CM Sawant dubs politicians’ visit to Goa as ‘political tourism’; ‘Will revive business’

Ahead of assembly polls in Goa, as Congress’ Rahul Gandhi and TMC supremo Mamata Banerjee makes plans to tour the state, Chief Minister Pramod Sawant said he sees it as ‘political tourism’. Apparently, taking a jibe at Gandhi and Banerjee visiting the poll-bound state, Pramod Sawant stated that he welcomes the political tourism as it will help revive the taxi and hotel business, which had taken a hit following the coronavirus pandemic.

“This is political tourism. During the next four months, the taxi and hotel businesses, which had suffered due to the pandemic would get a good business with such kind of tourism,” the chief minister told reporters.

On Rahul Gandhi in the state

While Mamata Banerjee recently visited Goa, Arvind Kejriwal will arrive at the poll-bound state on Monday. Meanwhile, Rahul Gandhi arrived in the state on Saturday. Kickstarting Congress’ poll campaign in Goa, Rahul Gandhi met locals, fishermen, and party workers. The Wayanad MP took a ride on Goa’s famous motorcycle taxi, known as ‘Pilot’, from Bambolim to Azad Maidan in Panaji. In the clip shared by the grand old party’s official handle, Gandhi was seen riding pillion on a motorbike. Referring to the same, Sawant said, “I felt good that he rode pillion a two-wheeler taxi. It must be the first time for him. We have been traveling on two-wheeler taxis and in rickshaws.”

Pramod Sawant had a similar reaction to Rahul Gandhi’s interaction with fisherfolk. He said, “I have been meeting fishermen every day whenever I visit the market and listen to their grievances.”

Goa’s political scenario

In the 2017 Assembly elections in Goa, Congress won the highest 17 seats in the 40-member House, restricting the BJP to 13.  However, surprising the Congress, the saffron party allied with regional parties and formed the government under the leadership of senior leader Manohar Parrikar. After Parrikar’s demise, the CM’s position fell vacant and Pramod Sawant was elected to the post. 

As the BJP-led government completes its 5 year-tenure, various political groups have cropped up to challenge the continuation of its rule in the next term. Congress, which is dreaming of coming back to power, has sent Rahul Gandhi to interact with locals and gather support. Besides regular visits, TMC, which is hell-bent on making inroads to the state, has inducted in the party former CM of the state and ex-Congress leader Luizinho Faleiro, and also tennis player Leander Paes. Another player-AAP has also bolstered its chances, with the party’s national convener Kejriwal announcing free power up to 300 units per month and 80% jobs for locals if his party is voted to power during his recent visit to Panaji.

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