NCP leader Praful Patel with Shiv Sena leader Sanjay Raut addressing a joint press conference, in Bambolim on Wednesday, Jan 19, 2022.

The two parties announced an alliance for the Goa elections and said Congress did not respond to their proposal of fighting the polls togethers. (ANI)

The Assembly polls in Goa will be held in a single phase on February 14. The counting of votes 

will take place on March 10.

BJP+, TMC+, AAP and Congress are the main contestants in the assembly pole 2022, of Goa. Though, a late comer the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) and the Shiv Sena on Wednesday (January 19) announced a pre-poll alliance between the two parties for the February 14 Goa Assembly polls.

Amid the ongoing ban on physical rallies and roadshows in the five poll-bound states in view of a surge in Covid-19 cases, the political are going to hold rallies in these states in a hybrid mode which is expected to be joined by more and more people through different social media platforms, informed media sources.

The Nationalist Congress Party on Wednesday said an offer to the Congress to jointly contest the Goa elections went in vain and the Shiv Sena and NCP have decided to forge a pre-poll alliance. Shiv Sena Rajya Sabha MP Sanjay Raut and NCP`s senior leader Praful Patel said that the two parties had approached the Congress to extend Maharashtra`s Maha Vikas Aghadi alliance to Goa.

Addressing a joint press conference in Panaji, Shiv Sena Rajya Sabha MP Sanjay Raut and NCP`s senior leader Praful Patel said that the two parties had approached the Congress to extend Maharashtra`s Maha Vikas Aghadi alliance to Goa, but added that they did not receive a favourable response from the Congress leadership.

“We had thought that we should extend the MVA from Maharashtra to Goa. Congress should play the major role and we (NCP and Shiv Sena) would contest on some seats,” Patel said, adding that the Congress did not accept the proposal presented to it by Shiv Sena and NCP leaders.

“In Goa there is a lot of confusion on the ground. There`s BJP, Congress, TMC, AAP other parties and in this overall confusion, NCP and Shiv Sena though we may not be in a position to form a government, we will have a respectable number of seats where we will have important role to play in formation of like-minded government,” Raut said.

The Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) on Tuesday ruled out any alliance with the Congress in the coming Goa Assembly elections on grounds that the latter had not responded favourably to seat-sharing. The Sharad Pawar-led party, however, stated that it would fight the polls in alliance with the Shiv Sena.

Upset with Congress, Sena MP Sanjay Raut claimed the next govt in Goa would not be formed without Sena and NCP and that the Congress leaders wouldn’t be able to secure a majority on their own.

Praful Patel, who is the NCP’s Goa in charge, said the Congress believed it could win the 40-seat elections on its own and that it did not need anyone’s help. “The Congress believes that they can win Goa on their own strength even after losing 15 of its 17 MLAs [to other parties like the BJP and the TMC]. Every day, the situation in Goa is so fluid and that if every party thinks they can win on their own, they are in a fool’s paradise. We [the NCP] are a responsible party. While we have an alliance with the Congress and the Sena in Maharashtra, the Congress has its own views in Goa,” he told reporters after arriving in the coastal State.

Mr. Patel clarified that the NCP, which had been traditionally contesting the Goa elections along with the Congress, would not be talking with the latter any more on alliance.

The NCP was quite capable of fighting and winning a reasonable number of seats in Goa, the former Union Minister claimed. The Sena had expressed its desire to fight along with the NCP and that like-minded parties were welcome to join the alliance, he observed.

He clarified that Mr. Pawar had not spoken with TMC chief Mamata Banerjee on forming an alliance. “The TMC is a new factor in Goa. Good luck to them in contesting the election,” he remarked.

Both the NCP as well as the Sena are to announce their list of candidates on Wednesday as well as reveal the seat-sharing arrangements. According to Raut, both parties would contest between “10-12 seats” each out of the 40 which go to the polls next month.

According to media reports, Praful Patel said the NCP party offered Congress to contest for the Goa polls jointly, but in vain, they neither said ‘yes or no’. He added that Shiv Sena and NCP would run the Goa polls together, not on all 40 seats, but a considerable number. The first list will be announced tomorrow with the other list.

According to the sources, both the Shiv Sena and NCP have negligible presence in Goa, and the Congress was not keen on parting with more than a couple of constituencies for the NCP, saying it has a better chance of winning more seats on its own.

The NCP was, however, bargaining for at least eight seats, they said, pointing at how the Congress, which had emerged as the single-largest party in Goa with 17 seats in 2017, is now left with just two MLAs, with the others having defected to different parties.

However, sources revealed both parties, Shiv Sena and NCP, made unreasonable demands, due to which the talks failed. Congress is only in alliance with Goa Forward Party. 

Shiv Sean leader Sanjay Raut confirmed the parties would contest on ’10-12 seats’ out of the 40. He further added that there is a lot of confusion on the ground in Goa. Many parties are part of the election BJP, Congress, TMC, AAP, and in this turmoil, both the parties (NCP-Shiv Sena) won’t get a chance to form a government. However, the alliance will have an opportunity to secure a good seat that could recreate a significant role to form a like-minded government. 

The Shiv Sena, National Congress Party, and Congress in the alliance are ruling the Maharashtra state with Shiv Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray at the helm. Congress has already announced its candidates for most seats in Goa. Mamata Banerjee’s Trinamool Congress and Arvind Kejriwal’s Aam Aadmi Party have also released their candidate’s list putting the speculation to rest about a grand opposition alliance to fight the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).