The councillor from Miramar, Mr Surendra Furtado, will head the 14-member group, affiliated to the MLA of Santa Cruz constituency, Mr Atanacio Monseratte alias Babush.
Revealing this to the media, Mr Monseratte informed that Mr Furtado and his wife have joined hands with his group and would elect the next Mayor of the Corporation of the City of Panaji, to serve during the coming term. The elections for the post of Mayor are scheduled for March 20.
Mr Monserratte, at a meeting held at his residence in Taleigao, informed that Mr Bento Fernande will assist the Mayor in the capacity of Deputy Mayor. All the members of the group affiliated to him were present. This move signals the wrestling of power from the Bharatiya Janata Party’s Mayor, Ms Vaidheyi Naik, after completion of one year as Mayor of CCP.
Coming against the present BJP government he said that the Parrikar government is a vindictive government and people have already started feeling the heat. Mr Monseratte added that he knew the Furtado couple for a long time and that Mr Furtado is the right choice for the Mayor’s post.
With the joining of the Furtado couple to the 14- member strong panel belonging to the Santa Cruz MLA, the number now rises to 16 councillors. The BJP panel has thus been reduced to a minority of 14 councillors.
Ms Vaidheyi Naik’s term as Mayor of the CCP expired on March 19, and the new Mayor would be elected on March 20, in the Corporation’s office at 10 a.m.
Mr Surendra Furtado stated, “I am thankful for the opportunity to serve the Panjimites in a better way and with lot of experience behind me I would be in a better position to deliver the goods to the people of Panaji. I do not belong to the MLA of Panaji or Taleigao; but I belong to the Ponjekars,” he said.
The outgoing Mayor, Ms Vaidehi Naik, refused to comment on the latest development adding that she would speak to the press only after the elections were concluded. The former Mayor, Mr Tony Fernandes, informed that he is also one of the candidates contesting the post of Mayor. Mr Rudresh Chodankar and Mr Shubham have also filed their candidature for the post of the CCP Mayor. [NT]