Goa assembly election 2017: MGP, Shiv Sena, GSM form grand alliance

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Panaji, Jan 10: In a move that could queer the pitch for the ruling BJP, Maharashtrawadi Gomantak Party (MGP), Goa Suraksha Manch (GSM) and NDA ally Shiv Sena on Tuesday formed a "grand alliance" for Goa Assembly elections next month.

While GSM was floated by RSS rebel Subhash Velingkar, MGP, the oldest regional outfit of the state, recently severed its ties with the BJP and pulled out its two ministers from the Laxmikant Parsekar cabinet. "All three parties will opt for seat sharing during the upcoming Goa polls. This would be a grand alliance between like-minded forces," MGP leader Sudin Dhavalikar told reporters here in the presence of Velingkar representing GSM and Sanjay Raut of Shiv Sena.

GSM leader Subhash Velingkar

The alliance, which will be contesting 35 of the 40 seats in the Assembly, declared Sudin as it chief ministerial face. The partners, however, did not say what its stand is going to be in the remaining five segments.

Dhavalikar said Shiv Sena will contest four seats- Saligao, Thivim, Cuncolim and Mormugao, and GSM on six- Siolim, Panaji, Mayem, Sankhali, Curchorem and Velim constituencies. For the remaining seats, MGP will field it candidates. Shiv Sena, a partner of the BJP at the Centre and in Maharashtra, is making a serious bid in Goa for the first time.

"Once we form the government, the first and foremost decision would be withdrawal of government grants to schools having English as Medium of Instruction (MOI)," Velingkar told reporters. He said education in English is against the universal principles and unnatural as worldwide it is established that teaching should be only in mother tongue.

Notably, Velingkar was relieved of his responsibilities in the RSS after he attacked the BJP Government in the state as part of his agressive campaign for primacy of regional languages like Marathi and Konkani over English in education. The partners also decided to form a co-ordination committee with Velingkar as its convenor.

"The co-ordination committee will be a channel for all the three parties to communicate among themselves," he said. The alliance will draw up a common minimum programme, which would be the focal point of the campaign. Responding to a question, Raut said the alliance between Shiv Sena and BJP in Maharashtra was the longest political understanding in the country which was broken by BJP for political benefits (in 2014 Assembly polls). "Shiv Sena is known for abiding by alliance and it will also do the same in Goa with allies," Raut added.


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