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Cong lays down terms for Fatorda pullout

Withdraw candidates from Velim, Saligao and Joseph will exit Fatorda, Vijai told; AICC secy non-committal on 'seat adjustment' strategy announced by Digvijaya

Story: The | Goan | 20th January 2017, 12:00 Hrs

PANAJI

The brinkmanship which began over seat-sharing of Velim constituency between Congress and Goa Forward Party has come full circle. Congress on Thursday finally laid down its cards on the table with All India Congress Committee secretary Girish Chodankar declaring that the Congress would withdraw Joseph Silva from Fatorda and secure GFP supremo Vijai Sardesai's seat if GFP agrees to withdraw its candidates in Saligao and Velim.

Citing the 'sentiments' of Saligao and Velim blocks, Chodankar stated, "Sentiment of the blocks is that if the GFP withdraws in Saligao and Velim, Congress will step back from Fatorda." Chodankar adopted a highly non-committal tone over the assurance reiterated by AICC general secretary Digvijaya Singh that Congress will not contest in Panaji, Porvorim, Fatorda and Siolim as part of its 'seat adjustment' strategy. "From day one, all Congress leaders have been consistently following the same line that we will not have any alliance and that we will contest in all 40 seats. If someone interpreted this in a different way, I would like them to know that Congress will support various forces in toppling the BJP," Chodankar said adding that dialogue should go on between all anti-BJP forces. It was informed that Digvijaya and Congress national leader Oscar Fernandes will arrive in Goa on Thursday to take stock of the situation.

When asked whether the Congress thought twice before handing over the form B of the party to Silva in Fatorda even after he led the protest of Fatorda block and burned the effigy of Digvijaya in front of Congress House, Chodankar said, "We value democracy and dissent. They were probably misguided to burn Singh's effigy. But these workers were only expressing their sentiments. "Meanwhile, GFP president Prabhakar Timble issued a statement urging Goans to reconsider their support to Congress. "Congress through its conduct says Goans are fools to keep trust in the Congress party and their political leadership. They stand exposed and the personal ego and selfish ambitions of their leaders superseded genuine interests of Goans," Timble said.

Reacting to this jibe, AICC secretary Chodankar took potshots at GFP and argued, "The idea of a grand alliance began with Fatorda, Porvorim and Bicholim. These three MLAs mooted the idea of GFP. But where have the other two MLAs gone now?"

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BOX

Panaji: Congress manifesto for the upcoming Assembly poll will be unveiled on January 23 by Congress Member of Parliament Jyotindraditya Scindia. It was informed that the manifesto has been compiled through an intensive suggestion gathering process and aims to reflect the aspirations of Goa.

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