Monday, February 20, 2017

Congress yet to decide on alliance

Final call may be taken today by Sonia Gandhi; meeting between Congress, GF, NCP and UG remains inconclusive

12 Jan, 2017, 03:31AM IST

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Team Herald

PANJIM: The crucial meeting on the pre-poll alliance between the Congress high command, Goa Forward, Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) and United Goans, remained inconclusive in Delhi on Wednesday. A final call on the matter will be taken by Congress President Sonia Gandhi on Thursday, when the list of candidates is expected to be announced.
The three-member committee constituted by the All India Congress Committee (AICC) to decide on the alliance matter, held its meeting with Goa Forward mentor Vijai Sardesai, United Goans chief Atanasio (Babush) Monserrate and NCP leader Praful Patel late Wednesday night, where all three parties placed their proposal before the committee. Congress members who attended the meeting were Central Election Committee members KC Venugopal, Deepak Babaria and Bhakta Charan Das, AICC general secretary Digvijay Singh and secretary Chella Kumar. 
Emerging from the meeting, Sardesai told Herald that no decision has been taken on the alliance, however, the committee appears positive towards ties. “We have placed our demands for four seats. Committee has assured that the decision on alliance will be taken latest by Friday morning,” he said.
Goa Forward has asked for Fatorda (Vijai Sardesai), Saligao (Jayesh Salgaocar), Siolim (Vinod Palyekar) and Velim (Antony Rodrigues). Congress is yet to agree on three seats, it is reluctant to give up Velim, where the party is expected to field former Minister Felipe Neri Rodrigues.
“We have told Congress that, my party candidates, along with me, will be filing nominations on January 16. Before that the decision has to be taken,” he said.
United Goans has proposed that Monserrate will contest on the UG ticket from Panjim and that Congress should support his candidate Ramakant Borkar in Cortalim. He also demanded that while giving a ticket to his wife and sitting MLA Jennifer in Taleigao, Congress should give tickets to his aides former MLA Francis Silveria in St Andre and Tony Fernandes in St Cruz. “I have placed my proposals, the alliance is needed and I am hopeful,” Monserrate said.
Sources revealed that NCP has agreed to two seats, Vasco where Jose Philip D’Souza will contest and Benaulim where former Minister Churchill Alemao will be the candidate. 
Meanwhile, Congress has finalised 25 candidates, which include the six sitting MLAs, President Luizinho Faleiro, leaders like Ravi Naik, Agnelo Fernandes, Subhash Shirodkar, Nilkant Halarnkar, along with some young faces.