Goa Assembly elections | Goa Forward Party faces the heat after Trinamool fields Luizinho Faleiro

With the Trinamool Congress deciding to field its Rajya Sabha MP and former Goa Chief Minister Luizinho Faleiro from the Fatorda constituency, the heat is on Vijai Sardesai and his Goa Forward Party (GFP) in the forthcoming Goa Assembly election.

Mr. Sardesai, a two-time MLA from Fatorda, now faces stiff competition in the polls slated to be held on February 14. The Trinamool had declared its first list of 11 candidates late Tuesday which also includes former CM Churchill Alemao (Benaulim constituency) and his daughter Valanka Alemao (from Navelim).

Mr. Sardesai’s GFP currently has tied up with the Congress. The GFP had emerged as a ‘kingmaker’ after the 2017 Assembly election result threw up a fractured mandate. The backing of the three GFP MLAs had been critical in helping the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) form the government under the late Manohar Parrikar.

However, this time, despite seemingly successful parleys with the Trinamool two months ago, the GFP had done a volte face at the last minute to ally with the Congress instead.

According to observers, this has upset the Trinamool, which is aiming to chastise Mr. Sardesai by fielding a strong candidate in the form of Mr. Faleiro.

Meanwhile, strains have also developed between the GFP and its alliance partner, the Congress, after the latter announced candidates for two seats – the Saint Andre and Canacona – despite being reportedly ‘claimed’ by the GFP.

In fact, the GFP had already begun campaigning for the St. Andre seat more than a week ago. Hours after the Congress announced its candidate for St. Andre, the GFP’s putative candidate – Jagdish Bhobhe – switched to the Trinamool, which promptly fielded him for the seat.

GFP vice-president Dilip Prabhudesai expressed pique that the Congress had failed to honour its commitment as an ally of the GFP given that the GFP’s seat-sharing demands had always been very reasonable.

“We are disappointed. We expected the Congress party to stand by its commitment. However, we do not wish to react immediately. We will wait and watch their moves because our aim is to defeat the Pramod Sawant-led BJP,” Mr. Prabhudesai said.

Meanwhile, the Congress announced its fourth list of candidates on Wednesday.

The list includes five candidates including Delilah Lobo, the wife of ex-BJP Minister Michael Lobo, who has been given the ticket for the Siolim constituency.

The BJP top brass’ denial of Ms. Lobo’s candidacy for the Siolim seat was the prime reason for her husband’s exit from the saffron party.

Another significant name is that of Moreno Rebello, who has been fielded from Curtorim – which was until recently held by ex-Congress MLA Aleixo Reginaldo Lourenco.

Mr. Reginaldo, who had left the Congress for the Trinamool despite the former already having awarded him a ticket in the first list, had quit the Trinamool earlier this week.

The Congress’ announcement of Mr. Rebello as its Curtorim candidate means that the party has definitively barred the door for Mr. Lourenco’s re-entry in keeping with its hardline on defectors.

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Printable version | May 23, 2022 1:03:42 am | https://www.thehindu.com/elections/goa-assembly/goa-assembly-elections-goa-forward-party-faces-the-heat-after-trinamool-fields-luizinho-faleiro/article38294268.ece