visit to the state as the All India Congress Committee's senior observer to oversee processes linked to the state assembly polls, which are scheduled to be held in early 2022.

"My initial assessment is that the political atmosphere is extremely favourable to the Congress party. By all accounts, including accounts which I read in the media, there is an expectation that there will be a change in government and a new government led by the Congress will be formed after the elections," Chidambaram said.

"If that is the expectation of the people of Goa, I want to assure the people of Goa that we will not disappoint you. We will get the party ready for elections and we will present to the people of Goa a set of candidates who will be loyal, faithful to the ideology hardworking and will serve the interests of the people of Goa," Chidambaram further said.

When asked about the possibility of a change in leaders, as voiced by some senior state Congress leaders, including former Chief Minister Francisco Sardinha, Chidambaram said that replacing state leadership was not part of his mandate.

When asked if the party was seeking to forge an alliance with other like-minded political outfits in the state to take on the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party, the former Union Finance Minister said:

"Again that is not the mandate now. Those are matters which will be discussed if necessary at the appropriate time. But at the moment it is to get the party battle-ready in all the 40 constituencies".

Commenting on the disillusionment among the traditional Congress vote bank over the repeated saga of desertion of party MLAs to the ruling BJP, Chidambaram said: "... but (over) the last four and a half years he's (voter) even disappointed with the performance of the present government. He's even more disappointed with the failure of the present government".

"...I'm assuring him now that we will present a set of candidates who are loyal, who are faithful to the ideologies of the party and who will serve the interest of the people of Goa," Chidambaram also said. 13 Congress MLAs have quit the party to join the BJP since 2017.

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