Panaji, Jan 27 : The Congress has fielded 80 per cent new and young faces for the February 14 assembly elections, out of which 18 are first time contestants, Goa Congress President Girish Chodankar said on Thursday.
Speaking to reporters at a press conference in Panaji, Chodankar also said that the party had stuck to its promise to the people of Goa of having no truck of any kind with defecting legislators who have switched from the Congress to the ruling BJP since 2017.
"Our list of candidates has 70 to 80 per cent new and young faces. Only six percent candidates are former MLAs. 31 candidates are new and young faces. 18 of them are first time contestants," Chodankar told reporters.
The state Congress president also said that the party was contesting around 37 out of the 40 state assembly constituencies, adding that the party had far made the names of 34 candidates public. "The other names of candidates will be released soon," Chodankar said.
He also said that only six candidates declared so far are former MLAs.
"Four candidates are in the age group of 30 to 40 years. 18 candidates are in the age group of 40 to 50 years and 10 candidates are between the ages of 50 and 60 years. We have fielded only five candidates who are above the age of sixty years. The average of Congress candidates is 48 years, which is young," Chodankar said.
The state Congress president also said that as announced by the party two years ago, no defector has been given a ticket by the Congress.
"People wanted the Congress not give tickets to defectors and the party should field new, young faces. Congress took a firm decision on the demands of the people that Congress will not give tickets to defectors," he said.
"We will not allow defectors any support even if they are fielded by our alliance partners," he added.
Seventeen Congress MLAs were elected to the state assembly in 2017, out of which 13 defected to the Congress by 2021.
Other Congress MLAs like former Chief Ministers Ravi Naik and Luizinho Faleiro joined the Congress and the Trinamool Congress, respectively.