Final decision on South Goa LS seat candidate after INDIA bloc meet: Congress

AAP and Congress have been on a collision course over the sharing of seats for the upcoming Lok Sabha polls

Panaji: A day after the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) announced its MLA as the INDIA alliance nominee for the South Goa Lok Sabha seat, the Congress on Thursday said a final decision on the candidate will be taken after the opposition bloc’s meeting in Delhi.

The AAP and Congress have been on a collision course over the sharing of seats for the upcoming Lok Sabha polls, with the Arvind Kejriwal-led party on Tuesday deciding to field Benaulim MLA Venzy Viegas from South Goa and seeking to blame the Congress for the apparent delay in picking a candidate.

South Goa is one of the two Lok Sabha seats in Goa currently represented by Francisco Sardinha of the Congress.

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Asked about AAP’s announcement of the South Goa Lok Sabha seat candidate, state Congress president Amit Patkar on Wednesday said the opposition INDIA alliance is yet to decide the candidate.

“We have eight aspirants each for the North Goa and South Goa seats from the Congress party itself. The AAP has shortlisted Venzy Viegas. The final candidate will be decided after the INDIA alliance meeting in Delhi,” Patkar said at a press conference where he was accompanied by MP Sardinha.

He also expressed confidence that the Congress will win both the North Goa and South Goa Lok Sabha seats.

Patkar on Tuesday questioned the “premature” announcement by AAP, given that seat-sharing talks are being finalised in New Delhi.
During his visit to Goa in January, AAP national convener Arvind Kejriwal said his party was discussing a seat in the coastal state as a part of the INDIA alliance.
In the 2019 general elections, Elvis Gomes of AAP finished third by bagging 20,891 votes behind Sardinha and Narendra Sawaikar, who contested on the BJP ticket.

South Goa constituency has remained more or less loyal to the Congress, but the 2019 assembly elections changed the political landscape, with BJP winning 12 of the 20 assembly segments and Congress two.
Meanwhile, Patkar also said that they have placed before Chief Minister Pramod Sawant a list of 24 core issues pertaining to the state, and seeking a report within eight days on the action taken on them.

The government will have to reply on various issues, including corruption, failure to resume mining, Mhadei river diversion, three linear projects (pertaining to rail, road and electricity works) allegedly violating environmental norms, setting up of IIT campus at a “green field” in South Goa and the proposed Film City project in Canacona, he added.

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