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A vote against communalism, says Margaret Alva

Monday 6 June 2005, by SASTRY*Anil

Congress strength up from 15 to 18; race on for CLP leader’s post

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Arvind Tengse
Digambar Kamat being garlanded by a party worker after he won the Margao Assembly seat in the June 2 byelection to the Goa Assembly.

PANAJI: All-India Congress Committee (AICC) general secretary Margaret Alva told presspersons here on Sunday that there were no contenders for the post of leader of the Congress Legislature Party in Goa.

To a question on the contenders for CLP leadership, a beaming Ms. Alva said, "Everything in the party is decided by consensus and the members would elect their leader tomorrow." Stating that the victory was a vote for the Congress, she claimed that the people had voted against communalism.

She said that a delegation would meet Governor S.C. Jamir to apprise him of the latest developments.

It would also seek information on the timeframe within which the Assembly could be revived.

NCP strength up

The strength of the Congress has now gone up from 15 to 18 in the 40-member Assembly. The tally of the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) has gone up from one to two. Also, the combine enjoys the support of the lone Maharashtrawadi Gomantak Party MLA.

Congress sources said that the race for Chief Ministership was limited to Pratapsinh Rane, Luizinho Faleiro and GPCC president Ravi Naik. There were indications that Digambar Kamat, who dealt the final blow to the Manohar Parrikar Government by resigning his membership, would also be considered.

Mr. Naik also said that the CLP leader would be elected unanimously.

BJP wins in Poinguinim

Four of the five MLAs, who defected from the BJP, were elected from their own constituencies.

However, Isidore Fernandes, who defected from the Congress to the BJP and back within eight months, tasted defeat at the hands of the BJP candidate in Poinguinim.

Babush Monserrate of the Congress polled 11,657 votes in Taleigao to defeat Pradeep Nagvekar of the BJP by 6,228 votes. Pandurang Madkaikar (Congress) won in Cumbarjua by a margin of 3,755 votes defeating the Congress rebel, Nirmala Sawant.

Digambar Kamat (Congress) polled 8,682 votes as against the BJP candidate, Sharmad Pai Raiturkar’s 7,305 to clinch victory. Micky Pacheco (NCP) sailed through in Benaulim, securing 8,386 votes as against the United Goan Democratic Party candidate, Monte Cruz, who got 5,510 votes.

Prakash Tawadkar, who defeated Isidore Fernandes, was the only saving grace for the BJP. While Mr. Tawadkar secured 5,356 votes, Mr. Fernandes could manage only 4,467 votes.

The byelections were necessitated following the resignation of five BJP MLAs in January and February.

After the Manohar Parrikar Government was toppled, the Pratapsinh Rane-led Congress Government came to power on February 2. As it could not prove its majority on the floor of the House, President’s Rule was imposed on March 4 and the Assembly kept under suspended animation.

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