Political alliances and internal party cohesiveness continue to remain fragile in poll-bound Goa with parties and candidates kick-starting their poll campaign regardless of their actions approved by either coalition partners or party higher-ups.
While the Congress is yet to formalise the seat-sharing arrangement with its ally, the Goa Forward Party (GFP), the latter has already commenced campaigning in the former Congress stronghold of Saint Andre Assembly constituency (in north Goa).
This led to resentment among Congress leaders in St. Andre, who have urged the Goa Congress leadership not to award the seat to the GFP.
Since Sunday, the GFP ‘candidate’ Jagdish Bhobe began a door-to-door campaign along with party president Vijai Sardesai.
‘Aim to defeat BJP’
Commenting on his party beginning the campaign without any arrangement or approval from the Congress, Mr. Sardesai said: “The focus of our coalition is to defeat the BJP. While the seat-sharing [with the Congress] will be decided in good time, if we sit tight, we will be giving the BJP an opportunity to cash in … our candidate has a good support base in Saint Andre. He is a fresh face. So, we are moving into the new year with new MLAs.”
The GFP’s move has caused consternation among the Congress leadership in St. Andre, which believes the seat ought to be awarded to a Congress candidate. Incidentally, the incumbent MLA Francisco Silveira was a three-time legislator from the Congress before he switched sides to the BJP in 2019.
Meanwhile, there were embarrassments for the BJP as well as the vice-president of the party’s women’s wing, Delilah Lobo, kick-started her campaign in the Siolim seat (in north Goa) even as the party has already named former Minister Dayanand Mandrekar as its candidate for the constituency.
Ms. Lobo is the wife of BJP Minister, Michael Lobo, who has been outspoken against his party of late. Mr. Lobo also joined his wife in a door-to-door campaign in Siolim, distributing manifestos and exhorting voters to bring about a change in the constituency. Mr. Lobo, Minister for Waste Management and MLA from Calangute, had even spoken of his willingness to leave the party if the BJP did not want him.