Goa polls: Congress bogged down by dissidence

Panaji: In a bind over large scale dissidence in the party ahead of March 3 Goa Assembly polls, Congress poll managers are pulling out all stops to placate the dissenters who have raised the banner of revolt after being denied tickets.

The anxiety in Congress is palpable from the fact that the ruling party has withheld announcing its third and final list of four candidates out of 33 seats it is contesting in alliance with NCP which is fielding candidates on 7 seats.

"We will try to meet every aspirant. Talk to them and try to take them board," senior Congress leader Oscar Fernandes, who heads the screening committee to shortlist the candidates, told PTI last evening after holding a series of meetings throughout the day.

In a bid to check more dissidence, Fernandes is holding parlays with the hopefuls and a few upset party leaders in the coastal state. "It is common thing that everybody who does not get a ticket feels hurt. The party will talk to everyone individually and put in all the efforts to ensure that they (dissidents) don`t leave the organisation," he said.

Congress has so far released two lists, however, owing to rebellion it is going slow in announcing the third one where dispute is on regarding two seats.

In Mormugao, minority community candidate Saifulla Khan is vying for party ticket and so does Sankalp Amonkar. In Faturdo constituency, another hopeful M K Shaikh has thrown his hat in ring while Vijay Sardesai is staking claim for the seat. In a pointer to the heart burn in the party rank and file over distribution of tickets, two leaders, Dinar Tarcar and Pravin Zantye, have put down their papers.

Tarcar would be contesting on Maharashtrawadi Gomantak Party`s (MGP`s) ticket in St Cruz constituency while Zantye will file his nomination as an Independent from Mayem constituency.

MGP has recently entered into a pre-poll alliance with main opposition BJP. Meanwhile, Victoria Fernandes, who is a lone woman legislator in Congress, is fuming over being denied ticket to contest from St Cruz seat. She has announced that her son, Rudolf, will be fighting as an Independent in the constituency against the official candidate of the party.

Responding to a query, Fernandes said the party would announce the third list comprising four candidates in the next three days. "We have selected candidates as per people`s wish," he said adding the decision not to field Victoria Fernandes was also taken with proper thinking.