New Delhi: The Congress unit in Goa is facing rumblings of dissatisfaction within the party as some of its leaders want an end to the alliance with the Goa Forward Party (GFP).
The Vijay Sardesai-led GFP has been haggling with the Congress over seat distribution and had demanded more than 10 seats in the coming Goa legislative elections. A Congress leader said, “He (Vijay Sardesai) is doing his best to negotiate.” Informed sources told this newspaper that Congress has agreed upon conceding five seats to the GFP.
Earlier in December, the GFP had discussed formulating a common manifesto, candidate selection, and drawing mutual campaign strategy. But the talks between the two parties have failed to reach mutual consent for ticket distribution, due to the assertion from GFP to field more of its candidates. The Congress leaders believe that the alliance may break before the elections if the unwanted tussle over seats continues.
According to a source privy to the developments in Congress, the GFP is demanding a seat in Canacona where they want to field Prashant Naik, a founding member of GFP, but the Congress wants Mahadev Desai, secretary GPCC, to contest the election. Political observers believe that Prashant Naik has never worked for people or participated in people’s welfare and if given a chance, would drastically impact the familiarity of Congress in the constituency and also impact the seat count of the alliance, as the GFP won’t be able to win the Canacona seat.
Joel Andrade, a corporator in the city Panjim and the Panaji block president of the Congress in Goa, said: “There has been a section in the Congress who has always been opposed to having any collaboration with the Goa Forward Party. Some leaders may have managed to portray an ‘all is well’ image, but I can tell you, it is only superficial, at least for now.”
The dissatisfied Congress leaders believe that they were betrayed in 2017 during government formation. In the 2017 Goa elections, GFP had allied with the BJP to come to power, but later, the BJP inducted 10 MLAs from Congress and 2 from the MGP, lifting the BJP to the majority. After the BJP found the majority, three GFP leaders were dropped from the cabinet which led to the breaking of their alliance. Later, in December last month, the party has allied with the Congress in a bid to fight the BJP as one.
Political observers believe that the GFP has lost the force that they had in 2017 and may win the Fatorda constituency only due to the popularity of Vijay Sardesai. A political analyst said, “The GFP looks weak in Siolim and Saligao constituencies, which was won by them in 2017.”