Throwing out the incumbent BJP remains the priority of the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) as the Congress is not in the reckoning anymore, said AAP chief-minister candidate, Elvis Gomes during his whirlwind, non-stop rally tour of the various assembly constituencies in Goa.
In an exclusive interview to Millennium Post recently, Gomes said just as the ruling Congress Government was swept away in a BJP wave in 2012, the incumbent BJP has to be now thrown out.
"We are not even talking about the Congress, who today cannot even finalise their full strength of candidates and have broken apart, formed alliances and then again broken up. It's the same old story. That's why they are called Congress."
The AAP Goa chief said his party had not considered any tie-ups, nor was it approaching anybody or vice versa in this Goa election.
Where funding was concerned, the AAP relied on its own strength and through small donations from the common man. "We have been getting more of donations as small as Rs 10, while the occasional highest was between Rs 15,000 and Rs 20,000. Still, it's a battle against corruption and I believe that money-power will not prevail against honesty and efficiency."
Highlighting his 19-year-Government background as necessary for running the Goa Government, Gomes said that in September 2016, he quit his Civil Service post of IG (prisons), three months after he sought voluntary retirement. On the numerous corruption scandals rocking Goa, he said AAP's foundation is anti-corruption and would continue to remain firm in this regard.
To a question about how he would cope against the big money backing for bigger political parties like BJP, Congress etc, he said "It's not a question or battle of money, but rather about people being fed up with this big money scams that have become a regular feature these days. The public has realized the folly of supporting these parties and now they have decided not to sell their votes, but instead choose to go with AAP. Our manifesto focuses on a proper vision for Goa and a brighter future for the youth of Goa."
About the Casinos issue rocking Goa, The Goa AAP chief said "We have already said that we are throwing the Casinos out – within the first six months of winning the Goa assembly elections."
Where the controversial Rs 36,000 crore illegal Goa mining issue is concerned, "We are looking at the mining issue being resolved amicably. We have heard the voice of the people and also of various movements like GoenchiMati. We have taken inputs from them and we are going to work out an amicable solution."
On any harassment he was facing from the BJP Government as the AAP's chief minister designate, Gomes said "I am not facing any problems and our party is united on this one. We have already selected 39 candidates and we already know who is our CM candidate – unlike other parties – so absolutely no confusion in this regard."
"Our chances of winning against the other political parties are very bright. We have covered most of the constituencies in Goa and found people spontaneously responding to us as – deep inside – the feeling is there that they want to go in for a change in Government."