Congress shaken up in Salcete

SANDESH PRABHUDESAI, PANAJI | 02 March 2012 22:15 IST

Congress, for the first time in the history of elections in Goa, is struggling hard to retain its hold in most of the total eight constituencies.

The Congress has already lost Fatorda as the fight is between sitting MLA Damu Naik of the BJP and independent Vijay Sardesai, who was denied Congress ticket at last minute.

Sardesai too is struggling hard for a debut as he is facing three rivals within the Congress vote bank – M K Shaikh of Congress, Piedade Silva of the Trinamul Congress and another independent Arthur D’Silva.

He however has heavily intruded into the BJP vote bank, posing equally serious challenge before Damu. The results here are completely unpredictable.

Comparatively, Congress appears to be quite safe in Margao where chief minister Digambar Kamat is contesting, besides Curtorim fought for the second time by Alex Reginald Lawrence.

A fierce battle is witnessed between two heavyweights in Nuvem – power minister Alexio Sequeira for the Congress and former minister Mickky Pacheco of the Goa Vikas Party. Both sides appear equally strong.

The incident of the police grilling the priest in Velim has turned out to be a major setback for minister Philip Neri Rodrigues. He however has a strong base among the ST community in various parts of the constituency, which may help him scrape through.

Benjamin Silva, an independent, has however emerged as a front runner among total three candidates crossing swords with Neri in Velim. Going against its tradition, the BJP has also this time supported Silva instead of Neri.

Urban development Joaquim Alemao is also seen trying hard to retain his vote bank in Cuncolim against BJP’s Subhash Naik. There are also six more candidates damaging his vote bank.

While the BJP has a sizeable vote bank in Cuncolim, even the minorities in Cuncolim have started openly moving with the BJP candidate, which is a matter of worry for Joaquim.

It is also not a cake walk for both the father and the daughter – Churchill and Valanka Alemao – in Navelim and Benaulim respectively.

At least two among six others are tough contenders against Valanka – Caetano alias Caetu Silva of the GVP and Dr Hubert Gomes, an independent.  Some people are trying hard to avoid split of votes by mobilizing everybody around Caetu, in order to defeat Valanka.

But the murmur in Benaulim is that John Fernandes contesting as an independent has Churchill’s blessings, in order to split Caetu’s votes.

Valanka’s prospects thus would depend upon how much John succeeds on one side and  whether people succeed to gather around one person rather than splitting the anti-Alemao votes.

It is also not safe for Churchill in Navelim. Avertano Furtado, an independent, is gathering large crowds, including the BJP.  

Even former Navelim MLA Luizinho Faleiro and some anti-Alemao forces within the Congress are reportedly working through Furtado to defeat Churchill.

Perhaps this is the reason Churchill suddenly burst out against Digambar Kamat, alleging that the CM is working against him. This is interpreted as an usual Churchill style of using offence as a defence to justify, in case he gets defeated tomorrow.

However political analysts still feel that all three Alemaos – Churchill, Joaquim and Valanka – would manage their victory.

Even if they are defeated, the BJP would benefit only in Cuncolim and not in Navelim or Benaulim. BJP in fact has neither a candidate nor has supported any independent in Benaulim.

The situation has suddenly become shaky for the Congress in Salcete, not because people are working against independents but sizeable number of minorities has started working for the BJP.

If this trend continues, in spite of the Congress getting all seven seats (except Fatorda), this could prove the beginning of a new era in Salcete, making Manohar Parrikar’s one-time Mission Salcete successful. 

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Previous Comments

Congress has taken the minority Catholic support for granted, foisting corrupt candidates on the people with the justification of WINNABILITY (a word not even found in the dictionary). That too they are submitting to the political machinations of a few families who are trying to extend their hold in the party through close relatives using the clout and money earned (grabbed/swindled?) through their position as elected representatives and ministers. Naturally, such relatives start with an advantage compared to new candidates who have to work their way through the system, that cannot be the sole criteria to decide candidates and their winnability. Untimately, the people want good non-corrupt candidates, who will administer the state well and smoothen the common man's life. They do not want these "winnable" candidates who will join their god-fathers in looting the govt and people and will therefore not be able to stop down-the-line people in the administration from looting too. The state of Govt offices which the common man has to deal with is pathetic and downright revolting in terms of service, speed and ease of work and corruption. Candidates chosen by the Congress are so busy filling their personal coffers, that they have no time to administer or develop the state once elections are over. Therefore, the minorities are voting against the Congress to teach them a lesson that they should listen to the people and not think they are WINNABLE by themselves.

- Peter, Goa | 03 rd March 2012 14:06

 

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