With the several exit polls predicting a hung house in Goa, the fate of forming a state government now hinges on ‘resort politics’.
Congress has already holed up its 37 candidates to a resort in North Goa to deter BJP from striking a deal with any of its candidates.
"We have left no stone unturned to ensure no repeat of what happened in 2017. The MLAs have been directed to report at a location (undisclosed) and stay in one place until the government formation process is complete," said one of the candidates.
On Monday, the AICC desk in charge for Goa Dinesh Gundu Rao had said that the party would take a decision about moving its candidates to the common venue on Tuesday in the “spirit of camaraderie” and to stay prepared to ward off the BJP’s “dirty tricks”.
However, senior Congress leaders have refuted these claims, saying that party leaders have gathered at the resort to celebrate former chief minister Digambar Kamat's birthday.
Congress has also deployed the party's key troubleshooter in Karnataka, DK Shivakumar, to safeguard its candidates and shepherd them during the critical period from the time when results are announced on March 10 till the time the party makes its case for power before Governor P.S. Sreedharan Pillai if its numbers carry weight.
Sources said Shivakumar is going to camp in Goa for three days to ensure that the grand old party, which missed a chance to form the government by a whisker in the last Assembly elections, does not commit the same mistakes again.
Congress had raised its guard earlier after it sensed that BJP is trying to approach some of its leaders. Last week, Goa Congress chief Girish Chodankar even accused the BJP of snooping on its candidates and said that BJP has hired a private company to tap the phones of Congress candidates.
The Congress had 17 MLAs in 2017 but was reduced to just two MLAs by 2022, due to mass desertion over the period of five years.