Cong high command summons Sardinha, Alemao on ticket issue

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Panaji, Oct 10 (UNI) Summoned by the Congress High Command, Goa Pradesh Congress Committee(GPCC) President Francisco Sardinha and Save Goa Front chief Churchil Alemao airdashed to New Delhi late last night to confer with the party supremo Sonia Gandhi on the nominee for the party ticket for October 30 byelection to Mormugao Lok Sabha Constituency.

Mr Alemao's resignation as the Congress rebel in May last caused the byelection.

Mr Alemao contested successfully from Navelim Assembly segment in June 2 election as SGF supremo and joined the Digambar Kamat-led coalition government as the PWD minister in August last following an assurance that his advocate daughter Ms.Valanka would be given the party ticket for the byelection.

The duo were expected to meet Ms Gandhi today in presence of the party's general secretary B K Hariprasad in charge of Goa desk with the election process already initiated on October 5.

October 12 is the last date for filing nominations and the party rank and file in Goa insist that the ticket be given to a senior Congress leader even as the GPCC president,who was also former chief minister and speaker, was in the race.

With the party reportedly insisting on the merger of the SGF with the Congress as per the agreement for giving the ticket to Ms Valanka, Mr Alemao had also summoned his party executive members to Delhi possibly to formalise the merger or otherwise in the capital.

Dissatisfied with the way Mr Alemao had made the party his personal fiefdom for promoting family intersts against the ideals the SGF was constituted, its founder president Sidhanath Bouyao and mentor general secretary Dr Wilfred Mesquita resigned from the primary membership of the SGF a few days ago.

Dr Mesquita, who was formerly a minister with a clean image,was the first choice of the BJP for offering the party ticket to contest the byelection in South Goa which is the strong hold for Catholic Christian community.

The merger had been vehemently opposed by Mr Reginaldo Laurenco(SGF legislator from Curtorim who defeated Francisco Sardinha in June 2 assembly polls).

The hopes of Mr Alemao, who took reins of SGF after quitting the Congress,to rule the state were dashed when only two party legislators, himself and Laurenco, were elected to the Assembly.

He joined the BJP-led Goa Democratic Alliance(GDA) only to desert it a few days later with the Congress luring him with the cabinet berth to save the government from possible instability.

If Mr Alemao fails to merge the SGF with the Congress, the latter may give leverage to the 2-member Maharashtrawadi Gomantak Party again by offering Cabinet berth to Dhavlikar Brothers.Mr Alemao continued to be unpredictable by nature throughout his political career.

The withdrawal of support to Kamat government by the MGP plunged the government in minority in July last with the 2-members joining the GDA.

The Speaker Pratapsinh Rane disqualified them which was, however, challenged in the Supreme Court.

The MGP later withdrew from the GDA with the Speaker giving the brothers a relief by declaring them as members of the House without voting rights.


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