Cong-NCP to align in Goa

SANDESH PRABHUDESAI, PANAJI | 22 April 2002 21:46 IST

Exploiting their so called secular credentials, the Congress and the Nationalist Congress Party are now also joining hands in Goa, to defeat the 'communal' Bharatiya Janata Party in the forthcoming Assembly elections.

Incidentally, the Congress today comprises of one ex-chief minister and few others who had split and joined hands with the BJP to share power in November 1999. In case of the NCP, its local president Dr Wilfred de Souza himself had tried a similar experiment in July 1998, for four months.

"I have been given a green signal by my national president Sharad Pawar to forge an alliance with the Congress for Goa polls", de Souza told journalists today morning, after returning from his Mumbai visit.

He however dismissed rumours that he may join the Congress, which he had left four years ago, to form a coalition government with the BJP. "The communal forces in the state have to be defeated at any cost", felt the former chief minister.

On the lines of other states like Maharashtra where the NCP is sharing power with the Congress, de Souza admitted that he plans to take initiative in forging a pre-poll alliance on the basis of a common agenda and also the post-poll power-sharing arrangements.

Pradyut Guha, one of the Congress observers camping here for the poll campaign, had last week publicly appealed to all the non-BJP forces to come together to defeat the communal forces of the Sangh Parivar.

According to BJP chief minister Manohar Parrikar, the talks of the Congress-NCP alliance is a clear admission of the fact that the BJP is much stronger in Goa than any other party. He however flayed their attempts, stating that the BJP will emerge victorious in spite of such attempts.

Interestingly, the BJP had also climbed the ladder of power in the tourist state 16 months ago by engineering defections in the Congress. Though few of them quit the saffron brigade to return home, the BJP has already declared candidature to some of these erstwhile Congressmen.

Perhaps this is the reason Parrikar himself claims that issues like Gujarat may not have much impact on Goa polls. "It will be purely decided on the basis of who the candidate is", he states, while voters are also not sure who will remain in which party even after elections.


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