Poor Churchill

By Sandesh Prabhudesai
27 March 2017 14:06 IST

Churchill Alemao, considered to be a political mastermind of the yesteryears, is a neglected soul in the Assembly today, even after staging a comeback after his whole family was wiped out in the 2012 Assembly election. The sole MLA of the Nationalist Congress Party from Benaulim is neither loved by the supposedly like-minded opposition Congress nor wanted by the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party. He has supported the BJP-led coalition, but it isn’t reciprocated. Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar is not offering him anything. He thus simply abstains when it comes to voting, either to elect the speaker or the deputy speaker.

The 68-year old, known as a muscleman, was a major political force in ‘90s. He could turn the tables upside down and blackmail the ruling parties, when it came to a hung Assembly. His nuisance value was a major irritant for all kind of politicians. He was a ‘destabliliser’, when political situation was fluid. A similar situation has arisen once again, almost after a decade. But this five-time MLA and two-time MP is helplessly sitting on the fence, waiting desperately for a call, either from the ruling side or the opposition. But hardly anybody is bothered.

The 13-member BJP formed the government with the help of three-members each of the MGP, Goa Forward and independents. Congress MLA Vishwajeet Rane has resigned from his Valpoi seat, supposedly to support the BJP-led coalition by facing a bye-election. Even some more may join him, to weaken the single largest Congress of 17. The BJP wants this. But, Churchill, is not wanted.

Why?

Simply because he has lost his political significance. His political opportunism has taken him miles away from being a political leader, either of a group of MLAs or a political party. Nobody trusts him anymore. His joining the NCP was just a survival attempt.

This alleged smuggler-turned politician entered Goa’s political arena at 33 as a disciple of Dr Wilfred de Souza and Luizinho Faleiro, in 1984, as Goa Congress. Though he lost his first election from Benaulim to Monte Cruz, he rode over the Konkani official language agitation of 1986 and made a debut in the Goa Assembly in 1989 as the Congress candidate. Since then, he has been the Benaulim MLA of UGDP in 1994 and Congress in 1999, Navelim MLA of Save Goa Front in 2007 and back as NCP MLA of Benaulim in 2017.

After 1984, he once again lost in Benaulim in 2002 to his own disciple Mickky Pacheco, who hijacked his own UGDP, which he had nurtured as a ‘new hope’ for Goans since 1994. And for the third time, he lost Navelim seat to a new BJP-supported independent entrant Avertano Furtado in 2012.

Meanwhile, he remained in the limelight by winning MP elections from South Goa – as UGDP in 1996 and Congress in 2004. He also lost 1998 Lok Sabha poll, getting pushed to third position. Francisco Sardinha of Congress won that election while Ramakant Angle of the BJP was the runner up.

Today, he is back in the Assembly, but as a wounded soldier with neither a gun in his hand nor enough ammunition to fight.

Simply because he has completely lost his political credibility.

He has betrayed each and every leader he followed including Dr Willy and even defeated his own political Guru, Luizinho Faleiro, in 2007. He betrayed each and every political party he joined, may it be the Congress, UGDP, Save Goa or even life-saving boats like Trinamool Congress or now the NCP. No sincere worker rallies around him anymore, except a bunch of few opportunists. And nobody believes him when he talks of saving Goa, serving the people or dedicating his services to the land.

Those were the days, from 1994 to 1999, when he not only took over the UGDP but raised a new hope among the common masses of Goa. In spite of his alleged smuggling background for which he was jailed by then chief minister Ravi Naik under COFEPOSA, Churchill emerged as a saviour of Goa for the Christians as well as the Hindus and Muslims. People were fed up of the corrupt Congress in those days and thirsting for an alternative. With his Robin Hood image, Churchill became their hero.

But, unfortunately, it did not last for long. After losing the Lok Sabha election of 1998 to the Congress, he betrayed the hopes of the masses and joined the same Congress, which he had condemned to the core. He came back as the Congress legislator in 1999 and even became a minister in the Luizinho Faleiro-led Congress government, which lasted hardly for over five months. Francisco Sardinha split from the Congress to become the CM, supported by the BJP, who later dumped him and Manohar Parrikar became the CM.

People did not forgive Churchill for his betrayal. He lost 2002 election in Benaulim to Mickky Pacheco of the UGDP, the same party which he had raised as a new hope for Goa with Goenkarponn at its heart. Since then, the aura around Churchill started diminishing. He remained no more a leader of the masses, group leader of aspiring politicians and a new hope for the sincere Goans.

That was the beginning of the end of his undisputed political career. After losing the Assembly poll, he contested and even won the 2004 Lok Sabha election, but came back to Goa to contest the 2007 Assembly poll, by forming Save Goa Front and whipping up anti-Congress feelings. He fielded 17 candidates. But only he from Navelim and Alex Reginald Lourenco from Curtorim won the election by defeating Luizinho and Sardinha respectively. In a hung Assembly, he merged the SGF into the Congress, to become the PWD minister in the Digambar Kamat-led Congress government.

The stories of rampant corruption during this tenure cost dearly to his whole family – ministers Churchill and Joaquim as well Churchill’s daughter Valanka and Joaquim’s son Yuri, who contested 2012 election. People rose up against the Family Raj and miserably defeated all the Alemaos. The outdated Churchill joined Trinamool Congress to contest the 2014 Lok Sabha election. Pushed down to fifth position, he even lost his deposit by garnering hardly 3 per cent votes. The record-voting winner with 1 lakh votes in 1996 was thrashed down to mere 11 thousand votes in 2014!

Meanwhile, he was once again jailed for over two months, from August to October in 2015, for a Louis Berger bribery case for his alleged involvement in the multi-crore scam during his tenure as the PWD minister.

He is now back in the Goa Assembly once again, but as a neglected soul, facing show cause notice from his party NCP for supporting the BJP-led coalition government. If party expels him, the one-time political king will have to sit as an unattached member in the House.

The Robin Hood of Goa and the hero of Niz Goenkar has turned into ‘One Individual Entity’ today. He can somehow manage to win with his little charisma and other political tricks. But no more a leader for the masses and terror for the politicians.

Churchill is a living example of what happens when you betray the Niz Goenkar after raising their hopes….

Blogger's Profile

Sandesh Prabhudesai

Sandesh Prabhudesai is a journalist, presently the Editor of goanews.com, Goa's oldest exclusive news website since 1996. He has earlier worked as the Editor-in-Chief of HCN and Prudent, Goa's TV channels and Editor of Sunaparant, besides working as a reporter for Goan and national dailies & weeklies in English and Marathi since 1987. He also reports for the BBC. He is also actively involved in literary and cultural activities.

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Previous Comments

Fully agree with the analysis above. One's shallow Goemkarponn stands exposed, not the first time a slight has been made, not the second time. But Goans will never forgive or forget any slight over Goemkarponn for the third time. One can fool some Goans sometimes, other Goans another time. But one cannot try to fool all the Goans all the time. This time it is Churchill Alemao who got 2 chances to prove himself. But the next one in line who is trying to fool Goans, i.e. Vijay Sardesai, will not get a second chance, given the enormity of his slight over his professed Goenkarponn.

- floriano lobo, moira goa | 31 st March 2017 19:20

 

The biggest mistake of his life is that he Merged his SGF into Congress. This made voters cry and their curses made him unwanted in Goa. If he would have stick to SGF, today he would have become CM from SGF. Goans were believing him. He would have been a hero of Goans if he would have not Merged SGF into Congress.

- Jack De Goan, Goa | 29 th March 2017 16:15

 

But this five-time MLA and two-time MP...

...Was Churchill Alemao not a CM of Goa SANDESH PRABHUDESAI ?

- Jose Cunha, Goa(UK) | 29 th March 2017 02:05

 

Churchill still has a 'condom' value. When in need, somebody will surely use him.

- jagat, Goa | 28 th March 2017 15:40

 

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