Goa elections: AAP names Amit Palekar as its CM face
The Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) on Wednesday named Amit Palekar as the party's chief ministerial candidate for the upcoming Assembly polls in Goa. The announcement was made by AAP's national convener and Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal. Kejriwal also confirmed that the party would be contesting all 40 assembly seats in the state. Notably, Goa is going to poll on February 14.
Why does this story matter?
The announcement comes days ahead of assembly polls in Goa. AAP is eyeing Goa this time after a disastrous performance in 2017. The party had failed to win a single seat in the 2017 elections despite running an ambitious campaign. This time, the AAP is expecting to enhance its prospects by announcing a CM face much before the polls.
Amit Palekar promises a corruption-free Goa
After the announcement, Palekar promised a corruption-free Goa, saying the party would help restore the state's lost glory. He reiterated that the AAP will implement the Delhi model in Goa. "I'll keep every word that I've said. That's a guarantee," he said. Significantly, Palekar had joined the AAP in October last year and is the party's candidate from the St Cruz Assembly constituency.
Palekar criticizes political happenings in Goa
Denouncing Goa's politics, Palekar said, "We see candidates having lunch with one party and tea with some other party...Is this the kind of politics we want?" "Today, we have chosen either to vote for the same candidates or vote for a changed and clean party."
Who is Amit Palekar?
Amit Palekar is a lawyer and a social worker. He rose to fame after he staged an "indefinite" hunger strike in December last year to save old Goa's heritage site where illegal construction was underway. Seeing the huge support received by Palekar, Kejriwal had termed the strike as the "beginning of Goa's political cleansing." After the strike, authorities demolished the illegal construction.
Palekar belongs to Bhandari community
Palekar belongs to the OBC Bhandari community, which accounts for about 35% of Goa's population. Kejriwal highlighted that despite having such a huge population, there has been only one CM from the community. Notably, Ravi Naik from the community was the CM between 1991-93 and briefly in 1994. "We are not doing caste politics. Other parties have done politics against the community," Kejriwal said.
AAP chose an honest man: Kejriwal
Before announcing the name, Kejriwal had said that the party has chosen an "honest man" as its Goa CM candidate. "He will eradicate corruption from the state. He will work for everyone in Goa. He is educated. He will fulfill all promises made by AAP in Goa," Kejriwal had said. "Goans want roads, schools, and electricity like in Delhi," he had added.
Goans wants change: Kejriwal
"Goans what a change this time. Old parties are responsible for the present situation in Goa. The youths are angry that they are being treated unfairly. Only we can end corruption. There is no one else," Kejriwal had further said.
Goa assembly polls: Who's in the fray?
Assembly polls in Goa will see the participation of BJP, Congress, Goa Forward Party (GFP), Maharashtrawadi Gomantak Party (MGP), Aam Aadmi Party (AAP), Trinamool Congress, and the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP). The strength of the Goa state assembly is 40 seats. In 2017, the BJP had won 13 seats, while Congress, GFP, MGP, and NCP won 17, three, three, and one seat, respectively.