The Shiv Sena on Thursday hit out at the Congress, its coalition partner in Maharashtra, for not agreeing for an alliance in the Goa elections, reported PTI. The coastal state will vote in a single phase on February 14 and the results will be declared on March 10.

“The Congress has only three MLAs in Goa,” said Shiv Sena leader Sanjay Raut. “The party’s MLAs have deserted it enmasse. Key political parties, we [Shiv Sena and NCP] had offered to support the Congress in its difficult times. But I don’t know what the Congress is thinking. It cannot cross the single digit mark if it contests alone.”

Raut said he had proposed that the Congress should contest 30 of the 40 Assembly seats in Goa and leave the remaining 10 for the Shiv Sena, the Nationalist Congress Party and the Goa Forward Party. He claimed that the Congress had not won those 10 seats in the last 50 years.

The Shiv Sena MP said that Congress’ Rahul Gandhi was open to the idea, but the local leaders in Goa opposed it.

In the last state elections in Goa in 2017, the Congress had emerged as the single largest party with 17 legislators in the Assembly. However, the BJP, which won 13 seats, forged alliances with regional outfits and Independent MLAs to form the government.

On Tuesday, Nationalist Congress Party chief Sharad Pawar had also said that they were in talks with the Congress and Trinamool Congress for an alliance in Goa. He had said that a decision will be made soon.

However, Congress leader Dinesh R Gundu Rao has ruled out any possibility of his party tying up with the Trinamool Congress. He had also accused the Trinamool Congress of poaching his party’s MLAs.

In recent months, several Congress leaders have left the party to join the Trinamool Congress as the latter seeks to expand its presence in Goa.

Raut on Thursday also offered to support the candidature of former Goa Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar’s son Utpal Parrikar.

“Utpal has to take the courageous decision to contest the elections,” he added. “You need to be courageous to contest elections. If he takes that decision, the Shiv Sena will support him.”

On UP elections

Raut said the Shiv Sena will not ally with any party for the Assembly elections in Uttar Pradesh. He said that the party had plans to field 50 to 100 candidates in the state.

“We are not going to form an alliance with [the] BJP, Congress and Samajwadi Party,” said Raut. “We have ideological differences with Samajwadi Party. So, we will not go with them. But, we want change in Uttar Pradesh and it is happening.”

On Thursday, Raut met farmer leader Rakesh Tikait.

“I discussed the serious problems and issues faced by farmers of Uttar Pradesh and political situation in the country,” Raut said after the meeting. “The burning issues of farmers of western Uttar Pradesh too figured prominently. Shiv Sena is committed to deliver justice to the farmers.”

The 403-seat Uttar Pradesh Assembly will go to polls on February 10. The elections will be held in seven phases till March 7, and the results will be announced on March 10.