Churchill's daughter has been disqualified from contesting Youth Congress polls

The ruling Congress in Goa suffered a jolt as two of its senior Ministers, Churchill Alemao and his brother Joaquim Alemao, submitted their resignations from the Cabinet and the party on Saturday after Churchill's daughter was disqualified from Youth Congress elections scheduled for Tuesday-Wednesday next.

The Alemaos have considerable political clout in the Catholic-dominated Salcete taluk of south Goa, a traditional Congress bastion.

Chief Minister Digambar Kamat, however, said they did not give their resignations in writing.

“When they met me this [on Saturday] evening, I advised them to raise their issue on the appropriate forum. They have spoken to Delhi [Congress leaders],” said Mr. Kamat.

Talking to presspersons at Margoa, an agitated Churchill said: “I, along with my brother, have resigned because my daughter Valanka was disqualified from the Youth Congress elections without any appropriate reason.”

The Alemao brothers have been lobbying for Congress ticket for Valanka (30) in the coming Assembly elections.

Recently, Valanka was served with a show-cause after rival candidates in the Youth Congress elections complained that she had been using the clout of her father and other senior leaders to further her prospects. Her candidature was publicly endorsed by Mr. Kamat, both Alemao brothers and Pradesh Congress president Subhash Shirodkar.

But some local Youth Congress leaders have publicly accused Churchill of threatening them to back Valanka's candidature.

Speaking to journalists here, Youth Congress returning officer Sumit Khanna said the disqualification of Valanka came on instructions from the Foundation for Advance Management of Elections (FAME), which is conducting the elections.

“She was served a show-cause on July 19 for violating the code of conduct by taking the help of senior party leaders for electoral gains, disturbing the level-playing field. Her reply, which came the same day, was forwarded to the FAME, which was not convinced by the reasons she gave. Hence, as per the directions of the FAME, Valanka has been disqualified from contesting any election for any post in the IYC or the NSUI for one year,” said Mr. Khanna.

Later, the Alemao brothers told presspersons that they would wait for a day before taking a final decision.