The Congress will contest 36 out of the 40 seats in the upcoming Goa Assembly elections, PTI reported on Thursday. The party has left four seats for other outfits including the new Goa Forward party, which was launched a year ago. All India Congress Committee General Secretary Digvijaya Singh said the arrangement was a seat-sharing pact and was not indicative of an alliance.

While Goa Forward will contest the Fatorda and Siolim seats, expelled Congress legislator Atanasio Monserratte’s United Goan Party will contest the elections from the Panaji seat. The Congress will provide support to independent lawmaker Rohan Khaunte for the Porvorim seat, according to PTI. Singh said the Congress was supporting non-party candidates in a bid to defeat the Bharatiya Janata Party in the state. The party had earlier ruled out an alliance with the Nationalist Congress Party.

Both the BJP and Congress have released their first list of candidates for the Assembly elections in Goa. Out of the 29 names announced by the BJP, 18 are sitting MLAs. Chief Minister Laxmikant Yeshwant Parsekar will be contesting the polls from the Mandrem constituency. The BJP is also facing competition from an alliance between the Shiv Sena and the Goa Suraksha Manch, a party led by former Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh Goa chief Subhash Velingkar.

The elections will be held on February 4, and the results will be announced on March 11.