Elections: Beach resorts lined up, leaders rush to Uttarakhand and Goa as BJP, Congress gears up for hung houses


WITH EXIT polls predicting that poll results from Uttarakhand and Goa would end in a stalemate, political parties in both state capitals are bracing for post-election scenarios. While in Goa the candidates for the Congress elections and party leaders gathered at a hotel in Bambolim, the party was also planning the same in Uttarakhand.

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The Congress High Command on Tuesday delegated senior poll management officials ahead of the results in Uttarakhand, Goa, Punjab and Manipur. While Karnataka Congress leader DK Sivakumar, who has previously played similar roles for the party in post-election situations, will be the special observer in Goa, General Secretary Mukul Wasnik, Chhattisgarh leader TS Singh Deo and Vincent Pala were delegated to Manipur. General Secretary Ajay Maken and party spokesman Pawan Khera are to be stationed in Punjab, while MP Rajya Sabha Deepender Singh Hooda is in Dehradun.

Party leader Priyanka Gandhi Vadra visited Jaipur on Monday, amid talks that Congress-ruled Rajasthan could host party leaders to prevent poaching attempts.

Congress got its hands burnt in Goa in 2017 when the BJP robbed it of a march to form government as the party grew to be the largest. From 17 deputies, the Congress had been reduced to two in the outgoing Assembly.


Not taking any risks

While exit polls predict suspended assemblies in at least two states that went to the polls, Congress and the BJP are trying to cover all the bases to be the first to claim a turnout. For the Congress, the memory of the 2017 reversals in Goa and Manipur is all too fresh.

In Dehradun, Congress watched with concern as top BJP leader Kailash Vijayvargiya, who managed to create a split in the ranks of Congress in 2016, entered the scene.

Goa Pradesh Congress Committee Chairman Girish Chodankar said, “We have gathered for the birthday celebration of our Chief Leader (Digambar Kamat). All the contestants came for the party. For those who want to stay (at the hotel) we have made arrangements and most of them have said they want to stay. He said the party did not ask anyone to stay at the hotel, the decision was left to the candidates for the elections. Party leaders other than election candidates also attended the rally, while some said they were staying at the hotel, others said they would go home.

A day earlier, the AICC office in charge of Goa Dinesh Gundu Rao said the party would take the decision to move its candidates to the common venue on Tuesday in “the spirit of camaraderie” and remain ready to ward off the “ dirty” from the BJP. stuff.” Congress leaders said on Wednesday that the rally was to celebrate the birthday of top Congress leader Digambar Kamat.

Candidates for the Congress elections and other party leaders had also gathered at the hotel in Bambolim.

Vijayvargiya, who arrived in Dehradun on Sunday, met senior state leaders including outgoing Chief Minister Pushkar Singh Dhami and former CM Ramesh Pokhriyal Nishank.

In 2016, the BJP’s national general secretary was said to have played a key role in the revolt within the Congress against its former CM Harish Rawat. As the state came under presidential rule, a disgruntled Rawat had been one of the reasons for the collapse of Congress. In the 2017 elections, the party won only 11 seats, with the BJP winning 57 out of 70. In this election, Rawat is back at the center of the Congress campaign.

Congress organization secretary general Mathura Dutt Joshi told the Indian Express that the timing of Vijayvargiya’s visit to Uttarakhand was important. He also said that if necessary the party would consider moving its winning MPs to “a safe place”.

“In 2016, Vijayvargiya stayed here for a month and only left after dislodging our government,” Joshi said.

Vijayvargiya said he came to the state to train party workers before counting. “Sometimes those who participate are new workers… BJP takes elections very seriously and that’s why we also take counting seriously,” Vijayvargiya told the media.

In Goa, Congress Elections Officer P Chidambaram reiterated that the party was open to talks with other parties ahead of the count, and talks were already underway. Speaking to NDTV, he said, “Our goal is to forge a non-BJP front and such efforts are underway in other parts of India. Why not make the same effort in Goa?

Sitting BJP Goa’s CM Pramod Sawant traveled to Delhi on Tuesday to meet Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Union Home Minister Amit Shah. He tweeted after meeting Modi,

“I called Hon. PM Shri @narendramodi Ji in New Delhi today. Briefed the Prime Minister on BJP’s strong performance in Goa Assembly 2022 polls which will give us an opportunity to form the state government again with the blessing of the people, and under his strong leadership and guidance, we will continue to work for the welfare of the people.

Sawant said earlier on Tuesday, “We are fully confident that the BJP will get a full majority and form the government. If we miss a seat or two, there are independents who can win and support us.

Other top party leaders will meet state polling official Devendra Fadnavis in Mumbai. A senior Goa BJP leader said he devised a “foolproof strategy” to retain power. “We will waste no time in deciding our leader and will demand the formation of the government,” a senior BJP official said.

Trinamool Congress Goa leader Kiran Kandolkar claimed his party would win seven to eight seats and their MGP ally another four to five. Kandolkar said that unlike other parties, the TMC did not ask its MPs to go to the party office after the results, but to hold their celebrations first.

“We are not afraid that our candidates will leave the party. We also know that no one can form the next government without the support of TMC and MGP,” Kandolkar said.

TMC National General Secretary Abhishek Banerjee, Rajya Sabha MP Derek O’Brien and party poll strategist Prashant Kishore were due to arrive in Goa on Tuesday evening.

Meanwhile, Maharashtrawadi Gomantak Party (MGP) leader Ramkrishna alias Sudin Dhavalikar has said his party will play an important role in forming the government in Goa. The former Deputy Chief Minister had split from the BJP after being expelled from the government after the BJP won a full majority after 12 MPs (including two from the MGP) defected to the party in 2019.

The MGP is a pre-election alliance with the TMC. Dhavalikar said the MGP has been the “kingmaker” in many elections since 1999. “The exit polls have opened the eyes of the central parties. I’ve been saying that for days. MGP did a good job this time and people supported us. A new picture is being projected that MGP will win six to nine seats and I am confident we can win up to nine. If TMC wins three to four, we can get around 13-14. The TMC and we will sit down together and make the right decision. Whatever decision we make with the TMC will be final.

Exit polls suggested an uphill battle in Uttarakhand, with none giving either the Congress or the BJP more than 40 seats out of the 70 assembly members. No party has held power in Uttarakhand since its formation in 2000.

In Goa too, pollsters predicted that neither the BJP nor the Congress would see a comfortable victory.

(With ENS Delhi, PTI entries)


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