Churchill back on dais, warns Congress

 In what could be a prelude of things to come, former PWD minister Churchill Alemao said he would return to active politics in January while appealing to people, in the same breath, not to disturb the five-year mandate given to chief minister Manohar Parrikar's government.

Alemao's first public meeting in Navelim on Tuesday, after his infamous defeat at the assembly hustings in April, was an emotional affair. He expressed his happiness and gratitude to God for this day and said he was overwhelmed to see thousands attend this meeting in the constituency where he was an MLA for five years.

"In the month of January, I want to tell all of you, that I will return to my office in Navelim and will meet all of you," Alemao told the large crowd. The announcement was immediately followed by thunderous applause and people chanting his name.

Before addressing the crowd, the former chief minister was seen orchestrating the public meeting; issuing directions to the various speakers that included panchas from various panchayats across Navelim and zilla panchayat members.

Instructions in place, he stood up, tapped the mike and began his customary chants -I am always with the people and that is what counts the most. "I want to make it clear that this meeting has not been called to bring down the government, but for me to address my people," said Alemao. "The CM is a smart man and even though there have been some baseless and wrong allegations made against me, (Manohar) Parrikar has never taken my name."

He continued, "He has been elected as the chief minister and has been given a mandate, and people should allow him to complete his five-year tenure. I hope he will do his best."

Ridiculing and rubbishing allegations that the former PWD minister and engineers were responsible for scams in the department, Alemao said he had the power only to sanction work.

He then launched a scathing attack on former chief minister Digambar Kamat who he blamed solely for colluding with the current Navelim MLA.

Alemao alleged that not only did Kamat actively work to bring about his defeat, he met the new Navelim MLA several times in the run up to the elections.

"I have proof of where and when they held those meetings; and not only that, his (Kamat) men even beat up people who were supporting me and I had to see that the boy who fractured his arm was operated. Kamat even changed the police force two days before the elections," alleged Alemao.

He went on to add that he never lost the elections and that people had elected him, but faulty EVM machines messed up the counting.

Alemao's supporters demanded the dissolution of the Navelim block Congress and warned party leaders that if they sidelined him their strength in the House would reduce from nine to just two seats.

Earlier, rumours did the round that Alemao had met with top BJP leaders in Panaji in view of the upcoming Lok Sabha elections, and that a similar meeting was held when Alemao was last elected an MP. [TOI]