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Saturday, February 18, 2012

Congress grapples with graft, scams & rebels; regional ally boosts BJP

PANAJI: Two weeks from polling, Goa, with a 40-seat assembly, is all set for multi-cornered battles with a sudden spurt in the number of political parties contesting on March 3.

Though the main fight will be between Congress and BJP, rebels, parties in the fray for the first time and voters seeking state accountability will make it a keen battle.

Congress looks to be in trouble. Issues such as illegal mining, deeprooted corruption, the controversial Regional Plan 2021, medium of instruction , lack of development and infighting are likely to hit the party hard.

Thanks to its mismanagement , Congress will be more affected by rebels than other parties. Besides, it has given 12 tickets to sitting MLAs and their relatives. That's over one-fourth of the assembly strength.

A well-prepared BJP, waiting to capitalize on anti-Congress sentiments , has smelt power. The party's confidence rises from the fact that it has succeeded in allying with Maharashtrawadi Gomantak Party (MGP)-Goa's oldest regional party-in an attempt to wrest power from Congress. MGP gets eight seats while BJP contests around 28 seats.

At the end of the four and a half years, Congress's Digambar Kamat Kamat has proved to be the only CM to complete the full term since Goa became a state in 1987.

All major parties, including Congress , BJP and NCP, have given tickets to the rich. Ignoring cadres' sentiments , parties have gone to the extent of loaning candidates to coalition partners. Of the 7 seats NCP is contesting, three candidates are from Congress. MGP and BJP have also swapped one or two seats to facilitate entry for 'winnable' candidates.

The richest candidate is Dinar Tarcar with stakes in mining and real estate. Recently, as chairman of Public Accounts Committee , Parrikar had named Tarcar in the illegal mining scam report.

But Tarcar knocked on BJP's doors to contest from Santa Cruz constituency . To avoid embarrassment, BJP gave the Santa Cruz seat to MGP and along with it came Tarcar.

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