The Maharashtrawadi Gomantak Party, Goa Suraksha Manch and Shiv Sena on Tuesday said their parties have united to form a “grand alliance” before the Goa Assembly elections. The alliance will vie for 35 of the 40 constituencies with the MGP’s Ramkrishna Dhavalikar, alias Sudin, as its chief ministerial candidate, PTI reported.

Speaking to reporters along with GSM’s Subhash Velingkar and Shiv Sena’s Sanjay Raut, Dhavalikar said, “The three parties will opt for seat sharing during the upcoming Goa polls. This will be a grand alliance between like-minded forces.” Velingkar will chair a coordination committee that will serve as a communication channel for the three parties.

Dhavalikar said Shiv Sena will field candidates in Saligao, Tivim, Cuncolim and Mormugao, while the GSM will contest in the constituencies of Siolim, Panaji, Mayem, Sakhali, Curchorem and Velim. MGP’s candidates will contest the elections from the remaining seats.

Velingkar said, “Once we form the government, our first step will be to withdraw government grants given to schools having English as Medium of Instruction. The state has been divided over the Medium of Instruction matter for several years.

Raut alleged that the longstanding alliance the Shiv Sena shared with the Bharatiya Janata Party was ruined by the BJP’s political goals. He said his party was known for standing by its allies and that it will do the same in Goa.

The Shiv Sena leader accused Union Defence Minister and BJP leader Manohar Parrikar (who was Goa’s chief minister earlier) of “busying himself with Goan politics” while the Army was attacked by militants. Raut claimed, “Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar is sitting in the Goa BJP office distributing (poll) tickets while our Army base camps are being attacked by terrorists.”