A war of words between allies Cong, GFP in Goa over poll debacle
Panaji, Mar 19: A war-of-words have broken out between Congress and its ally Goa Forward Party following the poll debacle.
The blame game started after Congress' North Goa district president Vijai Bhike claimed that his party took the wrong decision to tie up with the GFP for polls. "I think we made a wrong decision by tying up with the Goa Forward Party as the alliance did not benefit Congress in any way but another party took advantage of it," Bhike told reporters at Saligao constituency in North Goa on Friday.
He attacked the GFP chief Vijai Sardesai saying that he failed to win the Mayem and Mandrem seats for the party candidates. The GFP's vote share fell to 1.8 per cent in the 2022 polls from 3.5 per cent in 2017, he said. In the recently-concluded elections, results for which were declared on March 10, BJP won the maximum 20 seats, Congress 11 (a loss of six seats compared to 2017), GFP 1 (loss of two seats), Maharashtravadi Gomantak Party (2), AAP (2), Revolutionary Goans (1), and Independents 3.
GFP candidates Santosh Kumar Sawant (Mayem) and Deepak Kalangutkar (Mandrem) slammed Bhike on Saturday. "One should recall that GFP president Vijai Sardesai had given a call for forming Team Goa (alliance) against BJP in 2020. However, Congress leaders didn't act on it until Sardesai met Rahul Gandhi in New Delhi and the alliance was forged for the 2022 polls," Kalangutkar said.
He said that even after Sardesai met with Rahul Gandhi, local leaders of Congress kept on saying that the "alliance is yet to be announced", which created doubts about the tie-up. "We condemn the statement of Bhike. I doubt whether Bhike is making such a statement after consulting his senior party leaders or is being dictated by someone else," Kalangutkar said. Sawant said that the people of Goa wanted to defeat BJP but the division of votes helped the saffron party.
"If the alliance had been forged one-and-a-half years ago, the results would have been different," he said. Questioning the 'delay' by the BJP in forming a new government in Goa, Congress had said a day before that it was ready to consider all possible alternatives to keep the saffron party away from power. A group of BJP legislators, however, asserted that the party will stake a claim to form government in the next four or five days.
The BJP emerged victorious in the recently-concluded elections by winning 20 seats, one short of the majority mark. The saffron party is yet to stake a claim to form the next government, which will be its third straight term. PTI