Ahead of the March 10 poll results, the Goa Congress is working on a strategy to ensure there is no repeat of 2017, where the grand old party won 17 seats, becoming the single largest party, but was unable to form the government.
Goa has 40 constituencies, and the number of MLAs needed to form the government is 21.
The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) is hoping to retain the state based on its development works, while the Congress is banking on anti-incumbency, and rising prices of fuel and other commodities.
Senior Congress leaders have already arrived in the state and are in touch with regional parties and independent candidates.
P Chidambaram, former union finance minister and observer for Goa, and desk in-charge Dinesh Rao have begun hectic political negotiations in the coastal state, in case of a hung assembly.
Speaking to the local media, Rao said, “The Congress is ready for a post-poll alliance with political parties that are against the BJP. This also includes the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) and Trinamool Congress (TMC), as long as their leaders allow.”
The AAP had contested the Goa elections without any pre-poll alliance, while the TMC had a pre-poll alliance with the Maharashtrawadi Gomantak Party (MGP).
Congress leaders both from the state and Delhi are meeting the candidates in Goa. Speaking to CNN-News18, a senior functionary from Goa Congress said, “Senior leaders will be meeting all Congress candidates individually. We are confident of forming a government and have learnt our lessons in 2017. We don’t want to repeat the mistake.”
Michael Lobo, who quit from the BJP and joined the Congress before the elections, too, is confident of a win. He is considered a kingmaker in North Goa. His wife, too, contested on a Congress ticket.
“We have the numbers and are in touch with political parties. We will go to the Raj Bhavan by 5pm,” Lobo told CNN-News18.
Lobo dismissed the speculations that the BJP is in touch with him, adding “the BJP knows it doesn’t have the numbers and hence is spreading false messages”.
With inputs from News18