PM Modi, Amit Shah to visit Goa after Jan 28: state BJP

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WITH THE Election Commission allowing public meetings of candidates from January 28 for Phase 1 and from February 1 for Phase 2, the Goa BJP announced on Sunday that national leaders of the party, including Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Home Minister Amit Shah and BJP national president J P Nadda, are expected to arrive in Goa January 28 onwards. Assembly election will be held in Goa on February 14.

Goa BJP President Sadanand Tanavade said that Union minister Smriti Irani and BJP’s Goa election in-charge Devendra Fadnavis were also expected to participate in “small gatherings” that the party will organise in the days ahead.

Tanavade also told reporters that Goa BJP will release its manifesto in the first week of February. The BJP has decided to field candidates in all 40 assembly constituencies in Goa. Thirty-four candidates were recently announced and they are already on a door-to-door campaigning spree, the BJP said.

A day after the Congress’s 36 election candidates took a pledge of loyalty in a temple, church and mosque and swore that they will not defect to another party if elected on a Congress ticket, Tanavade said this was “unfortunate” and the party had no faith in its election candidates.

“Political parties should not do this. It’s an unfortunate decision. They should have faith in their candidates. But in their experience, they first had 17 seats (after 2017 assembly polls) and now they are left with two. If they were confident that they would get a full majority, they would not have done this unfortunate thing. They know they will not get a full majority and the BJP will come to power that is why all candidates were made to do this. If the party that has declared the candidates has no faith, why should the people of Goa have faith in them?” said Tanavade.

After Utpal Parrikar, son of late defence minister and former Goa Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar, BJP veteran and former chief minister Laxmikant Parsekar also quit the party on Saturday after he was denied a ticket to contest the upcoming poll. Like Utpal, Parsekar has announced that he will contest the upcoming poll as an independent candidate.

Tanavade said, “Laxmikant Parsekar took an unfortunate decision yesterday. He has been the president of the party twice and also the chief minister. In 2017, he lost the election to Dayanand Sopte, who was in Congress at the time. The issue of tickets is not decided by the state leadership, winnability is also a criterion…. Only being an MLA or getting a post is not serving the party. He had been given due respect. He was called to Delhi twice and he did go. After all this, his decision is unfortunate and wrong. We feel bad because we have worked together for so many years but it does not make a difference to the party.”

Answering questions about choosing Atanasio Monserrate, the sitting MLA from Panaji, over Utpal Parrikar, Tanavade said Monserrate had served as a minister in his cabinet of Manohar Parrikar in 2002. “What we know about working for the party, we have learnt from Manohar Bhai Parrikar. He always put the party ahead of himself. We will always have the highest respect for him,” Tanavade said.

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