Cong, BJP main protagonists in Goa; other parties not in fray: Rahul

The main political protagonists in the February 14 assembly polls in Goa is the Congress and the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), Congress leader Rahul Gandhi said on Friday, while urging voters in the coastal state to steer clear of other political parties in the fray.

Gandhi also expressed confidence that the Congress would come to power with a full majority, while adding that the party’s government would take decisions based on consultation with the people of the coastal state.

“We need one assistance from the people of Goa. The fight is between the BJP and the Congress and not the other parties. Do not waste your vote. If you waste your vote, then you will stand to lose,” Gandhi told an election rally at Chief Minister Pramod Sawant’s Sanquelim assembly constituency in North Goa.

“We want a Congress government with a full majority. Every vote is precious. We want a full majority. You ensure that a vote is not wasted. Give the Congress party your vote. Fight together and elect a new Goa new government who will listen to you before taking decisions,” he said, adding that the rest of the political parties (Trinamool Congress, Nationalist Congress Party and the Aam Aadmi Party) are not even in the fray in the February 14 elections.

The former Congress president also said that the Congress had taken a conscious decision to not allot tickets to defectors.

“This time, the Congress party decided that defectors, who have betrayed, we will not give them tickets. We have kept that promise and fielded new candidates. The Congress is coming back to power with a full majority in Goa,” Gandhi said.

Gandhi also said that once the Congress forms a government in Goa, it will make decisions based on consultation with the local population, citing the example of the historic Opinion Poll of 1967, which allowed the newly liberated territory of Goa to decide whether it wanted to be carved as a new entity in the Indian union of states or merge with the neighbouring state of Maharashtra.

“There was an opinion poll in Goa. The Congress did not make a decision or the PM did not make a decision, the people of Goa were asked. It is your state, what do you want? You decided that you want to stay separate. What you said in the Opinion Poll became a law,” Gandhi said.

“Our work will be to deliver to you what you want for the state of Goa. That will be our work. If we really want to serve you, then this work will not be done without speaking, discussing with you. The biggest difference is that the BJP government does what it wants without consultation. You have seen it yourself,” he said.

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