Congress releases second list of candidates for Goa polls

Panaji, Jan 15 (IANS) The Congress party on Sunday released its second list of seven candidates for the upcoming Goa assembly polls, taking the number of candidates finalised so far to 34 of the 40 assembly seats.

The move could virtually rule out an alliance with the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) in the state, as the NCP was keen to contest the Vasco and Benaulim seats, from where the Congress has fielded Saifulla Khan and Edwin Barretto, respectively.

Names of the other five candidates finalised by the All India Congress Committee on Sunday are Vijay Bhike (Mapusa), Joseph Sequeira (Calangute), Tony Fernandes (St. Cruz), Fialho Xavier (Cumbarjua) and Santosh Sawanth (Maem).

On January 12, the Congress had released a list of 27 candidates.

The state goes to polls on February 4.

The party, which was reduced to an unprecedented nine seats in the 2012 state assembly elections, is still in talks with another regional party, Goa Forward, for an alliance, party sources said.

“The final list of candidates will depend on the outcome of the alliance talks… The Congress will announce its position on the alliance on January 17,” All India Congress Committee General Secretary Girish Chodankar told IANS.