To prevent horse trading and the repeat of the 2017 fiasco, the Congress top brass has asked its Goa candidates to stay in a hotel until Thursday afternoon, a day after the election results of five states, including the coastal state, will be declared, according to sources.
On March 10, most Congress candidates will not reach the counting centre, and will be represented by their election agents, the sources have added.
Goa Congress candidates from both north and south regions will most likely remain inside a hotel in northern part of the state.
Karnataka Pradesh Congress Committee president DK Shivakumar, who played a crucial role during the 2018 Rajasthan election, has also been dispatched to Goa. “I am sure on March 10, Congress will form the government in Goa…people want change. I will be in Goa to assist the leaders,” he told ANI.
All India Congress Committee (AICC) senior election observer P Chidambaram and in charge Dinesh Gundu Rao have been camping in Goa since Sunday, according to sources.
Goa Congress president Girish Chodankar has expressed confidence at winning the elections with 23-26 seats.
“The magic figure has been decided by the people of Goa. It will come out in the open soon. We are confident that we will win between 23 and 26 seats,” Chodankar said.
Congress leader Rahul Gandhi had met Goa candidates last week and held a review meeting with senior leaders. “Rahul Gandhi reviewed the political situation in Goa and discussed strategies for the post-election scenario with us. Along with [Congress general secretary] KC Venugopal and senior poll observer for Goa P Chidambaram, I attended the meeting in Delhi,” Gundu Rao said in a tweet after the meeting.
In the 2017 Goa election, Congress won 17 of 40 seats but due to slow decision-making, the BJP formed the government in the state with the help of smaller parties and Independents despite winning 13 seats.
Meanwhile, most exit polls have given the BJP an edge over other parties in Goa, with some predicting a majority for the party in the 40-member Goa Assembly, but chief minister Pramod Sawant appears to be more circumspect in his prediction of a likely post-poll scenario.
The ABP C-Voter Exit Poll has predicted between 13 and 17 seats for the BJP, and between 12 and 16 seats for the Congress. The AAP is projected to win 1-5 seats.
The India Ahead-ETG poll has predicted a near majority for the BJP with 20-22 seats, while the Congress and AAP are expected to get between 7-9 and 6-8 seats, respectively.
The India Today-Axis poll, however, has estimated that the Congress would win between 15 and 20 seats, while the BJP would win between 14 and 18 seats, with the Trinamool Congress-Maharashtrawadi Gomantak Party alliance winning between 2 and 5 seats and others 0-4 seats.
With inputs from News18