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Congress takes GF to the brink, blinks only in Fatorda & Siolim

Panjim: It finally final. After a brutal and nerve-wrecking political week, the Congress leadership in Delhi, literally shut the door on Goa Forward, giving them just one additional Siolim seat, in addition to Fatorda. But here too the drama did not end with the party clearing the B-form, which is the party nomination for Joseph Silva and then apparently withdrawing it (See full story of the political drama in the box with this story).As is the practice with the Congress, last minute decisions were taken, with just hours to go before close of nominations on Wednesday evening The Congress will contest 36 seats and will support Goa Forward candidates in Fatorda and Siolim, Atanasio Monserrate in Panjim and Rohan Khaunte in Porvorim, where the party failed to find ‘winning candidates’.
The Congress has fielded former MLA Agnelo Fernandes from Saligao and Ramakrishna Jalmi in Priol. The party had earlier announced candidates in 34 constituencies.Speaking to Herald, All India Congress Committee (AICC) General Secretary and Goa desk in-charge Digvijay Singh confirmed that the party is contesting 36 seats while extending support to Vijay Sardesai in Fatorda, Vinod Palyekar in Siolim, Monserrate in Panjim and Khaunte in Porvorim.“Wherever we don’t have a viable candidate, we are looking at a candidate who can defeat BJP. In these four constituencies we are supporting candidates outside Congress. Our entire strategy is to defeat the government of U-turns,” he reiterated refusing to comment on the possible revolt by the Fatorda Block Congress following the decision to back Sardesai and deny Joseph Silva a ticket.
The party began the day quite confused as it initially asked Silva and Rohan Chodankar to file their nominations from Fatorda and Siolim constituencies respectively. By then Silva had already filed his nomination on a Goa Vikas Party ticket and went on to file another on the Congress ticket. The High Command later directed both candidates not to go ahead and file the nominations.The Velim Assembly seat that had been a major roadblock for the alliance will see Congress as well as GF candidates fighting it out against Independent Benjamin Silva.When contacted, Sardesai alleged that BJP and Congress are into match-fixing. “I have been the most vocal anti-BJP critic in the last five years. We are committed to ensure BJP free Goa,” he said. [H]

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