Senior Congress Leader P Chidambaram – The New Indian Express
NEW DELHI: Congress leader P Chidambaram said on Sunday that an alliance could not be forged between his party and the NCP-Shiv Sena for the Goa Assembly elections despite all efforts, but claimed that They would “remain friends” and after the election Congress would continue to explore possibilities of “working together” with them.
Chidambaram, who is the lead Congress election observer for the Goa Assembly polls, also slammed the TMC for its stings at the Congress for not forging an alliance with him, saying the party continued to poach Congressional leaders despite an offer of a rapprochement.
The senior Congressman said he had received no instructions from the party leadership to hold talks with the Trinamool Congress (TMC) and added that “I’m sure our leadership has considered all the facts and circumstances”.
In an interview with PTI, Chidambaram said the party would announce a name of chief minister before or after the elections would be decided after consultation with all candidates and the party would go by consensus among them.
He also claimed that the contest in the Goa polls is “between the Congress (plus the Goa Forward Party) and the BJP and we will be able to win a simple majority.”
Asked why the Congress has not been able to link up with other opposition parties, especially the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) and the Shiv Sena, Chidambaram said the NCP and the Shiv Sena are the Congress allies in Maharashtra and he would have liked them to be allies. in Goa too.
“We tried. They made some proposals. We made some proposals. Unfortunately, there was no meeting point. I recognize that both sides had constraints and despite our best efforts, we did not able to find a meeting point,” Chidambaram said.
“Nevertheless, we are friends and will remain friends. After the elections, we will continue to explore possibilities of working with the NCP and the Shiv Sena,” he said.
After the 2019 assembly elections in Maharashtra, the Shiv Sena, hitherto allied with the BJP, allied with the NCP and the Congress to form a government, which was named Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA) .
The Shiv Sena and the NCP had announced earlier this month that they would jointly contest the elections in Goa.
Asked about the TMC’s beards in Congress not to forge a bond with him, Chidambaram said he was unable to understand the TMC’s position.
“They entered Goa a few months ago and my distinguished friend Mamata ji said in Goa that TMC has formed an alliance and any other party is welcome to join their alliance. The General Secretary of TMC said that TMC will contest the 40 seats. Then they lured Congressman Mr. Luizinho Faleiro to TMC,” Chidambaram said.
Congress announced its first slate of nominees on Dec. 16, including the name of incumbent Congressman Reginald Laurenco, and four days later, on Dec. 20, Laurenco was admitted to the TMC, he said, detailing the sequence of events.
“On December 24, the vice president of TMC met with me and suggested that the two parties work together in Goa. I agreed to pass the suggestion on to our leaders, and I did so promptly,” he declared.
However, the TMC continued to poach our chiefs, sarpanches, panches, etc., for example in Vasco and Marmugao, he said.
“I have not received any instructions from our leaders to hold talks with TMC. I am sure that our leaders have taken into account all the facts and circumstances. As far as I am concerned, the matter ended there,” said said Chidambaram.
On the move of Congress MPs to the BJP in the current assembly and the steps the party is taking to prevent a repeat, polls in charge of Congress in Goa have said ‘loyalty’ is the party’s ‘top priority’ .
The most important measure ?? which has been implemented in 30 constituencies?? is that the candidates recommended by the Bloc were selected to contest the elections, he said.
“Blocks were asked to place loyalty as the first criterion. Then the candidates spontaneously offered to make a commitment to a Temple, a Church and a Dargah. I believe that such a commitment removed any lingering doubts about loyalty of our candidates to the Congress Party and to the voters who will elect them,” Chidambaram said.
Ahead of the election, congressional candidates, who have been hardest hit by defections in the BJP-ruled state over the past five years, made an ‘anti-defection pledge’ in front of a temple, church as well than a dargah.
Asked if the party would announce a CM face ahead of the polls, Chidambaram pointed out that he had said that “we should announce a CM name before or after the elections will be decided after consultation with all candidates.”
“We intend to do so. We will rely on the consensus among the candidates,” he said.
On whether the Congress would be open to a post-election alliance, Chidambaram said the contest was between the Congress (+GFP) and the BJP and expressed his confidence that his party’s alliance will be able to win a simple majority.
He said after the election, if other parties were willing to support a Congress-led government, Congress would take a call depending on the circumstances.
Chidambaram said the reactions from the field were “positive” and expressed confidence that the Congress alliance would do well as “anti-BJP sentiment” is accelerating daily.
After suffering from BJP “mismanagement” for 10 years, the people of Goa want a non-BJP government, he said.
Assembly polls for Goa’s 40 seats will take place on February 14.
In the Goa Assembly elections in 2017, Congress won 17 seats in the House and became the largest party.
But the BJP, which had won 13 seats, quickly linked up with some regional and independent parties to form the state government.