Cong will get people’s mandate in Goa polls, says Digvijay

Panaji: Congress general secretary Digvijay Singh has said they gave a free hand to leaders in Goa to select candidates for the upcoming state polls, and exuded confidence that the party will emerge victorious.

“If you see this time, Delhi has hardly interfered in the selection of candidates. We have given full mandate to our leaders here. The screening committee members came here in the Pradesh election office, we had wide discussions, that is why we could get the best possible candidates,” Singh told PTI in an interview here.

He is here to oversee his party’s campaign for the February 4 polls.

“For once there was hardly any revolt in the party this time,” he said referring to senior leaders toeing the party line despite being refusing the ticket for polls.

Claiming that Congress has been able to win confidence of the electorate in the coastal state where it once ruled, Singh said the party has managed to build up its credibility.

“More than 60 per cent of our candidates are new. We have a combination of experienced and new faces, and I am sure we will be able to get the mandate from the people of Goa this time,” he said.

On why chief ministerial face has not been projected by the party, Singh said, “Congress does not want to take away right of elected representatives to chose their leader.”

He exuded confidence that the party will get full majority on its own in the election, and said it was a conscious decision not to go in for an alliance.

“As far as Goa is concerned we want to defeat the BJP, and all people who want to defeat BJP and bring in secular government we will try to take their help. We have not formed alliance but have gone for seat-sharing,” he said.

On the party’s manifesto, he said they have assured to bring about a clean and good governance.

“We are going to fight a tough battle against drugs. It would be eliminated totally. We will do everything possible to eliminate menace of drugs. We are going to move out casinos and we will give best tourism facilities in Goa,” he said.

“We mean business. They (BJP) have done a complete U-turn on every issue they promised. We will implement the promises made in 2017 election if we are given the mandate by the people of Goa,” Singh said.

On Congress’s defeat in the 2012 polls, he said the party then did not getthe kind of support which it expected.

“But we have been consistently raising the issues of mis-governance, failure of the (present) government to fulfil election promises made in 2012, the way they have given permission across the board to the builders ignoring the environment and conservation…They have violated the provisions of regional plan,” he alleged.