Goa Election 2017: AAP looks to replicate Delhi success story, projects party as alternative

Goa with 40 seats in the Assembly is set to go to polls on 4 February. Goa may be India's smallest state, but the multi-pronged electoral fight that is unfolding can hardly be described as minor. The BJP is fighting anti-incumbency, the Congress is hoping for a comeback, the breakaway RSS faction Goa Suraksha Manch (GSM) led by Subhash Velingkar has formed an alliance with traditional BJP allies —Maharashtrawadi Gomantak Party (MGP) and Shiv Sena and there is the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) making its fray in Goa for the first time.

While the party is yet to declare a chief ministerial candidate in Punjab, the party has fielded former bureaucrat Elvis Gomes as the face of the Goa Assembly Election. With the campaign slogan 'zhaadu (broom) sweeping out BJP', AAP has already positioned itself as BJP's main challenger in the state. Gomes had resigned from the government service where he was serving as Inspector General of Prisons to join AAP. He will be contesting from Cuncolim constituency which is currently represented by BJP.

AAP party chief Arvind Kejriwal. File photo. PTI

AAP party chief Arvind Kejriwal. File photo. PTI

The AAP's Goa manifesto unmistakably resembles the one for released for Delhi election campaign with an added stress on corruption. During one of the rallies, star campaigner and party supremo Arvind Kejriwal said, "We will die but will never compromise on corruption. There will be no compromise on corruption." He said that the party has fielded honest candidates and added, "We are against the people who are criminals, communal or with bad character. If you find any proof against our candidates, even a day before (the polls), we will drop the candidate."

Gomes even went on to say that if AAP comes to power, systems will be put in place
within 90 days to weed out corruption.

Here are some of the poll promises:

According to the India Today, AAP wants to replicate the Delhi model with the party workers claiming that the people of Goa, tired of the Congress and BJP regimes, looks at AAP as an alternative. "Like in Delhi, AAP has prepared individual manifestos for each of the 40 seats in Goa. All the manifestos are based on the feedback that the party received from more than 350 'Goa Dialogues'," says the report.

A confident Kejriwal said what many in Goa are saying, "Congress does not have a credible face to be projected as chief minister of Goa. BJP has lost trust in Laxmikant Parsekar. They are now talking about bringing back Manohar Parrikar."

But it has not been a smooth ride for AAP. Gomes was summoned by the Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB) of the Goa police in connection with a housing scam case. Gomes, along with Nilkanth Halarnkar, a former minister for housing in the erstwhile Congress-NCP government, were accused of scrapping official acquisition procedure for a piece of land measuring 30,256 sq metres in South Goa's Margao, and without following due procedure, giving an opportunity for vested interests to purchase the land subsequently.

Kejriwal's sudden flare ups too don't help matters. Recently, the Delhi chief minister took on the Election Commission and accused it  of promoting bribery. After Kejriwal was accused of "deliberately and intentionally" instigating the public to take bribes for voting in the Goa Assembly election of 4 February, he wrote a letter to Chief Election Commissioner Nasim Zaidi, stating, "My statement will reduce bribery. When parties distributing money will realise that people won't vote for them even after taking money, they will stop distributing money."

"By stopping me from making my statement, the Election Commission is promoting bribery instead of curbing it," he added.

With voting day just a few days away, it remains to be seen if AAP is able to replicate its Delhi success story and emerges as the alternative in Goa.

(With inputs from agencies)


Updated Date: Feb 03, 2017 13:29 PM

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