Politics

Rahul Mhambre, AAP Goa Chief, Says AAP is Ready to Consider Any Post-Poll Arrangement

According to polls, Goa’s Assembly may be hung, with the BJP holding a majority of seats, followed by the AAP and the Congress.

The coastal state of Goa, one of the country’s most popular tourist attractions, will hold elections on February 14, 2022. The state has 40 legislative Assembly constituencies. States with such a small number of seats do not usually become major talking points in Indian politics, but this is not the case in Goa.

This election in Goa is highly anticipated since there is growing anti-incumbency against the incumbent Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), the Congress party has been weakened by defections, and new entrants such as the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) and the Trinamool Congress (TMC) have made new promises. Meanwhile, the AAP named Amit Palekar, a lawyer turned politician, as their chief ministerial candidate on Wednesday.

The AAP maintains that they are not newcomers to Goa politics because they ran in the previous legislative election. They were, however, unable to get traction.

Rahul Mhambre, the AAP Goa Convenor, lays out the party’s game plan to take the coastal state in an exclusive conversation with Firstpost.

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‘Advocate Amit Palekar will be the future Chief Minister of Goa,’ says a source.

Mhambre, the AAP’s Goa convenor, stated, “First and foremost, the Aam Aadmi Party pledged that the chief ministerial candidate will be from the Bhandari community, and it has delivered on that promise. Second, Amit Palekar is a well-known Goa lawyer with a good reputation.”

Arbind kejriwal
Arbind kejriwal

He emphasised that the AAP represents a new type of politics. All of the party’s leaders came from varied backgrounds when it was founded, with the majority coming from outside politics. Amit Palekar is a rookie to politics, but just as the people of Delhi approved of AAP’s leadership, so will the people of Goa.

According to Mhambre, who spoke to Firstpost, “The AAP and its voters are unconcerned about the name or appearance of any candidate. It is the goodwill of practising honest politics that counts. People will vote for the AAP, which will be led by Amit Palekar. He will become Goa’s next chief minister. The people of Goa will vote for development politics.”

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AAP’s pitch on caste and religion

After Arvind Kejriwal, the Delhi Chief Minister and the leader of the Aam Aadmi Party, was re-elected for the third time in Delhi in 2020, the party went on a massive expansion plan. The party is contesting elections in Punjab, Goa, Uttarakhand, and Uttar Pradesh this time.
Despite the fact that the AAP is known to adopt a different Hindutva stance, its intention to make a caste-based pitch has remained hidden. The AAP’s chief minister would be from the Bhandari community, and the deputy chief minister will be a Catholic Christian, according to the party’s announcement.

Arbind Kejriwal
Arbind Kejriwal

According to many statistics, the Bhandari Samaj community comprises over 3,50,000 electors in the state of Goa, accounting for roughly 30% of the total voter population. In Goa and Maharashtra, the Bhandari Samaj is listed as an OBC.

“The party is fighting this election on the Kejriwal model of development,” Rahul Mhambre stated. We don’t believe in politics based on caste or religion. We made this decision in Goa because both the BJP and the Congress have deceived the Bhandari Samaj. We’re giving them the credit they deserve.”

Mhambre also notes that the AAP’s development objective is all-inclusive and discrimination-free. “Both the BJP and the Congress have always refused Bhandari Samaaj or Catholics decision-making roles. Because the AAP is fighting for Goans, we wish to acknowledge the contributions of all sections “he declares

A Christian voting base of roughly 26% exists in Goa. This number can go as high as 80% in some of the districts. After a while, it becomes evident that if both the Bhandaris and Christians support a party, the party will be able to obtain a majority of the vote.

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Although there is no pre-election pact, the BJP is AAP’s main opponent.

Several alliance talks have taken place in Goa politics. There was anticipation once the TMC entered the picture that it would form an alliance with the Goa Forward Party (GFP), but the GFP instead partnered with Congress.

Meanwhile, the Maharashtra Gomantak Party (MGP) has formed an alliance with the TMC. Sharad Pawar, the leader of the Nationalist Congress Party, recently stated that his party, the Shiva Sena Congress, and the TMC are in negotiations about forming an alliance. The AAP, on the other hand, has stayed out of any alliance discussions.

AAP
AAP

“It is not accurate that the Aam Aadmi Party was never interested in forming an alliance. Because the Congress party has no importance and has abandoned the people of Goa, the topic of joining with them was never raised. The majority of their MLAs have defected to other political parties or joined the BJP. The MGP chief came to meet Arvind Kejriwal before the poll was announced. However, we were unable to reach an agreement on seat-sharing. They’ve created a partnership with the TMC now “Mhambre added his two cents.

He further claims that recent opinion surveys have revealed that the AAP has a good possibility of winning on its own. “For numerous years, the party has been working on the ground. The TMC is currently creating a media frenzy, although they do not exist in reality. Nonetheless, the TMC is attempting to establish leadership by extending an invitation to create an alliance. Why could any political party with no ground presence be considered?”

According to polls, Goa could see a hung Assembly, with the BJP holding a majority of seats, followed by the AAP and the Congress. When asked what the AAP’s plan would be if such a situation arose, the AAP convenor told Firstpost, “The Aam Aadmi Party has stated unequivocally that we can win this election on our own. However, if the need arises, we would adopt whatever strategic decision the post-election alliance needs to keep the BJP out of power.”

“BJP expected to win about 17-21 Assembly seats, AAP forecast to bag around 8-11 segments, Congress expected to perform poorly and is likely to secure 4 to 6 seats,” according to a Times Now poll cited by the AAP Goa convenor.

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The AAP’s stance on poaching politics

Goan politics has become linked with defection and poaching politics. Several politicians from the Congress party, the Green Party, and the National Congress Party have joined the TMC, while several BJP leaders have defected to the Congress party.

AAP Goa Chief
AAP Goa Chief

In Punjab, Kejriwal recently stated that his party will not accept leaders from the Congress. Alina Saldana, a BJP MLA in Goa, has joined the AAP as grassroots defections rise.

“Our party believes that ‘poaching politics’ is also a sort of crooked politics,” Mhambre stated. We don’t want to be a part of politics like this. Alina Saldanha is the lone AAP leader and MLA who defected from the BJP. And we’ve welcomed her not because she’s a member of the BJP, but because of her illustrious record of service to the Goans.”

What are the most important promises?

The AAP will fight this election using the Delhi form of governance as a model. In addition, the party has pledged jobs, free water, and free power for the first 300 units.

“Today, every Goan home is aware of the Kejriwal governance concept. Unemployment is a major concern in the state, and our government will work to address it. As we did in Delhi, we would seek to enhance the healthcare and education sectors. We’ve also promised the people of Goa 300 free units of power.” Mhambre went on to say.

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He stated that corruption is a huge issue in Goa, and that the AAP will tackle it. “We’ve also stated that once we’re in power, we’ll restart mining projects that have been stalled within three months, as this is one of the party’s main priority areas.”

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