The Shiv Sena and Sharad Pawar-led NCP on Wednesday decided to forge a pre-poll alliance for the next month’s Assembly elections in Goa, saying that the Congress didn’t respond to their proposal for a joint contest. Speaking to reporters, Sena MP Sanjay Raut said that the next government in Goa, currently ruled by BJP, would not be formed without the involvement of Sena and NCP.
Senior leader Praful Patel said the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) and Sena will field candidates on at least 10-12 seats each. ”The NCP tried to talk to Congress in Goa for a pre-poll alliance. We told them that let’s work together so that we can be able to take on the government,” Patel said in a joint press conference with Raut. Patel said Sanjay Raut had also made a similar offer (to Congress) for a joint contest with Congress as the main party. “But this proposal of ours was not responded to. We felt that the Congress party was not giving us the due respect that we deserve,” the former Union minister said.
He said Sena and NCP will contest on a substantial number of seats, at least 10-12 by each party. Goa has a total of 40 seats. Raut said that Congress may be thinking that it can form a government on its own. We wish them all the best, he added.
“NCP and Shiv Sena have decided to contest the elections in Goa. We will not contest on all the 40 seats, but our nominees will win the seats we field them,” he said, adding that the next government would not be formed without the involvement of Sena and NCP.
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The NCP had won one (Benaulim) seat in the 2017 Assembly elections.
The lone NCP MLA, Churchill Alemao, recently merged the Goa legislative unit of the NCP in the Trinamool Congress. The Shiv Sena is not represented in the Goa Assembly. The electoral battle for Goa has become multi-cornered with the entry of Mamata Banerjee-led TMC and aggressive campaigning by the AAP.
So far, poll tie-ups were forged between the regional Maharashtrawadi Gomantak Party (MGP) and TMC, and between the Congress and the Goa Forward Party (GFP). In the 2017 elections, the Congress had emerged as the single-largest party in Goa by winning 17 seats in the 40-member House, but could not come to power as the BJP, which bagged 13, allied with some independents and regional parties to form the government under Manohar Parrikar (now deceased).