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Updated: April 9, 2014 18:55 IST

John Fernandes sees a 'sympathy wave' for Congress in Goa

Prakash Kamat
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Goa Pradesh Congress Comittee president John Fernandes. Photo: Ganesh Shetkar
The Hindu
Goa Pradesh Congress Comittee president John Fernandes. Photo: Ganesh Shetkar

"I began by owning the mistakes of the Congress and sought pardon from the Goan people and promised that we will not repeat the mistakes. That has given the confidence to people to come back to the Congress. That is why I see a sympathy wave for the Congress," says John Fernandes, president of the Goa Pradesh Congress Committee (GPCC).

Mr. Fernandes fancies the Congress' chances of winning both the Lok Sabha seats in Goa despite intense infighting, rebellion and lack of organisational base in many assembly segments in the State.

If the Congress in Goa - which was in a disarray since its debacle in the 2012 State Assembly elections, is showing imminent signs of regaining its traditional minority vote-base in the upcoming parliamentary election despite familiar rebellions over ticket distribution and continued dissensions - credit must go to Mr. Fernandes for trying to bring back some sort of discipline and enthusiasm among party loyalists, despite very limited time at his disposal. He was inducted in December last.

Faced with a formidable challenge from the well-organised BJP led by Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar, the Congress is solely banking on the return of its Catholic vote bank. Driven by the minority's apprehensions against BJP's Modi-centric election campaign and his perceived "divisiveness", the Goa Church issued its pre-election advisories to its followers to vote for secular parties, which has surely unsettled the BJP, more so in Catholic-dominated south Goa.

Added to this is Mr. Fernandes's apology to the people for all the "blunders" of the Congress, including corruption and hegemony of a few families during its erstwhile rule.

Mr. Fernandes calls the imminent turnaround a "sympathy wave of the people for punishing the Congress in the Assembly elections believing in Manohar Parrikar's lies," says an outspoken and untainted Mr. Fernandes who does not fear taking Mr. Parrikar head-on, unlike many Congress leaders in the State.

A two-time former Rajya Sabha MP, Mr. Fernandes is a 'Congress loyalist', who was picked out of political wilderness and thrust as the pradesh Congress president by the high command on a completely demoralised State unit, with an uphill task of putting the crumbling house in order. He stuck to his task in a no-nonsense approach.

When most of the local leaders seemed to be wary of BJP Chief Minister Parrikar or subtly aligned with him, Mr. Fernandes showed a rare spine.

"I began with messages from Rahul Gandhi, vice-president of the party, that young people will be promoted. No MP, MLA can take seats for granted. We gave a young candidate, Aleixo Reginaldo Lourenco, the south Goa ticket, disregarding rebellions and denying ticket to the three-time sitting MP. At the same time, in north Goa, we gave ticket to the old and experienced Ravi Naik," he explains.

Ahead of the election, he appointed a band of youths as party spokespersons and activated the party's frontal organisations, IT Cell of GPCC.

"People have realised after two years of Parrikar rule that the BJP has fooled them. We have exposed Parrikar's constant lies and U-turns on all promises he made on issues like illegal mining, casinos, land use plan and others, forcing people back to the Congress," he said in a scathing attack on Mr. Parrikar.

Trying to discipline a lot of "Aaya Raams' and 'Gayaa Raams" in the party, Mr. Fernandes has to fight on several fronts. He admits that the party high command did not react fast to the Assembly poll debacle with bold decisions, allowing the party to be further lowered in the eyes of the people.

Nevertheless, taking over when there was hardly any time to prepare for elections, he made the right moves to clean up the party. That has sparked the imagination of the party rank and file. He managed to outwit alliance partner NCP to get both the Goa seats for the Congress after surrendering them to the NCP for the last two consecutive terms.

Confident of retaining south Goa in Saturday's hustings, Mr. Fernandes hopes to snatch the north Goa seat from the three-time BJP MP.

The congress candidates, Leaders including PM and President, admits
tha they have done lot of mistakes for which they seek pardon from the
voters now at the time of electgion? why these leaders have opened
their mouth when they were running the govt/party?By this, do they
come clean?How to get back the economy which has been damaged by so
many scam.Do they surrender all their assets and liquid cash tothe
treasury being unaccounted one?They have not given further details>How
they expect people to pardon and when other parties have not been able
to do the mistake,they also be given a chance to govern/commit

from:  vaidya
Posted on: Apr 10, 2014 at 04:03 IST

During Ramzan times, the fasting Muslims would eagerly search the
western horizon of the sky to sight the New Moon for celebrating the
Id next day. In some areas that New Moon may be elusive for a sight,
to disappoint the Faithfuls to wait for one more day. In India,
trying to see 'waves' in election times is akin to sighting the 3rd
day new moon. Some are sighting 'Modi wave' blowing across and some,
the 'Krejwal wave'. Not to be outdone in this respect, now a
'Congress wave' is sighted in Goa. Whether these 'waves' are real or
just a phony ones created by the enthusiasts of the parties would be
known only after May 16.

from:  T.Sathyamurthi
Posted on: Apr 9, 2014 at 23:47 IST
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