Wednesday 28 February 2024

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Politics | Lok Sabha '98

Defeated Assembly candidates try their luck in LS polls


Rejected leaders are better candidates to win the elections, feels the local ruling Congress party in Goa.

To regain both the seats in the tourist state, the Congress has decided to field two former state ministers, including one former chief minister, who had lost miserably in the 1994 Assembly polls.

The criteria however is not their competency but the hold they are having over their respective communities, which may prove to be a nightmare to the sitting MPs of the United Front - union law minister Ramakant Khalap and South Goa MP Churchill Alemao.

The ruling party here has decided to field Ravi Naik, the former chief minister, to cross swords with Khalap. The former had defected from Khalap’s Maharashtrawadi Gomantak Party in 1991, to head the Congress government.

The Goa pradesh election committee has also recommended Francisco Sardinha, a former minister defeated by Alemao’s United Goans Democratic Party in the Assembly elections, who will now fight against the controversial South Goa MP.

Both Sardinha and Naik were miserably defeated in the 1994 Assembly polls and were in hibernation since then. "But their names are proposed by our grass root level cadres", claims Shantaram Naik, the GPCC president.

As most of the leaders have given their consent to the names, the possibility of the central election committee changing it appears bleak. On the contrary, the local Congress leaders seem happy as two ambitious politicians are going away from the state politics.

In a successful bid, the local party has also persuaded former union minister Eduardo Faleiro to withdraw from the race, while assuring him the Rajya Sabha ticket next year. He was the South Goa MP since 1977, till he was defeated in last elections by Churchill Alemao.

Sensing the mood in the party, even Faleiro admits that Sardinha is a better candidate to fight Alemao’s hegemony in South Goa. "People want new faces", says the five-time MP.

Though he seems to be happy with the assurance about the Rajya Sabha ticket, a senior local Congress leader laughs it out, stating that such pieces of paper have no meaning in the Congress party.

Faleiro however hopes to enter the House one year later, as the assurance is a resolution passed in the presence of all the groups within the ruling party, including chief minister Pratapsing Rane, rebel leader and Dy CM Wilfred de Souza as well as organisational leaders.

While the Congress is eyeing for its Catholic vote bank in the South, Naik is expected to win over the Bhandari vote bank, the majority community in the North Goa, which is normally a traditional MGP vote bank of Khalap.

While Sardinha’s victory is still doubtful given the mass popularity Alemao is having, the union law minister seems to be in a deep trouble with the community card played by the Congress to counter the United Front. is now on Telegram & also Youtube. Kindly subscribe for free & remain updated.

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