A day after AAP leader and Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal disparaged the Congress in Goa, senior Congress leader P. Chidambaram on Monday retorted by stating that the electoral contest in the coastal State was only between the BJP and the Congress.
In a series of tweets, Mr. Chidambaram, who is the Congress’s senior election observer for the Goa Assembly poll to be held on February 14, riposted that parties such as the AAP and the Mamata Banerjee-led Trinamool Congress would only fracture the non-BJP vote in Goa.
“The contest in Goa is between Congress and BJP. My assessment that the AAP (and the TMC) will only fracture the non-BJP vote in Goa has been confirmed by Mr. Arvind Kejriwal,” tweeted the former Union Minister.
Remarking that the choice before the voter in Goa was “stark and clear”, Mr. Chidambaram said: “Do you want a regime change or not? I appeal to the voters of Goa to vote for a regime change and vote Congress.”
He further stated that those voters who indeed wished for a regime change “after ten years’ of [the BJP’s] misrule” would vote for the Congress while the others “would continue to vote for the BJP.”
On Sunday, Mr. Kejriwal, who unveiled the AAP’s vision document for Goa, said that his party had come forward as “a fresh hope” for Goans frustrated with the politics of older parties such as the Congress, the BJP and the Maharashtrawadi Gomantak Party (MGP) – each of which had formed governments for long periods in the coastal State.
Targeting the Congress in particular, the AAP national convenor had questioned why anyone among the Goan public would vote for the grand old party, given that elected Congress legislators often switched over to the BJP once the elections were over.
“Why will people vote for the Congress? Like the AAP has given guarantees [of free electricity and education, among other things] once the polls are over, the Congress’s guarantee is that if you vote for them, they will go over to the BJP,” Mr. Kejriwal had remarked.
Alluding to the mass defection of 10 Congress MLAs to the BJP in 2019, the AAP leader had pointed out that while the Congress had had 17 MLAs after the 2017 Assembly election, the party today had reduced to a mere two MLAs.