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Poll dates out; MGP says will withdraw support to Goa govt

Ruling ally MGP on Wednesday said it will withdraw support to the BJP-led Goa government on Thursday even as political parties welcomed the state Assembly polls schedule announced by the Election Commission.

“We will withdraw support to the BJP-led government tomorrow at 11 am,” Maharashtrawadi Gomantak Party (MGP) president Dipak Dhavalikar said, while welcoming the EC’s decision to hold Goa polls on February 4.

“We had said in the past that we would withdraw support only after Code of Conduct is announced. We are sticking to our stand. Now we are free to contest on our own or with pre-poll understanding with like-minded parties,” Dhavalikar, who along with his brother Sudin Dhavalikar was recently sacked from the Laxmikant Parsekar-led Cabinet, said. He said MGP’s central committee will meet on Thursday to discuss future strategy of the party.

The ruling BJP also welcomed the poll schedule. “BJP was fully prepared to face the election at any time. We have already held ‘Vijay Sankalp’ rallies across 35 constituencies. The process to select candidates has reached the final stage,” party’s Goa unit chief Vinay Tendulkar said.

He said it is not difficult for the party to win majority of seats as “through the government and organisation, it was always connected to the voters”. “We have our mandals in the constituencies and our cadre is right up to booth level. The organisational set up is our strength,” Tendulkar said.

The Congress party too welcomed the dates, saying “it is time for the people of Goa to liberate the state from corrupt rule by BJP-led government”. “We are fully prepared. At all the block levels, the organisation has been active. We were anticipating the polls to be held in February so it is not a surprise for us,” All India Congress Committee secretary Girish Chodankar said. He said the party will declare its candidates by January 10, much before the final date of filing nominations.

On pre-poll alliance with like-minded parties, he said the decision in this regard would be taken by the party high command.

The new entrant, AAP claimed that the announcement of early dates is an advantage for the party, which has already announced the names of the maximum number of candidates and also put out its manifesto. “We welcome early polls. We are the only party which has declared maximum candidates. Our different manifestos are also ready and are in public,” Elvis Gomes, AAP’s chief ministerial face for Goa polls, said.

He claimed that AAP is “much ahead” of other parties which are yet to decide their candidates and manifesto. “Remaining four candidates would be announced in another two-three days,” Gomes added.