Panaji, Oct 14: Congress veteran P Chidambaram on Thursday expressed confidence that his party will win the Goa Assembly elections due next year and also the next Lok Sabha polls in 2024.

Chidambaram, who is the AICC Goa poll in-charge, was addressing party workers after inaugurating the state election campaign office in Panaji.

Let me say one thing from history...whoever wins Goa wins Delhi. In 2007 we won Goa...in 2009 we won Delhi. In 2012, we unfortunately lost Goa, in 2014 we lost Delhi. In 2017, you (referring to party workers) won Goa, but our legislators lost Goa, he said, while noting that the Congress was defeated in the 2019 Lok Sabha elections.

The former Union minister said this time, his party is moving forward with courage and confidence and "will win Goa in 2022 and Delhi in 2024".

In the 2017 Goa Assembly polls, the Congress emerged as the single largest party by winning 17 seats in the 40-member House. But, the BJP at that time forged an alliance with some regional outfits and independent legislators to form government.

The Congress currently has only four legislators in the state.

Chidambaram said, "The history is ours...we are beginning today on an auspicious day and our office has been inaugurated by a valuable statesman and former chief minister Pratapsingh Rane."

Addressing the Congress workers, he said they should remember the "golden years" when Goa moved forward, progressed and developed in the fields like industries, schools, colleges and roads.

"We will bring back that golden age of Goa, beginning 2022. I wish you go forward with courage and confidence, he said to the Congress workers.

Chidambaram also said Goa will not be colonised by "some political party".

"Goa cannot become a political colony of any invader. Goa will be governed by Goans. Goa is of Goans, by Goans and for Goans. Goa will be ruled by Goans, he said, without naming any political outfit.

Notably, former Goa chief minister Luizinho Faleiro quit the Congress last month and joined the Mamata Banerjee-led Trinamool Congress.

Chidambaram said the Congress has presented before the state the faces of its leaders.

And in the days ahead, the party will come up with more young leaders, including from among women, Schedule Tribes, fishermen community and Dalits, to govern Goa, he said.

Chidambaram also said he will be guiding the party workers on how to convert election offices into "vibrant election offices".

Every block committee will have an office and every block committee office will function as the block election campaign office, he said.

He also said that they had spent enough time on planning and discussions and now is the time to go out in the field and start the work.

Between now and 100 days from now, there will be elections. I don't know the date of elections, but let me count a 100 days from today. Everyday we must move forward, win more hearts and minds, he said.

The Congress should win more votes and send a credible message to the whole of Goa and the country that the coastal state will see the Congress government in 2022, he said.

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Hong Kong, Oct 25: Amnesty International said Monday it would close its two offices in Hong Kong this year, becoming the latest non-governmental organization to cease its operations amid a crackdown on political dissent in the city.

The human rights group said its local office in Hong Kong would close this month while its regional office will close by the end of the year, with regional operations moved to other offices in the Asia-Pacific region.

This decision, made with a heavy heart, has been driven by Hong Kong's national security law, which has made it effectively impossible for human rights organizations in Hong Kong to work freely and without fear of serious reprisals from the government, Anjhula Mya Singh Bais, chair of Amnesty's board, said in a statement.

Hong Kong implemented a sweeping national security law in 2020 following months of massive anti-government protests. The law outlaws secession, subversion of state power, terrorism and foreign collusion to intervene in the city's affairs. More than 120 people, many of them supporters of the city's democracy movement, have been arrested under the law.

The majority of the city's prominent pro-democracy activists are behind bars for taking part in unauthorized assemblies, and dozens of political organizations and trade unions have ceased operations out of concern for their members' personal safety under the security law.

Bais said the recent targeting of local human rights and trade union groups signaled authorities were intensifying their campaign to rid the city of dissenting voices. It is increasingly difficult for us to keep operating in such an unstable environment, she said.

Critics in Hong Kong say the national security law is an erosion of freedoms, such as those of expression and assembly, that were promised the city for 50 years when the former British colony was handed over to China in 1997.