Willy fields Delhi lawyer for RS seat

| 14 July 1999 23:19 IST

Elections for the sole Rajya Sabha seat in Goa are likely to be quite interesting as the non-Congress parties have fielded a Delhi-based lawyer as its common candidate, while also expecting rebellion within the ruling Congress party on 26 July, the day of polling.

To fight former union minister Eduardo Faleiro, who was rejected from active politics by the South Goa electorate since 1996, Bhavani Shankar Gadnis has filed nomination from Goa. He resigned from the post of the joint secretary of the legal cell of the Congress and flew down to Goa.

Dr Wilfred de Souza, on behalf of whose Goa Rajiv Congress Gadnis is contesting, feels he has won the first battle by seeking support of 16 opposition legislators belonging to the three parties, including the 10-member Bharatiya Janata Party and four-member Maharashtrawadi Gomantak Party in the 40-member House. "I have to now manage five more from the Congress", he says.

After engineering defections in the two-member United Goans Democratic Party, strength of the ruling Congress party has risen to 23 while the sole independent is also backing the government. "But I still do not rule out rebellion within the Congress", claims Manohar Parrikar, the opposition leader belonging to the BJP.

At least nine Congress legislators are in a mood to protest against chief minister Luizinho Faleiro’s dilly-dallying over expansion of the six-member cabinet. In fact the situation is so fluid that there may be even change in the government by the time month-long ongoing Assembly session ends on 3 September, if dissidence becomes visible on 26 July.

Though some of the disgruntled Congress legislators are loyalists of Rajya Sabha candidate Eduardo Faleiro, Parrikar feels de Souza’s choice for the candidate is right as Gadnis is also equally close to a large chunk of the disgruntled Congress legislators.

With Goa’s disqualification cases over defections reaching the Supreme Court time and again, Gadnis has helped most of them in legal matters. It is to be seen whether this relation would be reciprocated by electing him to the Rajya Sabha, though chief minister is quite confident of his party’s victory

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