New Delhi: Former union minister P. Chidambaram on Sunday said the Trinamool Congress (TMC) and Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) are “fracturing” the non-Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) vote in Goa.
“I do not comment on the motives of any party. In a straight fight between the BJP and the Congress in 2022, the Congress will emerge as a clear winner,” Chidambaram said.
“The TMC and AAP are fracturing the non-BJP vote. Whether that will benefit the BJP, I cannot say,” he added when asked whether he believes that the TMC is helping the BJP and the Mamata Banerjee-led party along with the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) were acting as the BJP’s B-teams , PTI reported.
Chidambaram said the Congress will take a call on “whether it is desirable to announce a CM candidate before the election” after holding consultations with the party’s candidates.
“That option is open,” added Chidambaram, who is the Congress’ senior election observer for the Goa Assembly elections.
The senior Congress leader said that loyalty to the party and the electorate is the first criterion for selecting candidates for the elections.
Chidambaram expressed confidence that they will, when elected, remain loyal to both the party as well as the electorate.
Asserting the Congress is the only party that has deep roots in all the 40 assembly constituencies, Chidambaram said the people of Goa know that it is only the grand old party that has the ability to defeat the BJP despite its “money power and misuse of state power”.
Stressing that only two Congress MLAs have joined the TMC in Goa, the former union minister said it is not for him to comment on the motive or strategy of any party.
“Ninety nine percent of Congress workers remain with the Congress. I am not unhappy that Mr Reginaldo Lourenco defected to the TMC,” said Chidambaram.
“The TMC has taken a losing candidate from our hands and, if it fields him in the election, he will remain a losing candidate,” he added when asked about the recent resignations from the Congress with some quitting to join the TMC and West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee-led outfit adopting an aggressive pitch in Goa.
Chidambaram said the Congress workers and the voters of Curtorim assembly constituency are determined to defeat Lourenco in the upcoming polls.
Curtorim MLA Aleixo Reginaldo Lourenco resigned from the Congress earlier this week and joined the TMC. With his resignation, the Congress Party’s strength in the 40-member Goa Assembly reduced to two.
Commenting on the poll preparations and the party’s standing in Goa, he said the Congress’ slide took place in 2017 and 2019 when its elected MLAs defected to the BJP.
Alleging the BJP government in Goa is a government “of defectors, by defectors and for defectors”, Chidambaram said the saffron party has ruled for 10 years and ruined the state, especially its economy, environment and ethos.
“There is an overwhelming desire for change. The only party that has deep roots in all the 40 constituencies of Goa is the Congress. The people know that it is only the Congress that has the ability to defeat the BJP despite the latter’s money power and misuse of state power. We hope to do well in the 2022 elections,” he said.
Responding to a poser about the possibility of an exodus of the party’s elected leaders following the elections, Chidambaram said: “Nothing of that sort will happen. We have placed the responsibility of suggesting names of potential candidates on the Block Congress Committees and the Block workers.”
“We have asked them to recommend names based on loyalty, integrity, acceptability to the Congress workers and winnability among the electorate,” he added.
Asserting loyalty to the party and the electorate is the first criterion, the former union minister said: We will pick a candidate from among the names suggested by the Block Congress Committee of the constituency. We are confident that our candidates, when elected, will remain loyal to the party and the electorate.”
Commenting on the possibility of alliances in Goa, Chidambaram said: “I have found that, in Goa, it is a practice among political parties to talk to each other right up to the elections and even after the elections!”
“Our Goa PCC leaders have responded to suggestions for talks from other parties including the Goa Forward Party. There are opportunities, risks and bumps. The AICC leadership will take the final decisions,” he added.
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