Bigwigs bite dust in municipal polls

SANDESH PRABHUDESAI, PANAJI | 17 October 2000 22:51 IST

The recently concluded municipal polls in Goa have proved to be a hard blow to all the politicians, for whom changing political allegiance for selfish power games at the cost of development had become order of the day.

Cutting across all the party lines and defeating major bigwigs including several municipal mayors, Goans in 11 municipal councils have elected plenty of new faces while also defeating candidates fielded by ruling politicians.

Prominent among them is former Mapusa municipal president Subhash Narvekar, brother of deputy chief minister Dayanand Narvekar, who was recently indicted in a corruption case related to one of the municipal frauds during his tenure.

Though the ruling coalition overruled the recommendation made by the Public Men's Corruption (Investigations and Inquiries) Commission to debar Narvekar from contesting, the electorate made him to bite dust while also defeating another former president Mathew Braganza.

At least six more outgoing presidents from Margao, Pedne, Bicholim, Valpoi, Sanguem and Curchorem had to also face humiliating defeat while several others had already opted out from the fray.

There may be hardly any municipality in Goa which did not see more than two or three presidents. Taking full benefit of municipal elections not being held on party lines, the councillors changed sides frequently while messing up all the major cities and towns.

The biggest blow however is faced by the BJP, which had managed to rise from four to ten in the Assembly here while sharing power with 11 Congress defectors led by chief minister Francisco Sardinha.

Except in Margao, the South Goa district town, and Canacona, the southernmost municipality, the BJP is literally washed away from all the places here in spite of its ministers and legislators floating panels everywhere.

Similar is the miserable fate of panels floated by Sardinha's Goa Peoples' Congress, except in Mapusa, where the panel supported by urban development minister Francisco D'Souza swept the polls by defeating the panel supported by his own deputy chief minister Narvekar's defeated brother.

The Congress, which is splitting into various factions even in the House here, is being converted into a non-entity by the Goan electorate even in the municipal polls. The most humiliating defeat however was faced by the panel sponsored by former chief minister Luizinho Faleiro in Margao.

However, the situation is gloomy even after such fantastic results as this has elected hung municipalities in most of the places. The horsetrading to form majority has thus already begun, due to which it cannot be ruled out that the history of defections would continue to repeat.

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