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Goa CM Pramod Sawant charts campaign points for upcoming assembly election

While BJP’s moves to get smaller parties in the NDA fold are “yielding results”, parties such as Trinamool Congress and Aam Aadmi Party, which are trying to find their feet in Goa politics, will come a cropper, he said.

Written by Liz Mathew | New Delhi |
Updated: October 24, 2021 7:31:14 am
Goa Chief Minister Pramod Sawant (Express file photo by Amit Mehra)

With Assembly elections scheduled early next year, and ruling BJP in the state working on finalising its poll strategies, Goa Chief Minister Pramod Sawant said the success of Swayampurna Goa, his government’s flagship programme and the management of Covid-19 situation and the state’s economy will be the highlights of the campaign.

While BJP’s moves to get smaller parties in the NDA fold are “yielding results”, parties such as Trinamool Congress and Aam Aadmi Party, which are trying to find their feet in Goa politics, will come a cropper, Sawant said.

“Around 60 departmental schemes are being implemented in Goa,” he said. Stating that first-dose vaccination figure in Goa is 100 per cent, and 75 per cent eligible people have received the second jab as well, Sawant told The Sunday Express, “Our Covid-19 management and financial management have been really successful.”

Sawant, who is in Delhi for discussions with BJP leaders for the party’s election preparations in the state, said the tourism sector, a big revenue generator for Goa, has been revived after the success of vaccination in the country, with a large number of domestic tourists travelling to the coastal state. “We have also allowed, with the Centre’s support, chartered flights and some international flights (to bring tourists),” he said.

On the political situation in the state, where new entrants TMC and AAP are getting many Congress leaders and workers, apart from civil society leaders, to join them, Sawant said: “BJP’s position on ground is strong. We have the support of 27 MLAs and an Independent (legislator). Other parties such as MGP (Maharashtrawadi Gomantak Party ) and Goa Forward Party (are also with BJP), but there will be some developments — I think there could be some mergers. At present, Congress is the opposition party; despite its MLAs leaving the party, it still has a vote base. So the main opponent will be the Congress (in Goa elections).”

On TMC and AAP, Sawant said that “nothing is going to happen” despite the “hype” they have created — “because they do not have base voters…they are just showing off.” He said only BJP, Congress and some smaller Goan parties have a support base in the state.

Stating that BJP will get a majority on its own in the 40 member Assembly, Sawant said, “Bayees mein bayees paar (22-plus seats in 2022) will be BJP’s target. We are firming up various ideas for the election campaign…. The main focus will be that the BJP government will make Goa self-reliant in its next tenure, for which we have already initiated programmes.”

Citing examples, he said the government backed the industry during the pandemic, and the state recently launched a new public scheme called ‘Sarkar Tumchya Dari’ — the government at your doorstep. “We have decided to ensure housing for all, sanitation for all, water for all, electricity for all, and financial and social security for all,” he said. “We are giving free equipment for all divyang (visually challenged) people. Our target is to reach the last person.”

He also said officials of 42 state departments will be available at the panchayats every Saturday to address people’s grievances and ensure that hurdles in getting benefits of government schemes are removed. Sawant said this would promote activities in the fields of agriculture, dairy and horticulture.

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