Panaji, Jan 28: After losing the coastal state to BJP in 2012 polls, the Congress party is now looking to revive its fortunes in Goa through upcoming state legislative assembly elections. The party has fielded candidates on 38 out of the total 40 seats, while it has roped in the support of its own expelled leader Atanasio Monserratte in Panaji constituency and Independent legislator Rohan Khaunte in Porvorim.
Both the candidates are not contesting on Congress official symbol. We want to give a clean government to Goa. People discarded Congress in the year 2012 with a hope of some changes. But BJP has proved them wrong. BJP-led government has been a indulging in U-turns on all the fronts, All India Congress Committee Secretary Girish Chodankar told.
Chodankar, a leader of Goan origin who is attached as AICC Secretary to party vice president Rahul Gandhi, has been camping in his own state for last four months overseeing the partys campaign. He said the Congress has consciously introduced a mix of new and old faces who are fielded from different constituencies. When we began the first challenge we took steps to reach to grass-root level. The party existed in all the constituencies but the only task was to revive the support, Chodankar said.
The Congress party also saw change in guard during last two years with former State Chief Minister Luizinho Faleiro taking over as partys Goa chief. Faleiro is now contesting from his traditional Navelim constituency in South Goa. Chodankar said that Congress manifesto for Goa polls has been prepared after taking inputs from cross section of people.
We have included all the aspirations of the people. If we form the government, all the promises in the manifesto would be fulfilled, he said. The Congress has assured to ban Casinos, get Special Status for the state, provide free five litres of petrol to the students, review all the investments done under Investment Promotion Board amongst other things.
The party which was infested with internal bickering till recently seems to be going united but has not provided any chief ministerial face during the campaign though former chief ministers--Luizinho Faleiro, Pratapsinh Rane and Digambar Kamat--- are contesting on its ticket. In the run up to the polls, it was expected that Congress would have alliance with forces like Goa Forward and Nationalist Congress Party (NCP).
The prelude to the election was witness to series of meetings to cobble an alliance. At the eleventh-hour, Congress refused to have pre-poll ties with any party but instead opted for seat sharing arrangements at few places.