With the entry of Aam Admi Party, the fight for February 4 Assembly election in Goa has become a four-cornered contest where the ruling BJP is eyeing another term and facing challenge from Congress and some new players.
While BJP is fighting the poll on development plank, showcasing its work in infrastructure and other sectors, main Opposition Congress is harping on “failures” and “unfulfilled” promises of the Government.
BJP is contesting 36 seats out of the 40 and has extended support to four independents. The saffron outfit has centred its entire campaign around the slogan ‘once again BJP’, seeking another term in power.
The Amit Shah-led party, which had won a clear mandate in the 2012 polls in alliance with regional heavyweight Maharashtrawadi Gomantak Party (MGP), is vying for votes on the back of its prominent infrastructural works and popular social welfare schemes launched over the last five years.
Ahead of the poll announcement, a series of ‘Vijay Sankulp’ rallies were held along with several corner meetings attended by senior Central leaders like Amit Shah, Nitin Gadkari, Rajnath Singh and Smriti Irani.
BJP’s high-voltage campaign has so far seen Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh and Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar, among others, addressing rallies in support of party nominees.
Parrikar, the architect of BJP’s victory in 2012 who later took over as Chief Minister, was inducted in the Union Cabinet in 2014 and given the key defence portfolio.
The 61-year-old IIT graduate-turned-politician has been camping in his home State to pitch for his party aggressively even as speculation is rife he might return as Chief Minister if his party BJP wins the polls.
With just five days remaining for the big day, BJP leaders like Amit Shah and Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis will address public meetings early next week.
Congress, on the hand, is fighting on 37 seats, and has so far witnessed a lacklustre campaign. The party is pinning hopes on Vice-President Rahul Gandhi, who will address an election rally at Mapusa town on Monday.
Clarifying about its mellowed tone during campaigning, senior Congress leader Digvijay Singh said the party has decided to go for ‘subdued campaign’ and door-to-door visits.
The pack of nominees of Congress for this poll is a mix of old and new faces. Except for a couple of places, it has not encountered rebellion.