Congress, Goa Forward Party seal alliance ahead of Goa elections

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PANAJI: The Congress and the Goa Forward Party (GFP) on Saturday said they have formed an alliance to fight elections to 40-member state assembly in February-March next year.

The alliance would jointly take on the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in the forthcoming elections in the coastal state, Dinesh Gundu Rao, All India Congress Committee (AICC) member in-charge of Goa, said at a media briefing.

“The Congress and the Goa Forward Party have entered into an alliance for the forthcoming Goa assembly elections. After (GFP chief) Vijai Sardesai met our leader Rahul Gandhi in Delhi and expressed his support to the Congress, saying he wants to work with us to defeat the communal and corrupt BJP government in Goa and to bring about a change in the state, we welcomed his move,” Rao said. “We ironed out whatever small issues were there between us, and we are looking at a new beginning.”

Notably, the GFP had earlier shared power with the BJP in Goa, but withdrew support in July 2019 after all three of its legislators, including party president Sardesai, who was then deputy chief minister in the Pramod Sawant-led government, were dropped from the cabinet.

The alliance will liberate the state from the “autocratic government,” Sardesai said. “There is a need for like-minded people to team up. This is the team Goa. We will liberate Goa and give Goans justice.”

He added that political strategists are of the opinion that any political alternative in Goa cannot be envisaged without the Congress as the principal opposition.

“The entire public of Goa is against this government. But elected representatives are surprisingly joining it because of the high-handedness of the central leadership of the party… We will defeat these forces.”

Goa BJP spokesperson Urfan Mulla, however, questioned the state Congress chief’s change of mind to join hands with the GFP.

“State Congress president Girish Chodankar needs to explain how he changed his mind after repeatedly insisting that the Congress will not align with the Goa Forward Party and having accused the party of betraying the mandate and other misdeeds. The people of Goa will show this unholy alliance the door,” Mulla added.

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