Goa

Goa Assembly election | Ex-CM Luizinho Faleiro withdraws as TMC candidate from Fatorda

Former Chief Minister of Goa Luizinho Faleiro. File image.

Former Chief Minister of Goa Luizinho Faleiro. File image.

Former Goa Chief Minister and Trinamool Congress (TMC) national vice-president Luizinho Faleiro on Friday formally announced that he would not contest the poll on February 14.

Mr. Faleiro’s eleventh-hour decision, which came on the last day of the filing of nomination, has left the TMC in a fix.

Bereft of experienced candidates, the party has fielded a relative political neophyte — advocate Seoula Vas — in lieu of Mr. Faleiro. Ms. Vas will be pitted against Goa Forward Party (GFP) chief Vijai Sardesai, who is the incumbent MLA from Fatorda.

“I announce my withdrawal as Goa TMC candidate from Fatorda and hand over the baton to a young woman, a professional [Ms. Vas]. That has been the policy of the party — to empower women,” said Mr. Faleiro, speaking to reporters after backing out of the poll fray.

Flanked by the TMC’s Goa in-charge Mahua Moitra, Ms. Vas and TMC leader and Benaulim MLA Churchill Alemao, Mr. Faleiro further said that he had taken this decision after consulting the party’s national chairperson (West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee), as he preferred to “fight and campaign all over Goa for all TMC candidates” so that they could perform their best in the election.

“My earlier experience says that when I fought the election last time, we could not do justice to them. To replace me, we have a very able Seoula Vas, who will represent the Fatorda constituency,” said the TMC leader, a former seven-time MLA from the Navelim constituency.

Continued silence

Ever since the TMC brass announced Mr. Faleiro’s surprise candidature for Fatorda on January 18, the ex-CM has maintained a studied silence.

According to sources, the party top brass decision upset Mr. Faleiro, who has scant clout in Fatorda and he had accordingly relayed his inability to contest to TMC national general secretary Abhishek Banerjee despite Mr. Banerjee emphatically denying speculation that Mr. Faleiro had been ‘upset’ with the party’s decision to field him from Fatorda.

Mr. Faleiro’s silence had, in turn, sparked rumours of his imminent resignation from the TMC, compelling him to deny such canards as “false, mischievous and malicious.”

“This [resignation rumours] is propaganda being spread by those rattled by the support and blessings that the people of Goa have showered on the TMC. The Goa TMC is the only party that is fighting for Goa and will emerge victorious…I embraced TMC to fight the BJP and its juggernaut and I will not back down from this fight. As a disciplined man, I will continue to work hard till the BJP is defeated,” the TMC leader had said in a series of tweets.

The announcement of Mr. Faleiro’s candidature from Fatorda was seen by observers as a move on the TMC’s part to chastise Mr. Sardesai. The GFP chief, despite seemingly successful parleys concerning a pre-poll alliance with the TMC two months ago, had done a volte face at the last minute to instead ally with the Congress.

Advantage Sardesai

Now, with Mr. Faleiro out of the reckoning, Mr. Sardesai hopes to seek a comfortable third term from Fatorda.

The TMC, despite its strident campaigning and initial successes in poaching leaders mainly from the Congress (including Mr. Faleiro), has been buffeted by a string of defections and resignations, with a number of leaders exiting in droves.

The last major leader to leave the TMC was Yatish Naik, general secretary of the party’s Goa unit, who resigned on Tuesday. Earlier, ex- MLA Lavoo Mamledar and ex-Congress MLA Aleixo Reginaldo Lorenco, too, had quit the TMC just weeks after joining the party.


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Printable version | May 17, 2022 1:34:05 pm | https://www.thehindu.com/elections/goa-assembly/goa-assembly-election-ex-cm-luizinho-faleiro-withdraws-as-tmc-candidate-from-fatorda/article38338145.ece