Goa Deputy Chief Minister Francis D’Souza today hinted that February 4 polls might be his last Legislative Assembly election. The sitting MLA from Mapusa, who was among the first Catholic leaders to join the BJP two decades ago, has exuded confidence of retaining his seat. “This is my fifth tenure which means I have already spent 20 years. It is not easy. I had to sacrifice my personal, family life and get into social work. There comes a time you should stop,” D’souza told PTI in an interview during his campaign trail here.
“Another five years should be just right for me. I might opt for other thing like being a Governor, going to Delhi something like that. Being an MLA is not the only choice. I am trying to make it last election. I am 62-year-old now, I will be 67 at the end of five years,” he said. He was the front runner for the post of chief minister when former CM Manohar Parrikar was elevated as defence minister. But he had lost stake to Laxmikant Parsekar.
When asked if he is in the race for the chief ministerial post in this polls, he said, “All those who get elected as MLA are in the race. All are eligible.” “Traditionally, elected representatives decide who should be the leader. They will decide whether the CM would be one amongst them or from the Centre,” D’souza, who is contesting the Mapusa seat, said. He expressed confidence that the upcoming election is going be the ‘easiest one’ for him as it would be a referendum on the work done in his constituency in the last 20 years.
“…It is the referendum on the work of my party and its workers. The people will give receipt about the good work. It is not just about overall development, it is (about) individual development also,” he added. The leader claimed that BJP has done “tremendous work” in fields of education, health, social welfare, women empowerment and other sectors in its five-year tenure and is seeking mandate once again to continue it.
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To a query on MGP snapping ties with BJP ahead of polls, D’Souza said, “It would have been good if MGP was with us, then it would have resulted into consolidation of votes. But there comes a time when you have to be independent. I feel that when you ally with the other party, your strength gets reduced. MGP do not have base in most of the constituencies.”
“The upcoming State Legislative Assembly election is very important considering that the BJP which was ruling in the state for last five years and in Centre since 2014 have done major U-turns on issues. The promises on mining and casinos are amongst several issues where the government has done U-turns completely disappointing the people of Goa,” he said. “The promises made in the Congress manifesto are realistic in nature. I believe BJP government in Goa is one where chief minister is not himself the power of the Goa government,” Pilot added.
Polls to the 40-member Goa House would be held on February 4.