Wednesday 22 January 2020

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Politics | General

Goa PCC elections postponed


Following direct intervention by Congress president Sitaram Kesri, elections for the posts of the president and other office bearers of the Goa PCC were postponed at last minute on Saturday.

As Goa is the only state where organisational elections are marred with alleged intimidation, threatening and locking up of the voter delegates into the hotel rooms by a group of ministers, the issue is likely to figure in the Congress Working Committee meeting tomorrow.

While Chief minister Pratapsing Rane has already rushed to Delhi, Shantaram Naik, the candidate supported by the former, would follow him tomorrow. Sudha Joshi, the presiding officer, also left for Mumbai today following high command directives.

A complaint of intimidation was filed by Goa's sole Rajya Sabha MP John Fernandes, who is also contesting for the president's post, on Saturday morning alleging that the rival group, led by Naik, had locked up half of the delegates in two city hotels.

He also alleges that "those in power" had deployed police outside the Congress House while some delegates were threatened of filing criminal cases against them. "I will expose all these criminals subsequently", he told The Pioneer.

It came as a surprise when Kesri reportedly personally phoned Rane as well as the presiding officer to postpone the elections at the eleventh hour. While leaving for Mumbai today, Joshi however expressed her helplessness in verifying the facts, claiming that she does not have the necessary machinery.

The Naik supporters, including few ministers, have now submitted a memorandum protesting against postponement of elections, when no evidence was available about the allegations made by Fernandes.

The real beneficiary of the postponement however is the state PCC president Nirmala Sawant, supported by rebel leader and Deputy chief minister Wilfred de Souza. In order to checkmate the rebels, several ministers and MLAs have got themselves elected on the PCC.

Sawant also admits that voter delegates were locked up, threatened and intimidated by her rival camp, making it clear that the chief minister and his cabinet colleagues had a direct hand in it.

Though they admit in private, none of the Congress leaders however plan to protest against Kesri's direct intervention into the electoral process, in violation of the elections rules. On the contrary, Fernandes claims that Kesri has every right to postpone the polls.

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