Chidambaram, Gundu Rao to decide on Goa alliances: state Cong chief

Only Congress’ central observers are empowered to engage in alliance talks with the Nationalist Congress Party, party’s Goa unit President Girish Chodankar said on Friday.

“P. Chidambaram, our senior observer and in charge Dinesh Gundu Rao are on a three-day visit to Goa from today (Friday). As far as the alliance issue is concerned, this alliance issue is directly handled by them,” he told reporters, while refusing to comment on the NCP national General Secretary Praful Patel’s 15-day ‘deadline’ for the Congress to clear its stand on alliances.

While Gundu Rao is the party’s in-charge, Chidambaram has been appointed as a senior observer incharge of the 2022 Assembly polls.

Asked to comment on whether the possibility of 10 Congress defectors, who had joined the ruling BJP in 2019, now joining the NCP was deterring the coming together of the two parties, Chodankar said: “There is no chance for any defectors to enter Congress in any form. Front door, back door, side door no chance. We cannot fool the people of Goa. People of Goa are very smart, understand all these gimmicks. We are very clear. We are with the people of Goa.”

“None of these defectors will ever enter the fray through the support of Congress in any form. No chance. The doors are completely closed. We have made it clear again and again,” he added.

Earlier, another Congress leader Francisco alias Mickky Pacheco had accused Patel of trying to blackmail the Congress into an alliance.

“This is like a threat. No one needs to give a threat to the Congress.”

Pacheco’s comment comes a day after Patel said that the Congress must decide on an alliance with his party and other like-minded political outfits within 15 days.

Political parties in the state are in the process of working out strategies for the 2022 elections, with Patel rooting for an alliance of like-minded parties in the state, including the NCP and the Goa Forward Party.