Atanasio ‘Babush’ Monserrate will back the BJP candidate for the post of Mayor in Panjim; Pandurang Raut Dessai has been nominated to that post; These moves are the public manifestation of secret discussions that took place between the former Congress strongman and the BJP
After being gifted with the chairmanship of Greater Panjim planning and Development authority (GPPDA), former Congress MLA Atanasio ‘Babush’ Monserrate has apparently shifted his loyalty to Chief Minister Manohar; and this is going to be evident during the upcoming election for the post of City Mayor.
Monserrate, who has been the uncrowned king of the Corporation of the City of Panjim (CCP) through his panel, is all set to back BJP’s candidate Pandurang Raut Dessai as the new Mayor, while the deputy Mayor’s post will be chaired by the ruling panel’s Asmita Kerkar.
The former education minister had joined the ruling coalition- Goa Forward Party (GFP) just ahead of the Panjim by-election scheduled in August, last year, extending his support to Parrikar. As a part of a secret deal, Monserrate was awarded with the GPPDA chairmanship.
And a further deal was cracked that BJP would head the City Corporation.
The elections for the post are slated to take place on March 14, bringing an end to the existing second term of Mayor Surendra Furtado and Deputy Mayor Lata Parekh.
However, BJP is facing dissension within its ranks. Senior Councilor Menino D’Cruz is lobbying for the post and is against the move of making first time corporator Dessai as Mayor. Dessai is known as a close aid of former BJP Panjim MLA Siddharat Kuncolienkar.
“Pandurang Raut Dessai is the BJP candidate for Mayor. His candidature is almost approved; however, Menino D’Cruz is upset with the decision. Dessai’s candidature is even backed by Monserrate,” sources confirmed HERALD.
The councilors along with Kuncolienkar on Monday afternoon held meeting with Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar, wherein directions are been issued to select the candidate taking all councilors into confidence.
“Councilors are told to decide on Mayor’s candidate by holding meeting and taking everyone into confidence,” sources said.
Monserrate panel has 15 councilors, while BJP has 13. There are two independent.
“I am with the party’s decision. I would not like to comment anything,” D’Cruz reacted when asked on possible differences simmering within the opposition panel on Mayor’s post.
It is been learnt that Monserrate, the Goa Forward Party (GPF) member, was apparently upset with his councilors, who last week resolved and nominated councilor Uday Madkaikar’s candidature for Mayor’s post.
It was then; former MLA intervened and directed Madkaikar to withdraw from the race. The controversial councilor, accordingly citing ‘personal reason’ opted out.
“The decision to withdraw was on personal ground,” Madkaikar said refusing to speak further.
On the other hand, Monserrate said “I will decide who will be the next mayor when the date of the mayoral elections is announced. Right now all councillors are in my mind”.
Madkaikar, had been in news for all wrong reasons during his last tenure, wherein he was booked by Panjim police in the market illegal shop allotment scam. He is one of the accuse in 2008 Panjim police station attack case also.