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Anti-BJP, anti-incumbency wind blowing in Goa: Chidambaram

It would be a Congress versus BJP fight in Goa and the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) and the Trinamool Congress (TMC) would remain on the fringes

Anti-BJP, anti-incumbency wind blowing in Goa: Chidambaram
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Anti-BJP, anti-incumbency wind blowing in Goa: Chidambaram 

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Asserting that the Congress and the BJP are the two main contestants in Goa, senior Congress leader P Chidambaram on Thursday said that if the AAP and the TMC fielded candidates and secured some votes in the upcoming assembly polls, in effect they would be splitting the non-BJP vote.

Chidambaram, who is the Congress' senior election observer for the Goa Assembly elections, also said that some days ago, the TMC hinted that it would like to form an alliance with the Congress and other parties for the state polls, and the AICC leadership was aware of the TMC's desire and it may have responded to the TMC, but he has "no official word or instruction" from the AICC on the matter.

In an interview with PTI, Chidambaram said there is a strong and intense "anti-BJP, anti-incumbency wind" blowing in Goa, and his party would appeal to the electorate that "Goa should be ruled by Goans". Asked about the TMC's strategy of taking in Congress leaders and then recently hinting at an alliance with all Opposition parties including the Congress, Chidambaram refused to directly comment on their strategy but said the Congress was "dismayed" when the TMC "lured" its MLAs to its fold. "We received credible reports that the TMC was actively poaching our members including block-level leaders, sarpanches, etc.," he said. "In the early days, the TMC's general secretary had declared that the TMC would contest in all the 40 seats and their aggressive approach seemed consistent with that objective. Some days ago, however, the TMC hinted that it would like to form an alliance with the Congress and other parties. I think the AICC leadership was aware of the TMC's desire and the AICC leadership may have responded to TMC," he said.

"I have no official word or instruction from the AICC on the subject matter," Chidambaram added. His remarks come days after the TMC's Goa in-charge Mahua Moitra's tweet on Opposition unity set off speculation over a possible grand alliance, including the Congress and the TMC. However, the Congress has dismissed talks of alliance with the TMC with AICC general secretary (organisation) KC Venugopal tweeting on Monday, "The rumour in circulation that a possible alliance with TMC was discussed by Shri @RahulGandhi in today's meeting is completely baseless & untrue."

"Let me assure that the Congress party is confident- we will put Goa back on the path to progress soon," he had said. Asked if he believes that it would be a Congress versus BJP fight in Goa and the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) and the Trinamool Congress (TMC) would remain on the fringes, Chidmabaram said every observer of Goa will agree that the two main contestants are the Congress and the BJP. The Congress has deep roots in Goa, a statewide cadre base and a long record of service to the people, he said.

"The AAP contested all 40 seats in 2017 and drew a blank. The TMC is a new entrant. The two parties do not have a cadre base in the constituencies. They have attempted to build their parties through defections from other parties, notably the Congress," he said. "We think that if the AAP and TMC fielded candidates and secured some votes, in effect they will be splitting the anti-BJP or non-BJP vote," he said.

Asim Kamal
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