Congress today said announcement about whether it would join hands with the “like-minded” parties for the Goa assembly elections, would be made on January 17. “All India Congress Committee General Secretary Digvijaya Singh would be in Goa on January 16-17. He would make a formal announcement which will clear the fate of alliance with like-minded parties in Goa for the upcoming assembly polls,” AICC secretary Girish Chodankar told reporters. “Congress is not desperate to win the election and hog the power. But definitely, we will work to unite all the political forces that aim to keep BJP out of power,” he said in response to a query.
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Chodankar said the party has candidates ready to contest in all the 40 constituencies. “We are working in all the constituencies. We have strong support base in these assembly segments. In the absence of alliance, we can contest in all of them (constituencies),” he said. The Congress leader reiterated party’s stand that they will close the casino industry in Goa. “We will not allow casino business to continue in Goa. It is very dangerous for the state. There is corruption involved in allowing casinos to continue,” he alleged.
Chodankar said the state is losing Rs 5,000 crore annually, which ought to have been collected as tax from the casino industry. “BJP is fully responsible to allow the casino industry to flourish,” he claimed. Over AAP contesting Goa elections, he said, “AAP is a part of BJP’s Congress-mukt Bharat campaign. AAP is completely hand in gloves with BJP and is in Goa to divide secular votes.” Chodankar claimed that AAP is contesting only in those states where there is a straight fight between Congress and BJP like in Goa and Punjab. Responding to a question, the Congress leader said the elected representatives of Congress will decide who should be their chief minister. He ruled out projecting a CM face for the state polls.