Panaji: The upcoming Zilla Panchayat elections, due in March, have run into rough weather with the two main opposition parties now vowing to boycott the polls even before the campaigning could start in the state.
The Congress Monday become the latest party to resolve to boycott the elections, which by an ordinance issued two weeks ago by the Bharatiya Janata Party-led coalition government, will now be contested along political lines.
"We will not take part in these elections as a party and we are opposed to this decision to hold elections on party lines," Congress spokesperson Yatish Naik said.
On Saturday, the Nationalist Congress Party had also said it would not take part in the elections for similar reasons.
The first rumblings of opposition for the Zilla Panchayat elections on party lines had come from the outgoing members of the North and South panchayats, who had questioned the government`s move, which they too claim, was conceived and executed without consulting them.
Goa chief minister Laxmikant Parsekar, however, defended his government`s decision claiming it was his prerogative and that an election on political lines for the Zilla Panchayats would prevent constant defection of elected members from opposition to treasury benches and vice versa.
"If the new system (Zilla Panchayat elections on political lines) gets a good response, we could even think of having village panchayat polls on political lines," Parsekar said.
"Other states like West Bengal also have political parties contesting Zilla Panchayat elections. Goa is not the first (state)," Parsekar said.
Goa has two Zilla Parishads but, its members have accused successive state governments of delegating the Panchayati Raj institutions little power or budget.