Senior Congress leader P Chidambaram on Sunday said that the party has announced 36 candidates of 37 for the upcoming assembly elections in Goa and the candidate for the last seat will also be revealed soon.
"Congress has announced 36 of the 37 candidates and shortly we will announce the candidate for that last seat. Yesterday we met with all the 36 candidates. The candidates have pleged that, having regard to the recent history of Goa, they will remain united and serve the full term of five years as members and if elected as MLAs of the Congress party, then we will run a united government," Mr Chidambaram said while addressing a press conference on Sunday.
Going forward, he said that the party will fight "unitedly" and expressed hope that the poeple of Goa will repose faith in the Congress party to elect their government in the forthcoming assembly elections.
Responding to a question on the dropping of 'Abide with Me' hymn from the Beating Retreat ceremony on January 29 as a part of the Republic Day celebrations, the Congress leader said, "It is an old hymn going back to 1847. Mahatma Gandhi's favourite hymn was 'Abide with me'. Since we became a republic in 1950, on every Republic Day celebration's last day, there is a ceremony called Beating the Retreat and it will always end with a march to the tune of 'Abide with Me'. It is very sad that an old hymn that is not just a Christian hymn but a secular hymn, the government in the 75th year of our independence has decided to abandon the hymn. It hurts a lot of poeple."
Answering a query on Trinamool Congress (TMC) national general secretary Abhishek Banerjee's remark "every vote to Congress is a vote to BJP", Mr Chidambaram said, "I hold a very humble position in the Congress party. I am no equal to the General Secretary of the All India Trinamool Congress. So I can't engage in a verbal exchange with the distinguished MP from Bengal. All I can say is that Congress has the strength, membership, deep root in Goan society and past record and history of service to the Goan people. When Goan people vote for Congress, they know they will get a Congress government."
Responding to another question on Congress' decision of announcing a Chief Ministerial face for Goa Assembly elections, Mr Chidambaram said, "We will consult all the candidates after the nomination process is over. We will take into accout their view, whether they want a Congress CM to be announced before the elections or a CM to be announced after the election. That view will be conveyed to the AICC and we will take a deicision. We are open to either."
Goa will go to the Assembly polls on February 14. The counting of votes will take place on March 10.
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