NCP in Goa sticks to its demand for 10 seats from Congress

 
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Panaji, Apr 18 (UNI) The Goa unit of the NCP, an ally of the Congress-led coalition government here, stuck to its guns by reiterating its demand for leaving 10 out of 40 seats in the upcoming elections to the state legislative Assembly.

''This is to prevent communal BJP from coming back to power in Goa. All the ten seats we are demanding are held at present by the opposition, and not the Congress,'' its president and Deputy Chief minister Dr. Wilfred D'Souza told mediapersons here today.

Surprisingly, he was expected to go to Delhi today to negotiate with the Congress high command in presence of Goa Chief Minister Pratapsingh Rane, GPCC president Ravi Naik and his own party leaders including Praful Patel to thrash out a deal as announced by AICC general secretary in charge of Goa, Margaret Alva here yesterday.

Evading questions as to why he did not go to Delhi, he said the ten constituencies were Mandrem, Thivim, Mapusa, Siolim, Saligao, Panaji, Vasco, Cortalim, Fatorda and Benaulim now held by the opposition.

In its own interest, he said the Congress should concede its proposition to further renew its alliance, which it had with UPA government in Delhi besides Maharastra and Goa to ensure a new and secular government in Goa.

Meanwhile, the NCP general secretary Surendra Furtado warned that the party was ready to fight the elections on its own if the Congress continued to dilly-dally on a concrete alliance strategy with NCP for the polls.

In a statement, he said there was ''no question of compromise on the ten seats and if necessary the NCP would not hesitate to forge an alliance with secular and like-minded parties if the Congress cold-shouldered its proposal.'' He said the announcement by Congress leaders at the recent Fatorda meeting in South Goa highlighted the chaos and infighting within the Congress and therefore reiteirated that NCP was the best choice for a victory.

The declaration by Congress leaders that they were ready to allocate five seats was a ''joke'' since the NCP had been demanding ten seats with logical claims right from day one.

''The argument of chief minister and GPCC president that the Congress would notch 35 seats was a Congress dream, which will leave them day-dreaming for eternity. If the Congress is certain of 35 seats why was it talking of seat sharing arrangement with NCP'', he questioned.

He challenged any single party to get a majority on its own strength and reminded the Congress top brass the fate of the party during the recent Lok Sabha by-elections elections in Maharashtra.

''It's no secret that Congress depends on NCP for a thumping majority. If the Congress is pressurised by its party members to restrict the allotment of seats to NCP it will sound the death-knell of the Congress. This is the writing on the wall,'' he added.

UNI

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