AAP national convenor and Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal made the announcement at a press conference in Panaji today, where senior leader and Delhi MLA Atishi was also present. Palekar hugged Kejriwal after the announcement.
“Goa wants a change and AAP has been getting a tremendous response in the coastal state. People are impressed with the Delhi model of governance,” he said.
Kejriwal said that the party had chosen an “honest man” as their chief ministerial candidate for the state, adding that Palekar was well-known for his welfare work.
“Palekar is the one who is ready to even give his life for Goa,” said Kejriwal.
Palekar, who joined AAP in October, is an advocate by profession and belongs to the OBC Bhandari community, which comprises around 35% of Goa’s population.
Kejriwal said that while the community represents a considerable portion of the state’s population, only once has a chief minister been elected from among them – Ravi Naik for two-and-a-half-years.
When asked about whether the party was resorting to caste politics, the Delhi CM said his party was only seeking to “correct” the politics in the state. “On the contrary, we are correcting the caste politics which was earlier played by other political parties,” he said.
Palekar, 46, has been fielded from the St Cruz constituency, which is currently represented by the BJP.
“I’m guaranteeing you a Corruption-free Goa. We will get back Goa’s lost glory, a Goa everyone dreamt of. I will keep every word that I have said and that is my guarantee,” Palekar said.
AAP has announced it will contest all 40 constituencies in the Goa assembly. Goa will vote for a new government in a single phase on February 14. Results are scheduled to be announced on March 10.
Apart from the ruling BJP and the opposition Congress, the Trinamool Congress and the Shiv Sena are also in the fray this time.