Panaji: Senior Congress leader Rahul Gandhi on Wednesday held a meeting in Delhi with party leaders on restructuring the party organisation in Goa and also on appointment of Congress Legislature Party (CLP) leader.A national Congress leader, who had camped in Goa during the recently held Assembly elections, told this daily that Gandhi met senior leader from Goa, Girish Chodankar, All India Congress Committee general secretary K. C. Venugopal and Congress MP Rajani Patil. Former Union finance minister, who was the senior AICC observer to Goa for 2022 Assembly polls, P. Chidambaram and AICC secretary in-charge of Goa Dinesh Gundu Rao also attended the meeting that took place at 4.30 p.m. at Gandhi’s residence in the national capital.“During the meeting, suggestions made to Rajani Patil by party functionaries and MLAs from Goa were discussed and everybody’s including Girish Chodankar’s viewpoints were taken by Rahul Gandhi,” the leader said.“The discussions were not just for the appointment of CLP leader but complete state leadership overhaul. It was basically a complete restructuring of the PCC Goa,” he added. The central leader further said that the party will soon appoint the CLP leader. It is pertinent to note that after the defeat in the February 14 elections, the party leadership had appointed Patil as a central observer who was tasked with assessing the post-poll situation in Goa and suggesting changes in the party’s state unit. Sources in the party said Chodankar was summoned to Delhi by the party high command after Congress MLAs on Tuesday passed a resolution authorising interim AICC president Sonia Gandhi to select the CLP leader.Chodankar has already resigned as the president of GPCC taking the moral responsibility for the party’s defeat in the Assembly polls.
Margao: Reacting to the hike in prices of petrol, diesel and LPG, Congress termed the BJP government “insensitive” and “irresponsible” saying that it has “once again displayed its anti-people agenda by raising fuel prices immediately after assembly elections”. Congress general secretary and Cuncolim MLA Yuri Alemao and GPCC media cell chairman Amarnath Panjikar in a joint statement on Tuesday also criticised BJP for the delay in government formation in the state. Referring to an earlier tweet of Congress leader Rahul Gandhi wherein he had appealed to the people to fill their fuel tanks anticipating price hikes after assembly polls in five states, Alemao said that Gandhi was proved right once again. “Better late than never Narendra Modi ji. You have once again foolfilled the jumlas of BJP. Awaiting roadshow from vibrant Smriti Irani today,” Alemao’s tweet read. Alemao also slammed acting chief minister Pramod Sawant over his announcement that the swearing-in of the new government will be held on March 28. “Convenience of the people of Goa is more important than the convenience of Narendra Modi, Amit Shah and other BJP Leaders. Goa wants a full-fledged government in place immediately. Stop wasteful expenditure on event management and hold swearing-in in the darbar hall of Raj Bhavan immediately,” Alemao said in another tweet. “Prime Minister Narendra Modi has played a cruel joke on the citizens by hiking petrol, diesel and LPG prices. BJP’s election jumlas stand exposed,” Panjikar said. Both Alemao and Panjikar appealed to the people to question BJP over its “anti-people agenda” and to demand that BJP MLAs adopt austerity measures as the state treasury has “already been emptied by the previous BJP government”.
Staff ReporterMargaoThe Congress on Tuesday took to criticising the BJP over the central government’s recent fuel, LPG price and the state government’s delay in formation of the government.The party’s recently elected MLA from Cuncolim, Yuri Alemao took to criticising the BJP calling it insensitive and irresponsible and calling the developments an ‘anti- people agenda’.“The most insensitive, irresponsible BJP government has once again displayed its anti-people agenda by increasing petrol, diesel and LPG cylinder prices immediately after the assembly elections. The convenience of the people is paramount above the convenience of BJP leaders. The Goa Government›s swearing-in must be done immediately,” said Alemao.In a joint statement released by Alemao and GPCC media cell chairman Amarnath Panjikar, the party also referred to a tweet from Congress leader Rahul Gandhi earlier this month.“Congress leader Rahul Gandhi on March 5 had appealed to the people to make their fuel tanks full anticipating a fuel price hikes after the assembly polls in five states. He has been proved right again. As for the swearing in on March 28, the convenience of the people of Goa is paramount compared to the convenience of the Prime Minister, the Home Minister and other BJP leaders. Goa wants a full-fledged government in place immediately. Stop wasteful expenditure on event management and hold the swearing-in at the Darbar Hall of Raj Bhavan immediately,” said Alemao.Panjikar meanwhile said that even before the BJP government could be sworn-in, it had played a cruel joke on the citizens of the country by hiking petrol, diesel and LPG prices. The BJP’s election ‘jumlas’ stand exposed, he said.Both the leaders appealed to the people to question the BJP over its anti-people agenda and also demand that the BJP MLA›s to adopt austerity measures as the State’s treasury was made empty by the previous BJP government.
A senior leader of the party says the resignation has been acceptedPanaji: With Congress party facing defeat in the Assembly elections, Goa Pradesh Congress committee president Girish Chodankar on Tuesday tendered his resignation to the party high command in Delhi.A senior leader in the Congress party confirmed that Chodankar has sent his resignation through an email to All India Congress Committee interim president Sonia Gandhi.The leader claimed that Chodankar quit the top post taking moral responsibility for the defeat in the Assembly polls and went on to add that his resignation has been “accepted” by the central leadership.It is pertinent to note that Chodankar had resigned in June 2019 after the then national Congress president Rahul Gandhi stepped down taking moral responsibility for the big defeat in Lok Sabha elections.The GPCC and the Congress Legislative Party then had jointly passed a resolution urging Rahul Gandhi not to persist with his resignation and to continue to remain as the president of the All India Congress Committee.And as Rahul Gandhi refused to withdraw his resignation, after a month long wait Chodankar had tendered his resignation.But Chodankar’s resignation was rejected by the AICC and he had continued at the top job at the state level for the party. Subsequently, after facing defeat in the Zilla Parishad polls Chodankar submitted his resignation, however it was again rejected by the central party leadership.The Congress party, which contested the ZPelections in 37 segments, suffered a big defeat as they managed to bag only four seats. Despite repeated attempts, this reporter could not establish contact with Chodankar for comments.
MARGAO: Of the several new faces Congress fielded in South Goa, only one managed to win. Altone D’Costa (Quepem) who defeated former deputy chief minister Chandrakant Kavlekar in his debut elections, was the party’s sole victorious new face. Sankalp Amonkar (Mormugao) and Yuri Alemao (Cuncolim) who also won the polls for the first time, had contested earlier polls. Among those new faces who lost narrowly are Amit Patkar (Curchorem), Savio D’Silva (Velim) and Rajesh Verenkar (Ponda). Patkar lost to former power minister Nilesh Cabral by a slender margin of 672 votes. Congress leader Rahul Gandhi had addressed Patkar’s public rally in Curchorem a few days ahead of the polls, which also helped him come within striking distance of victory. Patkar’s defeat notwithstanding, political observers said that his vigorous election campaign helped revitalise the Congress camp in Curchorem. In Velim, Congress candidate Savio D’Silva was defeated by AAP’s Cruz Silva by a slim margin of 169 votes. AAP’s consistent groundwork in Velim over the last few years since it made its debut in the state’s assembly polls in 2017, paid dividends for the party this time. Significantly, Filipe Nery Rodrigues, a former minister in the outgoing government, who contested on an NCP ticket, was pushed to a miserable fifth position, largely owing to a robust performance by RG. Congress’ Rajesh Verenkar came a close third in Ponda where MGP’s Ketan Bhatikar lost to BJP’s Ravi Naik by a wafer thin margin of 77 votes. Verenkar closely trailed Bhatikar by less than 600 votes.
PANAJI: For a large part during the vote counting process on March 10, it had seemed like chief minister Pramod Sawant may be defeated by Congress’ Dharmesh Saglani in Sanquelim constituency. However, towards the final leg of counting, the proverbial tables turned, and Sawant was declared a winner by a margin of 666 votes. At the 2022 polls, Sawant was not the only one. At least ten candidates have won their seats by a narrow margin — wafer thin in some cases. After Sawant’s Sanquelim constituency, the most entertaining turned out to be the fight for the Ponda seat. Here, veteran Ravi Naik was almost toppled by MGP’s young candidate Ketan Bhatikar. But, after one of the rounds saw Bhatikar leading by just one vote, Naik asked for a recount, and the veteran won the seat for BJP by a margin of 77 votes. The margin was similarly dangerously thin in St Andre, where Viresh Borkar made history by winning the first ever seat for the newbee Revolutionary Goans (RG) Party by 76 votes only. Borkar defeated BJP’s Francis Silveira, who is now left blaming non-resident Goans for persuading family members in St Andre to vote for RG. Cruz Silva in Velim constituency also made history, winning a seat for AAP after Congress’s Savio D’Silva fell short by 170 votes. Independent Chandrakant Shetye was yet another newcomer who frustrated MGP’s Naresh Sawal in Bicholim, winning the seat by a margin of 318 votes. In Panaji, BJP candidate Atanasio Monserrate went public with his annoyance over the low margin of victory. Monserrate said BJP workers had worked against him leaving him sweating outside the counting centre until his win was declared by a margin of 716 votes over Independent Utpal Parrikar. The battle for Priol was also a seesaw as BJP’s Govind Gaude ended up the winner by 213 votes over MGP’s Pandurang Dhavalikar. Like Gaude, Nilesh Cabral was another cabinet minister who won by less than 1,000 votes. The difference of votes was only 672 between those polled by Cabral and those polled by Congress’ Amit Patkar. Like RG and AAP, TMC came really close to sending its first ever MLA to the Goa assembly, but their hopes were defeated in Navelim by BJP’s Ulhas Tuenkar won as Valanka Alemao fell short of 430 votes. Many politicians have already come out to state that RG was a key factor that chomped off votes in many constituencies, altering the results. Jit Arolkar of MGP gave BJP’s Dayanand Sopte a run for his money by winning Mandrem with a margin of 712 votes.
Margao: Former BJP minister Milind Naik failed in his bid for a fourth term, giving his bete noir — Congress candidate Sankalp Amonkar — victory in Mormugao constituency. While Naik was facing strong anti-incumbency, the lurid details and images surrounding his alleged sexual affair also proved too hot to handle in a constituency where female voters outnumber men, political observers said. For Amonkar, the adage ‘third time lucky’ worked like a charm, with the Congress vice-president claiming 54% of the votes. His victory breaks BJP’s chokehold over the constituency. Since 1977, Mormugao has been a Congress bastion except from 1989-99. It was Naik who started BJP’s winning streak in Mormugao in 2007. Amonkar bagged 9,067 votes while Naik, the sitting MLA, got 7,126 votes, a difference of 1,941 votes. All other candidates lost their deposits. In the 2017 state assembly elections, Amonkar came close to dethroning Naik, losing by just 140 votes. Naik was on the backfoot, fighting anti-incumbency, dissent within the party ranks, the scandal about his alleged affair with a woman and the anger over the coal dust settling in the constituency. tnnA local BJP karyakarta told TOI that the MLA could not counter the allegations raised by Amonkar. The electorate was also upset that jobs and contracts at the port were given to a select few who were close to Naik.Aware that BJP was on the backfoot, Congress MP Rahul Gandhi went campaigning door-to-door with Amonkar to try and press home the advantage.
Panaji: With memories of the 2017 election fiasco still fresh, Congress went into a huddle on Saturday in Delhi in a bid to prevent a similar outcome post-March 10, when the Goa assembly election results will be declared. Congress MP Rahul Gandhi chaired a meeting with the Congress state leadership and senior AICC functionaries to chalk out a post-result strategy to cobble up the numbers to fill up the deficit in its own tally. AICC general secretary K C Venugopal, former Union finance minister and senior election strategist for Goa P Chidambaram, Goa desk in-charge Dinesh Gundu Rao were present for the meeting, where Goa Congress chief Girish Chodankar and Margao MLA Digambar Kamat briefed Gandhi about the party’s prospects. Rao said that Gandhi reviewed the political situation in Goa and discussed strategies for a post-election scenario. Given that the party does not realistically expect to reach the desired figure of 21, Congress will need the support of the other non-BJP parties, said a party functionary. The challenge, he said, is to accommodate the other parties in the portfolio distribution while keeping the Congress flock intact. Despite emerging as the single-largest party in 2017, Congress tripped on its own feet while selecting its chief ministerial candidate, an embarrassing episode that Congress wants to avoid this time around. While Congress made it abundantly clear that Kamat is its de facto leader in the assembly, that has not stopped Calangute MLA Michael Lobo from publicly canvassing for the chief minister’s chair. “We had a strategic meeting with our Congress leader Rahul Gandhi on the Goa assembly polls in the presence of K C Venugopal, Chidambaram, Dinesh Gundu Rao and Girish. The Congress is all set to win the people’s mandate and form a people-friendly government,” said Kamat. Just two days after Lobo flew to Delhi to meet Venugopal, Chodankar and Kamat landed in Delhi for what was termed as a routine meeting. Lobo, a recent entrant into the Congress, is projecting himself as a powerhouse in North Goa, and his abrupt meeting with Venugopal raised several eyebrows within the Congress camp while also sparking speculation about his motives in rushing to Delhi. “Lobo is trying to play up his importance in the party. What he really wants is some big portfolios,” said a Congress party insider. Congress has brushed aside speculation that Lobo also met Union home minister Amit Shah during his brief trip in Delhi, with Chodankar saying that the “BJP propaganda machinery” is working on overdrive to demoralise the Congress candidates. When asked about the purpose behind his trip to Delhi, Chodankar said that he is in Delhi to meet a few Supreme Court lawyers to discuss the party’s move to approach the Supreme Court and challenge the recent high court of Bombay at Goa order upholding the dismissal of the disqualification petition. “Obviously, the party wants to be prepared. There are so many possibilities and it is clear that Congress cannot get the majority. We will have to get the numbers by forming an alliance with other parties but it all depends on the seats that they win,” said a Congress source. Congress has approached Aam Aadmi Party, MGP and independent candidates, while also sending feelers to TMC in a bid to keep the BJP at bay. Congress and Goa Forward Party fought the elections as part of a pre-poll alliance. The Congress leadership is also in the process of flying down senior AICC leaders to Goa ahead of the results to keep the Congress flock together and hold negotiations with other parties, something that did not happen in 2017.
Panaji: Congress distanced itself from South Goa MP Francisco Sardinha’s distasteful remarks about former chief minister Manohar Parrikar, with state party president Girish Chodankar saying that Congress does not endorse the remarks. Addressing a political rally at Curchorem and in the presence of Rahul Gandhi, Sardinha said, “People in old age want a pain free death. But Parrikar got a painful death with tubes in his nose.” Sardinha went on to call Parrikar a liar. “Goa Pradesh Congress commitee does not endorse the statements of the South Goa MP on Manohar Parrikar. Those are his personal statements and our party does not support those statements,” said Chodankar. Earlier, former finance minister P Chidambaram had also said that Congress does not “speak about those who have passed away”
A day after Prime Minister Narendra Modi claimed that India’s first PM Jawaharlal Nehru delayed the Liberation of Goa, Congress leader Rahul Gandhi said that Modi “doesn’t quite understand the history of those times, nor does he understand in detail what was going on post-World War-II”. Gandhi’s statement came during an interaction with reporters in Goa on Friday. “The PM’s role is to distract and take people away from the real issues. The PM cannot come to you today and say, ‘I gave you jobs, I fixed your problems, I stole your last government’. He has to distract you,” Gandhi said. Gandhi also said freedom fighters and academics have commented on BJP’s claims (regarding Nehru and Goa) when it was raised in the past. The former Congress president said every party has a particular role to play. His role, he said, was to ensure Goa gets a government that represents its voice, but the same can’t be said about the PM. “Did he speak about unemployment and environmental issues of Goa? The PM’s aim was to distract people,” said Gandhi, adding that the main issues before Goa are unemployment and the environment. “Yet, there was not a word on environment in BJP’s manifesto,” he said. Modi addressed a public meeting in Mapusa on Thursday, stating it is secularism when the government’s schemes reach to people 100%. Asked to comment on this, Gandhi said that the PM should tell the people of Goa what was done by its government in the last five years for Goa, its environment, and how many jobs were created.
Panaji: Union minister for women and child development, Smriti Irani, on Friday said Congress has enslaved its own candidates by making them take an oath to not defect from the party. “Congress, which enslaves its own candidates by making them take an oath, cannot serve the people and provide development in a democratic way. For the first time in their lives, 2.6 lakh people in Goa received clean tap water under BJP. Another one lakh received electricity connections for the first time because of the BJP government. Those who call BJP communal should know that electricity was not given on the basis of the beneficiary’s religion and creed,” Irani said. She said Congress also tried to poach BJP’s Margao candidate Manohar ‘Babu’ Ajgaonkar. “Babu bhai, I heard that Congress approached you. Congress is such that it cannot win elections on its own. Its leadership is such that they come to Goa and ask candidates to take an oath that they will not leave. If they do not trust their own candidates, why should voters trust their candidates?” Irani said. She also said that before voting on Monday, Goans should remember that Congress scion Rahul Gandhi had questioned the integrity of former CM Manohar Parrikar. “It is a thing of pride for the nation that Manohar Parrikar was its defence minister. It is under his leadership, under PM Narendra Modi, that Pakistan was made to bite the dust when it set its sights on Indian territory. When the country was united and Modi was praising Parrikar, Rahul Gandhi raised questions on Parrikar’s integrity. That is why I say vote in Parrikar’s memory, for India’s pride,” said Irani. She further claimed that parties like AAP have tried to stop development works from progressing in Goa.
Margao: Congress leader Rahul Gandhi on Friday assured that the party, once it forms the next Goa government, would resume mining “in a legal and sustainable manner”, even as he said Congress wouldn’t allow Goa to become a coal hub. Addressing a rally at Curchorem, a mining-affected constituency and through which the railway double track passes, Gandhi called into question BJP’s assurance of mining resumption. Pointing out that there’s been no mention of the environment in BJP’s manifesto, Gandhi said, “That’s because they want to convert Goa into a coal hub. Goans will not get any benefit out of it. We will do whatever it takes to ensure Goa is not turned into a coal hub, just the way we got the farmers’ bills scrapped,” Gandhi said. He also dished out several assurances. “Poor people will be given Rs 6,000 per month, which will be credited directly into their accounts. Women will get 30% reservation for government jobs. A Rs 500-crore provision will be made in the first budget to create employment opportunities, which will be invested for mining resumption and reviving tourism,” he said. Congress Curchorem candidate Amit Patkar assured to resolve the unemployment issue on priority.
Shah, Rajnath Singh blame Nehru for delay in Goa’s liberationSankhali/Ponda/Vasco: Union Home Minister Amit Shah on Wednesday asserted that mining operations will resume in full swing through the mining corporation six months after new chief minister of the BJP assumes power upon the February 14 assembly elections.Addressing a public meeting at the Hirabai Zantye memorial hall at Bicholim, Shah appealed to people to support the BJP to make Goa a golden state.Shah said, “I have prayed to goddess Shantadurga for the prosperity of Goa.”Blaming the first prime minister Jawaharal Nehru for the delay in liberation of Goa, he said that Nehru’s leadership was not decisive. Otherwise Goa would have become independent in 1947 itself.People want to choose between Congress leader Rahul Gandhi and Prime Minister Narendra Modi. The Congress gave instable governments while the BJP gave governments of development and stability, he maintained.Remembering former chief minister Manohar Parrikar, Shah recalled the contributions made by Parrikar.“The Congress did nothing. But now the BJP-led government at the Centre provided crores of rupees to Goa, and has brought about development,” he maintained.Shah addressed a public meeting at Sankhali, praising Chief Minister Pramod Sawant for his work in the last three years.The Union Minister took part in the door-door campaigning in Mayem assembly constituency.He also visited Shri Shantadurga temple and took blessings.Defence Minister Rajnath Singh was also in the state for canvassing, urging Goans to vote for the BJP.Addressing a public meeting at Ponda, Singh stated that no other party other than the BJP has strengths to develop Goa and make it a top destination of world tourism.“Only the BJP can do it; it is possible if the state and central governments are run by the same party,” Singh reckoned.He criticised the Congress on several fronts, maintaining that Goa would have been liberated soon after the country’s independence, if Congress leaders of that time had shown the courage to do so.The Defence Minister also addressed a huge public meeting in Vasco, where he recalled the promise of citizenship made to the persecuted minorities in neighbouring countries.“The minorities in Pakistan and Afghanistan are persecuted and troubled for the sake of being minorities. We promised them citizenship and a right to leave with respect in India. We have fulfilled our promise after coming to power with majority at the Centre.”On religious structures, Singh said, “We respect all religions and religious structures. No structure – whether a temple, a mosque or a church – should be demolished. The temple (Ram Mandir) was demolished by the foreign invader Babar. Now it is being reconstructed by the people and the government.”Paying tributes to Parrikar, Singh said that Goans are very warm, simple and welcoming. This nature was seen in Parrikar, who reflected the true spirit of Goans.“Entire world knows how kind and warm the people of Goa are. They respect everyone and do not differentiate,” the Defence Minister stated.
Panaji: Congress leader Rahul Gandhi, who was in Goa on Friday and interacted with reporters, refused to take questions on the Karnataka ‘hijab row’, saying that he was in the state to interact with the people of Goa. “My focus is the Goa elections. I will not fall into the trap and will get into a conversation on issue A and issue B,” Gandhi said. When the question was repeated, he said, “I will not get into a conversation that will distract the people of Goa. I’m very clear about my mission and will focus on what is important for the people of Goa.” tnn
Panaji: Congress leader Rahul Gandhi said that unemployment is a critical issue, but for places like Goa, the environment issue is central. Congress will resist the three linear projects and will not allow Goa to be turned into a coal hub, Gandhi said during a media interaction on Friday. “We are not going to allow Goa to become a coal hub as it is not in the interest of the state. Congress is against the three linear projects. We will resist the idea of projects just as we opposed the farm laws. We will not let them happen,” said Gandhi, adding that some may wonder how a state Congress government will do it when the projects are decided by the Union government. He said the Congress government will focus on turning Goa into an IT and knowledge hub so that young Goans can get jobs in the IT industry. “We are going to allow legal and sustainable mining. This will open large numbers of jobs to the people of Goa. Tourism is a huge asset that Goa has. I’ve spoken to different stakeholders in the tourism industry and I have a plan to completely rejuvenate the tourism industry,” Gandhi said, replying to a query about how his party will create job opportunities. Stating that the party has not taken a wrong decision by denying tickets and entry to defectors, he said Congress will get a majority and “will act immediately” to form the next government. In the 2017 election, Congress, with 17 MLAs, was the single-largest party but delayed in formulating a plan to form an alliance government. “This time, we are going to get a solid majority, and we are going to act immediately to ensure that we have a government in Goa. We won’t fall short. We will be above the majority mark with ease,” Gandhi said. Congress has been in a pre-poll alliance with the regional party GFP, and has shared three seats with it for the 40-member Goa legislative assembly.
PANAJI: Congress leader Rahul Gandhi, who was in Goa on Friday and interacted with reporters, refused to take questions on the Karnataka ‘hijab row’, saying that he was in the state to interact with the people of Goa. “My focus is the Goa elections. I will not fall into the trap and will get into a conversation on issue A and issue B,” Gandhi said. When the question was repeated, he said, “I will not get into a conversation that will distract the people of Goa. I’m very clear about my mission and will focus on what is important for the people of Goa.” Goa Congress president Girish Chodankar clarified that Gandhi speaks on national issues, but his Goa visit was purely to speak about problems concerning the state. Later, Gandhi addressed public meetings in Curchorem and Curtorim.
BICHOLIM: Chief minister Pramod Sawant said Congress MP Rahul Gandhi’s visit to Sanquelim two days ago will not impact BJP as far as share of its votes in the constituency are concerned. Gandhi’s meeting in the constituency will not impact BJP by even 1%, Sawant told a gathering during a road show in Sanquelim town on Sunday. Sawant said that after realising that only BJP can continue the all round development of the state more and more people have started joining BJP. He said that during the 2012 election former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh too had visited Sanquelim, but had not affect BJP votes, on the contrary BJP won the seat by a big margin. The entire Siddhivinayak temple committee joined BJP on the occasion.
Sankhali: Chief Minister Pramod Sawant has said that in the next five years, a new plan will be prepared for the prosperity of the state.Sawant during a road show criticised Rahul Gandhi “for coming as a tourist.”Sawant said that when the then Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh had come down to Goa for campaigning in 2012, BJP had won by record number of votes. Even with Rahul Gandhi’s visit, Congress will not get votes. The opposition is spreading propaganda but it has no effect on BJP, said Sawant.Maharashtra BJP vice-president and MLA Chitra Wagh said that Goa is an ideal state where there is peace, order and good governance with good facilities.
PANAJI: Lashing out at Congress MP Rahul Gandhi over his claim that Goa has not seen any development, chief minister Pramod Sawant said that there is no substance in the claim by Gandhi who was on a visit to Goa “like a tourist”. The chief minister said that people should not go by what Gandhi is saying as they are here and have witnessed the kind of development that has taken place. “Rahul Gandhi comes to Goa once in a year like a tourist and makes allegations. There is no need to go by Gandhi’s allegations. Goans practically know what we have done, and these are baseless allegations. Gandhi is like a politician on a Goa tour.” Last Sunday while on campaign trail, Union home minister Amit Shah had said that the Gandhi Parivar used the state only as a “tourist destination” and if Congress formed the government in the state, it would only be a “vacation spot for their leaders”. Reacting to the Congress MP’s claims that the government had failed in Covid management, providing employment and to boost tourism activities, the chief minister said, “Gandhi was in Goa for holiday. If he cannot see so much development in the state, then I fail to understand what he is doing in Goa. Nobody needs to take him seriously.” In view of Congress asking its candidate to take a loyalty pledge and sign an anti-defection affidavit, Sawant said that Congress candidates have to say again and again that they are loyal to the party. “Congress does not have faith in them, and the Congress leadership does not trust its candidates and even Gandhi does not trust them,” he said. The chief minister said that a few days ago, Congress took its candidate to a temple, mosque and church and administered the oath that they will not leave Congress. “When Congress does not have trust in them, then how will people of Goa have confidence in them?” Sawant said. Congress does not know when they will leave the party and that is the reason people of Goa have confidence in BJP and its candidates, he said. “Definitely that is the reason people are supporting BJP. We are getting good response in all constituencies,” he said.
Ludhiana: Just two weeks ahead of assembly polls in the Congress-ruled Punjab, party leader Rahul Gandhi on Sunday ended months of suspense by announcing incumbent Charanjit Singh Channi as the party’s chief ministerial face for the polls.Accepting the decision, state party chief Navjot Singh Sidhu, who was in the race, hugged Channi on the stage as Gandhi announced his name after over 45 minutes of his speech, televised across the 117 assembly seats. Political observers believe the decision of the Congress to go to the polls in the state, which is witnessing a five-cornered contest, under the leadership of three-time legislator Channi, the state’s first Dalit Chief Minister, is to woo the Dalit Sikh votes that constitute 32% scheduled caste population in the state, the country’s largest.“The people of Punjab have said, not me, the thought is theirs, not mine, that they want a person from a poor household as the CM. We want someone who understands poverty, hunger, and fears of the poor. Punjab’s CM candidate is Charanjit Singh Channi Ji,” said Gandhi during his address at the ‘Aawaz Punjab Di’ virtual rally.He praised Channi for his humble background.Getting emotional on the announcement of his name, Channi said that he has always been honest, never took a penny from anyone, and will continue to work honestly.“This is a big battle which I can’t fight alone and I don’t have the money, courage to fight it,” he said, adding, “The people of Punjab will fight this battle.”Channi became the CM after the unceremonious exit of Amarinder Singh over allegations of being hand-in-glove with the Akalis for not fulfilling the 2017 prominent poll promises – acting with an iron fist against the drug mafia and justice for the sacrilege of 2015 that led to protests and the deaths of two persons in the subsequent police firing.The Congress announcement of the CM’s face came after the AAP declared comedian-turned-politician Bhagwant Mann as its chief ministerial candidate on January 18.Before the formal announcement by Gandhi, Sidhu said, “I have accepted Rahul Gandhi’s decision… If I am given decision-making power, I will finish the mafia, improve people’s lives. If not given power, I will walk with a smile with whomever you make the CM.”Responding to the Congress announcement, AAP Punjab co-incharge Raghav Chadha tweeted, “It is indeed sad that out of 3 crore Punjabis, the Congress party chose a person who is accused of illegal sand mining and transfer posting scam as their CM candidate.”Political observers told IANS that it was a tough task for the party high command to choose Channi, a Dalit Sikh, over Sidhu, a Jat Sikh, in a state with a population caste mix of roughly 32% Dalits, 30% Jat Sikhs and 40% the rest.
Panaji: A clear majority for the Congress-Goa Forward alliance will put an end to the current trend of defections in the state, said Goa Forward Party (GFP) president Vijai Sardesai on Saturday. Sardesai released his manifesto for Fatorda constituency and said that the alliance partners will pursue a “development by consent” model. Sardesai said that many workers of other political parties, including BJP, are supporting GFP and working against BJP. “Goa’s image has taken a beating because of its politics, a replay of the ‘Aaya Ram, Gaya Ram’ trend. I assure Goans that a clear majority for us will put an end to defections,” said Sardesai. Sardesai said that the synergy between Congress and GFP was evident at the political meeting held by Congress MP Rahul Gandhi at Sanquelim. “When Rahul Gandhi spoke, he covered the development by consent model, something we have been implementing in Fatorda for the last 10 years,” said Sardesai after which he released his party manifesto for Fatorda. The Fatorda MLA said that while many supporters of other political parties are ready to join GFP, he has decided not to induct members of other parties as it would spoil the reputation built till now. He also said that Thane BJP MLA Sanjay Kelkar is in Goa to lure people of other political parties. He pointed out that nearly 50% of the BJP candidates are prone to defections while 75% of the Congress-GFP candidates are fresh faces. Sardesai said that his manifesto is an “answer paper” for people’s suggestions and questions. “Fatordekars will decide the type and form of development they want. Not like the BJP’s model of development, in which the amount of commission decides development priorities. People’s wishes are bulldozed, something which I have not allowed in Fatorda,” said Sardesai.
Staff ReporterVascoThe Congress’ media in-charge for Goa Alka Lamba cautioned the people of Goa that voting for any other party and their candidates would indirectly result in voting for the BJP, adding Goa is going to witness a straight fight between the Congress and the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).She urged Goans to vote for the Congress to replace hatred with love, disharmony with harmony and division of society with unity. Lamba was addressing a public meeting at Baina on Saturday evening while campaigning for the party’s Vasco candidate and ex-MLA Carlos Almeida.Lamba said, “Last time we got only 17 seats. We did not backstab Goa and Goans, it was BJP which, with its money power, blackmailed the Congress MLAs and formed their government. These MLAs backstabbed Goa and Goans, and we made sure that none of them would get the Congress tickets this election.”She assured the voters that every promise made by Rahul Gandhi would be implemented and they will form the government at the Centre in 2024. “This time, 80% of candidates are new faces, educated and without criminal background. We want a change and the feeling is same. Unlike the BJP who have crossed all lines by allotting tickets to MLAs involved in corruption, sex scandals, etc,” she said.Appealing to Goans not to fall prey to works related to highways and other infrastructure, she alleged that “it was for the sake of two industrialist friends of Prime Minister Narendra Modi for whom the BJP wants to convert Goa into a coal hub.”Speaking about former chief minister late Manohar Parrikar, Lamba said, “Today the party has stooped so low that they failed to acknowledge the efforts of people who helped the BJP take shape in Goa.”Almeida said that “while being an MLA, I tried to bring in many projects in Vasco but the government always kept giving assurances. Today, I can say that things were intentional as they had a hidden agenda and it is in front of all.”
PANAJI: Attacking BJP for forcing unwanted projects to benefit a select group of industrialists, Congress leader Rahul Gandhi on Friday said that if his party forms the government in Goa, it will follow a ‘development by consent’ model. Addressing a rally at Sakhali, the constituency currently represented by chief minister Pramod Sawant, Gandhi reiterated a statement he had made in the Lok Sabha, attacking BJP for dividing the country into “two Indias” — one for the rich capitalists close to BJP and the other struggling for their basic needs. Rahul Gandhi visits Ganesh temple at Desai Nagar, Sakhali“BJP does what it wants without talking to the people,” said Gandhi. “We will talk to people before making a decision.” “It will be a partnership between Congress and the people of Goa.” Gandhi was on a day-long visit to Goa ahead of the February 14 assembly elections. The results will be declared on March 10. Congress candidates sign a pledge of loyalty to the party on FridayAside from assuring people that the three linear projects coming up in the Mollem Wildlife Sanctuary would be scrapped, Gandhi also said the state would not be allowed to become a coal transportation hub. He even promised a direct cash transfer of Rs 6,000 every month to the state’s poorest citizens. “If Goa becomes a coal hub, coal which benefits nobody in Goa, then the tourists will say they don’t want to breathe coal dust. We will not allow Goa to become a coal hub at any cost,” said Gandhi. Senior Congress functionary and election strategist P Chidambaram, former Goa chief minister Pratapsingh Rane, Margao MLA Digambar Kamat, Goa desk in-charge Dinesh Gundu Rao, AICC general secretary K C Venugopal, MP Francisco Sardinha, Ramakant Khalap, and others were present for the rally, which was streamed virtually at over 10 other locations. Gandhi said that the implementation of the Nyuntam Aay Yojana (NYAY) will be a historic decision for Goa as it will help in poverty alleviation. He also said the party will focus on generating employment. “We know how to create employment. Congress has shown it in the past and we can do it again here in Goa,” he said. While appealing to voters to support Congress, Gandhi said that voting for the TMC or AAP would be a waste of votes. Kamat, in his address, blamed BJP and former chief minister Manohar Parrikar for halting mining and pushing people towards unemployment. “There was prosperity during the Congress government, but BJP gave only poverty,” he said.
The grand old party releases poll manifesto along with vision document 2035Panaji: Senior Congress leader Rahul Gandhi on Friday released the party manifesto in Sankhali along with vision document 2035 for the upcoming Goa assembly elections, promising 30% reservation for women in government jobs and capping of prices of petrol and diesel at `80.The Congress said that it will also encourage the private sector to reserve jobs for women and assured to implement the Pan India NYAY scheme of the party, which aims at empowering every poor family with a monthly financial support of `6,000 to take care of their domestic expenditure.The party also promised to allocate `500 crore in the first budget and replenish it as and when required so as to support programmes that will promote employment for youth. The party also assured to provide subsidy to those employers in the private sector who employ Goans up to 50% of their total employment in the business unit/organisation.Youth achievers in sports will be entitled to reservation in government jobs, according to the Congress manifesto. The party assured to take immediate steps for resumption of legal and sustainable mining activities in Goa and create a task force for setting up the requisite machinery to analyse ore for precious metals and rare earths.The Congress has vowed to protect the rights of Goans with regard to the River Mhadei and said that no west-flowing river flowing through Goa shall be allowed to be diverted. Public gaming activities including casinos will be brought under the office of the gaming commissioner and the office will be suitably empowered, states the manifesto.The Congress party has assured the people to scrap the controversial three linear projects, investment promotion board and repeal the Coastal Regulatory Zone (CRZ) notification of 2019 and Section 16-B of the TCP Act.In the manifesto, Congress said that conversion of sanad under Land Revenue Code will be granted or refused within 15 days of the receipt of the application. The party has promised to provide free education to poor and deserving students till graduation besides free skill-oriented training. Apart from this, Congress said smart phones and laptops will be made available to students. The party has assured that Konkani and Marathi will be increasingly used for all official purposes. The Opposition party has said that if voted to power, it will set up a testing laboratory to ensure availability of unadulterated food products including fish.Earlier in the day, all 40 candidates of the Congress party-Goa Forward Party alliance took a pledge of loyalty to the party in the presence of Rahul Gandhi at a function held at the International Centre Goa, Dona Paula. Three Goa Forward Party candidates, led by Vijai Sardesai, vowed to be in alliance with the grand old party.All 37 Congress candidates signed an affidavit wherein they stated that upon being elected from the constituency and becoming an MLA, they shall not leave the original political or the legislature party under any circumstances or join another political party or declare themselves as an Independent MLAs.
‘The new government will take people into confidence over all issues’Sankhali: Announcing to pay Rs 6,000 each a month to every needy family in the state, Congress leader Rahul Gandhi has said that every decision will be taken by the new government by taking the people of the state into confidence.“We don’t want coal but we want tourism to regain full pace. Our slogan is to create employment opportunities and come up with new schemes. This is an election that will determine the future of the state. Both the BJP and the Congress are fighting in this constituency, so vote for the Congress. Don’t even think of the other party,” Gandhi said at a public meeting at Sankhali.While criticising the monopoly of the central government, he said, “This government has created a gap between the rich and poor. The rich government faces no law but poor people get nothing, no food, no umbrella, no health, no one cares, so now forget BJP.Our government will give people whatever they want,” he said. He appealed to all to work together and form a Congress government with an absolute majority in the state.“When the time came to merge Goa with Maharashtra, it was not the government but the people of Goa whoasked to keep Goa independent. The new government will work considering what is expected by the people of Goa,” he said.“The Centre and the state BJP are imposing decisions on the people without thinking and people are realising the serious consequences. No one in the state will be afraid, no one will go hungry if Congress comes to power,” Gandhi said adding, “The BJP government has completely failed.”Earlier, Gandhi visited the Lord Ganesh Temple at Desai Nagar Sankhali where a large number of workers were present.
PANAJI: On being left with just two MLAs with the worst ever defections that Congress witnessed in Goa since 2017, it decided to go AAP way. On Friday, its 37 candidates in fray for the February 14 Goa Assembly elections, took a ‘loyalty pledge’ in the presence of Congress leader and MP Rahul Gandhi. Three candidates of Congress’ alliance partner, GFP also took the ‘loyalty pledge.’ In the 40-member Goa Legislative assembly, as a pre-poll alliance arrangement, Congress has shared three seats with GFP. The congress and GFP candidates vowed that they “will not defect” during their five-year term after being elected on their respective party tickets nor will they contest elections on another party symbol by resigning from their respective parties before their term ends. They will complete their full term and will serve the people of Goa with full honesty and loyalty. The signed affidavits were submitted to Congress leader Rahul to be presented to Congress national president Sonia Gandhi. The trend of making candidates sign affidavits to be faithful to the party they are elected on was started by AAP in Goa, but last month in its first attempt to keep the flock together, Congress also made its candidates take wow before gods of various faiths, stating they will not desert the party after the election for possible benefits for being with the ruling party. The AAP has been trying to make inroads into Goa, chiefly eying on Congress’ vote share, and one of its planks to win those votes in these elections has been that voting for Congress candidates is futile as anyways they will leave the party, once elected.
Panaji: BJP state president Sadanand Shet Tanavade on Wednesday said that Congress and AAP can make its candidates take all the oaths in the world, but the oath at Raj Bhavan will be taken by BJP MLAs on March 10. Tanavade was reacting to AAP national convener Arvind Kejirwal’s announcement that his party candidates would give affidavit copies to all voters swearing not to defect on being elected. “We do not need to give any oath to our candidates. Our MLAs will take oath at the Raj Bhavan once our government is elected,” Tanavade said, adding that BJP will be elected with a simple majority and no ‘outside support’ will be required this time. “All of them know that BJP will be elected with a majority. If they were confident of forming the government would they have given such oaths to their MLAs? They fear that if one MLA is elected, they may try to merge their party. That is why Congress has also given its candidates such oaths. This time we will not require any outside support,” he said, adding that Congress will be reduced to single digits this time. “Prashant Kishore thought that putting up TMC posters everywhere will create an atmosphere favouring the party. But Goa is different. This poster baazi (poster-driven politics) does not work here. The minute posters are pulled down, people forget and that is what TMC has seen happening now,” Tanavade said. Praising the Union Budget, Tanavade said that infrastructure, tourism and organic farming in Goa will receive a boost. He said the Budget aims to encourage green projects, while also creating employment. “Optic fibre connectivity announced is the need of the future to go digital. We have seen how many students in Goa faced issues due to internet connectivity. Optic fibre connectivity will address this,” the BJP state president said.
GOA: Congress MP Rahul Gandhi arrived in Goa for a day long visit and campaigned door to door for the party in Mormugao constituency. He went door to door with Mormugao Congress candidate Sankalp Amonkar and asked locals about their jobs, their aspirations for Goa and concerns about their constituency. He inquired about the impact of Covid and if the Congress candidate helped the family during the pandemic. “Tell me what do you want the Congress party to do for Goa,” said Gandhi while in conversation with a family. The locals complained about the rising unemployment in the state and harassment from the local BJP MLA.. “Focus on employment,” said Gandhi turning around to state Congress president Girish Chodankar. Gandhi visited several homes, spending close to 15 minutes in each home. Most of the homes are in the vicinity of Mormugao Port Trust, a major port that focuses on coal and iron ore. A local girl also raised concerns about coal pollution and how it is affecting her bronchitis. Gandhi interacted with representatives from the private sector, tourism industry, fishermen and anganwadi workers. Later in the day, Gandhi is scheduled to hold a public rally in Goa chief minister Pramod Sawant’s constituency Sakhali where he will be releasing the Congress party manifesto.
Panaji: Congress leader and MP Rahul Gandhi during his visit to Goa on Friday will make door-to-door visits at Sada in Mormugao taluka and later interact with Congress candidates at Dona Paula to guide them. Congress has fielded candidates in 37 constituencies, while its alliance partner, GFP is contesting in three. Gandhi will also meet tourism stakeholders, including shack owners, representatives of the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) and anganwadi staff. Later in the day, he will attend a virtual rally ‘Nirdhar’ in Sakhali constituency which is represented by CM Pramod Sawant. This will be Gandhi’s second visit to Goa since the party started gearing up for the polls. In October last year, in addition to attending a public meeting at Dona Paula, he had also met representatives of the mining sector and fishermen community. Gandhi is also expected to meet senior party functionaries before leaving the state. Originally, Gandhi was scheduled to campaign in Goa on February 2, but his arrival was deferred due to his Parliamentary commitments.
Margao: “Kamal pe nishaan,” he said to a group of Muslim women standing on the roadside staring intently at the cavalcade of cars that entered the interior narrow road of the village. Handing them pamphlets, he introduced to the women the BJP candidate for Sanvordem: “Ye hai aapka ummidwar, Ganesh Gaonkarji.” It took a while for the women to let the fact sink in that the man who asked them for votes was none other than Union home minister Amit Shah. Shah, before addressing a public rally at Sanvordem, decided to join Gaonkar in his door-to-door campaign. He visited a few houses located meters away from the venue of his public meeting. It was while he was moving from one house to another that Shah noticed the group of women and decided to break the security protocol and have a word with them. And to make sure the women understood Shah’s message, a beaming chief minister Pramod Sawant who accompanied him, stressed that their vote has to be for BJP this time. The women, apparently, were overwhelmed with all the attention they had attracted — the clickity clack of the cameras, the slogan shouting partymen et al. “Vijay aso,” they said, as if on cue, responding to a slogan, as Shah and Sawant regrouped to visit the next house. Sanvordem constituency is the hub of mining activities and the closure of the industry has hit the livelihoods of the people of this area very hard. Political observers feel that Shah’s visit to the constituency and his interaction with the villagers was planned by BJP’s election managers in an attempt to reassure voters that the party has their backs and that the good ol’ days will be back soon. The constituency is also hit by rebellion as Deepak Pauskar, after being denied the party ticket resigned as PWD minister and from the party’s primary membership to contest as an independent. Gaonkar, who has now been nominated by BJP, was defeated by Pauskar in the 2017 assembly elections contesting on MGP ticket. Pauskar later joined BJP in March 2019. Sources said that selection of some houses for Shah’s door-to-door visits was also aimed at controlling the damage caused by the rebellion. Shah was welcomed into the houses with aartis by the women of the household. As 8-year-old Aarush, son of panchayat member Amey Naik offered Shah a rose to welcome him, Shah advised the boy to take the initiative and “awaken” the people to vote wisely. “Aarush, aapko jaga dena hai sabko,” he told him. Shah didn’t cross the threshold of any of the houses he visited. However, the sheer presence of the second-in-command in BJP, at their doorsteps with hands folded in greeting, was something to cherish for a lifetime for most. “This was the most momentous moment of my life,” said Nilkant Naik, ex-sarpanch of Sanvordem, whose was the first house Shah dropped in after alighting from his car.
Cong men-Gandhi meet todayPanaji: Candidates of the Congress party will take a pledge of anti-defection in the presence of senior Congress leader Rahul Gandhi on Friday at a hotel in Dona Paula.Gandhi will arrive in the state on a day-long visit wherein he will address a rally and also interact with representatives of the industry including tourism stakeholders.“Congress candidates are scheduled to meet Rahulji at the International Centre Goa where they will take pledge of party loyalty,” said Goa Pradesh Congress Committee (GPCC) spokesperson Sunil Kawthankar.The candidates of the grand old party recently took a pledge of loyalty towards the party and the people at the Mahalaxmi Temple, Holy Cross shrine and a dargah.Congress had emerged as the single largest party in the 2017 elections. However, the party has now been reduced to only two MLAs.Congress has been facing mass defections over the last five years. Hence, for the February 14 assembly polls, the leadership is taking all precautions with an aim of changing the way people perceive its elected representatives.President of GPCC Girish Chodankar had said that the party leadership has worked out a legal measure to keep its flock intact. Soon after arriving in the state, Rahul Gandhi will attend a door-to-door campaign at Sada in Mormugao at 10 a.m. He will then hold a meeting with candidates at the International Centre Goa, Dona Paula at 12.30 p.m. At 2.15 p.m., he will hold a meeting with representatives of tourism, shack owners and Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) representatives at the same venue. In the evening, at 4 p.m., he will attend ‘NIRDHAR’ virtual rally at the Sanquelim municipal ground.Meanwhile, the All India Congress Committee (AICC) has released the list of its star campaigners for the Goa assembly polls. All India Congress Committee president Sonia Gandhi, senior party leaders Rahul Gandhi, Priyanka Gandhi Vadra, Shashi Tharoor, P. Chidambaram, Sachin Pilot, Kanhaiya Kumar, Ashok Gehlot, Randeep Singh Surjewala and Mallikarjun Kharge are among the 30 members, who will campaign for the party in the state.
Panaji: Congress on Tuesday announced that Rahul Gandhi has postponed his visit to Goa from February 2 to February 4 due to his parliamentary commitments. The Budget session is underway and Gandhi will be presenting his views on the budget in the Parliament on February 2, All India Congress Committee (AICC) spokesperson Alka Lamba told reporters. “We have decided to postpone his Goa visit. Secondly, he will visit Chhattisgarh on February 3 to attend various programmes,” Lamba said. During his Goa visit, Gandhi will interact with representatives of the tourism sector, anganwadi workers and others. Besides, he will address meetings of workers and guide Congress candidates for the February 14 Goa assembly elections. This will be Gandhi’s second visit to Goa since canvassing for the assembly elections picked pace a few months ago. During his one-day visit in October last year, he had addressed a public meeting as well as connected with the local communities. Of the 40 constituencies, Congress is contesting in 37 while its alliance partner, GFP, will contest in the remaining three.
PANAJI: Congress leader Rahul Gandhi’s February 2 visit to Goa has been postponed to February 4 due to his parliamentary commitments. Since the budget session has been underway, Gandhi will present his views on a budget in Parliament on February 2. “We have decided to postpone his Goa visit. Secondly, he will visit Chhattisgarh on February 3 to attend various programs,” Alka Lamba, All India Congress Committee (AICC) Spokesperson told reporters on Tuesday. During his visit to Goa, Gandhi will interact with representatives of the tourism Sector, Anganwadi workers and others. Besides, he will address meetings of workers and guide candidates of the Congress for the February 14 Goa assembly elections. This will be Gandhi’s second visit to Goa since canvassing for the assembly elections picked pace a few months. During his October one day visit last year, he had addressed a public meeting as well connected with the local communities. Of the 40 constituencies, Congress has been contesting in 37 constituencies while three constituencies it has given to its alliance partner, GFP.
Staff ReporterPanajiThe All India Congress Committee media in-charge Alka Lamba said that Congress leader Rahul Gandhi will be visiting Goa on February 2 for the party’s poll campaign and will interact with the people of the state. Addressing the media on Sunday, at the Congress House, Lamba informed that Rahul Gandhi will also interact with all the 40 Congress candidates along with the alliance partner Goa Forward Party.Lamba stated that Congress supporters from across the state will be connected virtually for the meeting. “He will meet stakeholders from the tourism industry, anganwadi workers, taxi operators and others to discuss the change Goa is looking for. In the evening at 4, he will address a meeting at Sankhali,” she said.President of Goa Pradesh Congress Committee Girish Chodankar, senior vice- president M. K. Sheikh, Vithu Morajkar, Himanshu Tivrekar, Naushad Chaudhary, Samir Raikar and others were present on the occasion.“I am optimistic that Goans will support Congress party during the forthcoming assembly election to form a stable, strong and honest government,” she maintained. Chodankar observed that Goa is still grappling with so many issues at present. Hence, Goans have decided to combat those problems very wisely, he said.“People of Goa want a change and this can be seen when we campaign. They have decided to send BJP home, because it has marred the development of the state and has done destruction of the environment by bringing three linear projects,” he added.“People’s determination will bring change in Goa,” he said, adding if voted to power Congress will revert many decisions of the BJP government.
Panaji: Congress leader Rahul Gandhi will visit the state on February 2 for the party’s poll campaign and will hold a public meeting at chief minister Pramod Sawant’s constituency, Sakhali, in the evening where he will interact with voters and party workers. Gandhi will interact with the party’s candidates for the coming assembly elections, said state Congress president Girish Chodankar. Chodankar said Gandhi will release the party’s manifesto after meeting representatives from the tourism industry, anganwadi workers and others to discuss the change Goa is looking for. AICC media in-charge for Goa, Alka Lamba said that Gandhi will address Congress supporters from across the state through the virtual mode as the party has decided to limit the number of participants due to Covid-19. Lamba said Gandhi will also meet the candidates and functionaries of GFP, which is fighting the elections in alliance with Congress. Chodankar said that Congress has named this rally as ‘Nirdhar’. “People’s determination will bring change in Goa,” he said. Maharashtra Congress president Nana Patole will be in Goa from January 31 to February 2 to assist Congress with the assembly campaign. Meanwhile, the party observed the 74th death anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi where Goa desk in-charge Dinesh Gundu Rao accused BJP of invoking Gandhiji’s name only when it serves their interest. “BJP uses Gandhiji’s name only for self promotion, but their policies and programs are against his principles. BJP never accepted him as the father of the nation and a leader,” Rao said.
Staff ReporterVasco/Sanvordem/PondaAssuring Goans to restart mining within six months of forming government in the state, the Union Home Minister Amit Shah on Sunday said the Chief Minister Pramod Sawant has been following up the mining issue with the central ministry. He said Goa will soon see one of its most important industries restarting.Speaking at a meeting in Vasco on how the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) will benefit Goa with its double engine government, Shah said, “Congress can give government to Goa but only a corrupt family government. On the other hand, a government by BJP is based on patriotism. Goa will become world famous as a tourist spot. The Prime Minister Narendra Modi took steps like holding a BRICS summit in Goa and made it popular across the globe. The infrastructure being put in place here will attract more international tourists to Goa and it will benefit Goans at large.”Shah said Goa is important to BJP, as Modi was nominated as the prime ministerial candidate in the state and his phase of success started from this place. Talking about making Goa an educational hub, Shah said, “We have to understand the geography of the state and then formulate programmes. The BJP government will come up with higher education and technical education centres, which will help the youth in getting employment.Goa can have qualified sailors by obtaining education from its shipbuilding and marine colleges.”He said, “Political tourists who have come to Goa are promising many things, as they know that not a single candidate fielded by them will get elected and they will not have to fulfil their promises. But, BJP is a party, which keeps up to its assurances and fulfils them.”The Union Home Minister paid tributes to former chief minister late Manohar Parrikar.Recollecting his efforts in building BJP in Goa and giving it a solid platform, Shah said the BJP is in Goa to take the vision of Parrikar ahead. During his virtual interaction, he conversed with a representative each from different towns of the state. Top leaders of BJP from Goa were present on the occasion.Earlier, addressing party workers in Sanvordem, Shah said the BJP will retain power by winning more than 22 seats at the February 14 assembly elections.He said the party has made good progress in the last ten years by increasing the number of colleges, police stations, police personnel and school teachers in the state. He said the state government has also renovated many religious places and cultural centres and added that the state has made remarkable progress by reducing the crime rate by 50%. The Goa government also deserves a pat on its back, as Goa has been the first state to achieve the target of 100% vaccination against COVID-19, he said.Shah, along with others leaders of the party, also visited some local houses in Sanvordem and interacted with the people after distributing the party pamphlets.Earlier in the day, Shah addressed a public meeting in Ponda where he said the BJP is working on fulfilling the ‘Golden Goa’ dream of former chief minister late Manohar Parrikar.Criticising the Congress party and its senior leader Rahul Gandhi, Shah said Goa is only a tourist destination for the Gandhi family, which, he said, visits the state often. “But the BJP is focusing on fulfilling the dream of late Manohar Parrikar,” he said.Shah said that in the year 2013-14, when Congress-led government was ruling at the Centre, Goa received a fund of only Rs. 432 crore, while during Modi’s tenure, the state received Rs. 2,566 crore as fund last year for various projects.Claiming that Rahul Gandhi is suffering from ‘Modi-phobia’, Shah said Gandhi posts only negative thoughts on social media. “People of Goa need to choose between BJP’s ‘golden Goa’ and Congress’ ‘Gandhi parivar ka Goa,’” Shah said.Prior to the public meet, Shah offered prayers at the Sai Baba Temple in Borim. He was accompanied by top leaders of the party from the state.
Panaji: Union home minister Amit Shah on Sunday said that within six months of forming the government, BJP will resume mining activities in Goa through e-auctioning of iron ore dumps in a transparent manner. “I want to say that after the election, through e-auctioning in a transparent manner, Goa’s mining industry will function with double force,” he said, adding that this mining promise would find a place in BJP’s manifesto. Addressing a public meeting in the mining belt constituency of Sanvordem, Shah said that after examining the SC order, CM Pramod Sawant visited Delhi four times. “Mines minister Pralhad Joshi and I held several meetings with the attorney general and solicitor general, and found a way. For this, the government of India came out with a special dumping policy, and after that Sawant has already formed the Goa Mineral Corporation,” Shah said.