A day after the exit polls predicted a hung assembly in Goa, hectic political activities have begun in the state with the Congress focusing on keeping its flock together and plans to shift all its candidates to a resort, a senior party leader said on Tuesday.
On the other side, Chief Minister Pramod Sawant met Prime Minister Narendra Modi in New Delhi, while other senior Goa Bharatiya Janata Party leaders are planning to meet their state poll in-charge Devendra Fadnavis in Mumbai.
Elections to the 40-member Goa assembly were held on February 14 and the counting of votes is scheduled for March 10.
The Congress, whose strength in the outgoing assembly reduced from 17 to just two over the last five years, with some of its legislators switching over to the BJP, is leaving no stone unturned to keep its flock intact.
"All the Congress candidates will be staying in a resort in North Goa on Wednesday from where they will be heading towards the counting stations," a senior party leader said.
The counting of votes would be held in Margao and Panaji.
The Congress party has asked all its winning candidates to arrive at the party office after the results.
”We have full faith in our candidates, but we don't want to take any chance,” a senior Congress leader said.
All India Congress Committee's election observer for Goa P Chidambaram and state desk in-charge Dinesh Gundu Rao are camping in the coastal state since last Sunday to keep an eye on the political activities.
Meanwhile, Chief Minister Pramod Sawant met Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Union Home Minister Amit Shah in New Delhi on Tuesday.
A senior Goa BJP leader said they have designed a "fool-proof strategy" to ensure the party retains power in the coastal state.
He said Goa BJP president Sadanand Shet Tanavade and party's state general secretary Satish Dhond will be going to Mumbai later in the day to participate in an event and they will also meet Goa poll in-charge Devendra Fadanavis.
Fadnavis and BJP's Goa desk in-charge C T Ravi would reach Goa on Wednesday, a day ahead of the counting.
The BJP has also asked all its winning candidates to assemble at the party's head office in Panaji after the vote counting on Thursday.
”We will not waste any time to decide our leader and stake the claim to form government,” a senior BJP leader said.
On the other side, Trinamool Congress's Goa chief Kiran Kandolkar claimed his party will win seven-eight seats and their ally MGP will bag four-five seats, "after which we will bargain for the chief ministerial post, if any party wants our support."
He said the party allowed its candidates who win to go to their constituencies and hold victory rallies before coming to the party office in Panaji after the counting.
”We don't have the fear that our candidates will leave the party. We also know that no one can form the next government without the support of the TMC and Maharashtrawadi Gomantak Party (MGP)," Kandolkar said.
Leaders of the Mamata Banerjee-led TMC, which contested the Goa polls for the first time this year, held a meeting with their candidates on Sunday to discuss the party's strategy after the poll results are out.