Panaji: With the Election Commission announcing March 3 as the date for Assembly elections in Goa, political activities in the state are expected to witness a sudden rise as there is only a little over two months left for the D-day.

Chief Election Commissioner S Y Quraishi on Saturday announced in Delhi the election dates for the five states, including Goa.

Welcoming the announcement, all the political parties in the state, including the ruling Congress and the opposition BJP, said they were ready to go for the polls.

Goa Pradesh Congress Committee (GPCC) President Subhash Shirodkar said the party is ready for the polls in alliance with the NCP.

"I will be chairing a meeting of Pradesh Election Committee on December 28 to screen the list of aspirants in various constituencies," he said.

Minutes after the announcement of the poll schedule, Leader of Opposition in state assembly Manohar Parrikar demanded that the Union Government budget should be postponed till March 3, as its presentation prior to that date would amount to violation of the model code of conduct.

"All the advertisements, promoting Goa government in the name of Golden Jubilee celebration of Goa's liberation from Portuguese rule, should be immediately withdrawn," Parrikar demanded.

He said, the party would undertake a campaign to appeal to the people to "liberate Goa from the corrupt rule of the Congressmen".

According to official figures, there are around 10 lakh registered voters in the state, which has 40 constituencies, delimited recently.

From 1963, Goa was ruled for the first 18 years by the Maharashtrawadi Gomantak Party (MGP), while Congress has mostly been at the helm after that barring 5 years of BJP rule between 2000 and 2005. BJP, which was almost a non-entity here till a decade back, has now emerged as a strong political opposition party.

The upcoming election is likely to revolve around a number of important issues, with illegal mining topping the list. This issue and its subsequent repercussions are likely to haunt the ruling Congress, as the BJP has already begun campaigning on the issue.

The present Digambar Kamat-led government, which managed to successfully complete its five years of rule, despite frequent political upheavals, has also owned anti-public sentiments on several issues.

Yet another issue related to the land use plan, will also work against the state government for the polls this time. The Regional Plan 2021, a futuristic land use plan, has been garnering much opposition from the people. The demand to denotify the plan is gaining weight with several village groups joining hands against it.

Congress will have an ardent task to convince people on the plan, which is currently being undertaken for rectification by the state level committee.

The proponents of local languages are up in arms against the Congress rule on the issue of medium of instruction (MOI). Kamat government's decision to allow English as the MOI in the elementary education has not gone well with the people, who have been protesting on the streets.

(Agencies)