AMID A rift between the BJP and the Maharashtrawadi Gomantak Party, new entrant Aam Aadmi Party is set to test itself in the saffron stronghold of North Goa Sunday with two rallies led by party chief Arvind Kejriwal in Mapusa and Sanquelim. The MGP announced Wednesday it will withdraw support to the BJP-led Goa government Thursday and will contest the polls either on its own or with “like-minded parties”.
After the announcement of its chief ministerial candidate Elvis Gomes, AAP has campaigned more optimistically in South Goa than in Hindu-dominated North Goa. Gomes has a larger appeal in Christian-dominated South Goa, home to him. The AAP so far has pitted Gomes, a former IGP (prisons) who took voluntary retirement last year, against Goa CM Laxmikant Parsekar on grounds of honest governance and clean image.
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Sources in the party said that though the campaign has picked up since Kejriwal’s rally in May, North Goa has been a difficult stronghold to breach. Now, strains in the ruling BJP-MGP alliance have led to optimistic voices from AAP.
“Arvind Kejriwal’s public meetings in Mapusa and Sanquelim on Sunday are going to be crucial as they will establish AAP as a party that has pan-Goa appeal,” said Ashish Talwar, senior AAP leader and election campaign in-charge of Goa. “The BJP is clearly a sinking ship and that is why some its ideological fellow travellers are leaving it.”
Over this weekend Kejriwal will address two meetings in Vasco and Benaulim in South Goa and two in North Goa. Of the four meetings, three constituencies are being represented by women candidates – Royla Fernandes, an architect, Loretta Sreedharan, a former IRS officer, and Shraddha Khalap, daughter-in-law of former Union minister Ramakant Khalap.