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In major poll vault, Congress goes for alliance with NCP, GFP & UGP

# Nine new faces cleared by national party; official declaration to be made todayrn# Political equations may change as NCP, GF settle for 2 and 4 seats respectively

11th January 2017, 05:08 Hrs
the goan I network
Drawing the curtains on the long-drawn round of speculations over the formation of a Congress-led alliance, the Central Election Committee (CEC) of Indian National Congress chaired by Congress president Sonia Gandhi on Tuesday agreed to forge an alliance with Nationalist Congress Party, Vijai Sardessai’s Goa Forward Party and Atanasio ‘Babush’ Monserrate’s United Goans Party for the upcoming Goa Assembly polls.   
In another crucial move, as many as nine new faces have been cleared for tickets. Sources from GPCC confirmed that fresh candidates will be fielded in Pernem, Mapusa, Aldona, Cortalim, Dabolim, Sanvordem, Cuncolim, Nuvem and Sanguem. The green signal effectively means Wilfred D’Sa has been cleared for Nuvem, Clafacio Dias for Cuncolim, Savitri Kavalekar for Sanguem, Mariano Rodrigues for Cortalim and Vijay Bhike for Mapusa. A clearer picture will emerge on Wednesday in Constituencies where Congress had proposed two or more candidates as new faces.  
Speaking to The Goan, AICC secretary Girish Chodankar informed, “Monserrate, Sardessai and NCP leaders Jose Philip D’Souza and Churchill Alemao have been summoned to Delhi on Wednesday to finalise the modalities of the alliance.”  
When asked about the declaration of an official list, AICC secretary Chodankar stated, “More than half the names have been cleared. Many fresh faces will be seen this time. Official declaration will be made on Wednesday.”    

The decision caps months of acrimonious political bickering from all fronts with the GFP and NCP publicly hinting more than once at their readiness to ally with the Congress.   
The CEC meeting, which continued till late in the evening on Tuesday, was attended by AICC vice president Rahul Gandhi, senior Congressmen Madhusudan Mestri, J Dwivedi, Oscar Fernandes, Mukul Wasnik, AICC general secretary Digvijay Singh, AICC secretary Dr Chella Kumar, GPCC president Luizinho Faleiro and leader of opposition Pratapsing Rane.  
Meanwhile, it was learnt that a three-member committee comprising senior members of the CEC will overlook the deliberations about the alliance.   Unattached St Cruz MLA Babush Monserrate is set to contest from Panaji constituency on UGP platform while his wife, Taleigao MLA Jennifer Monserrate, will re-contest the segment.   Monserrate has also bargained for Congress tickets for Francis Silveira from St Andre and Tony Fernandes from St Cruz.  
On the other hand, Fatorda independent MLA Vijai Sardessai’s GFP is all set to contest from at least four Assembly segments including Fatorda, Porvorim, Saligao and Siolim.   
While independent MLA Rohan Khaunte is eyeing to secure a mandate in Porvorim once again, newcomers Jayesh Salgaonkar and Vinod Palayekar will contest on GFP ticket from Saligao and Siolim respectively.  
Continued on P9
n The erstwhile alliance partners Congress and NCP will join hands yet again for the polls scheduled for February 4   
n It may be recalled that in 2012 polls, NCP had failed to  secure even a single seat despite contesting seven Assembly  constituencies   
n NCP supremo Sharad Pawar attended the CEC meeting wherein it was agreed that NCP’s  Churchill Alemao will contest from Benaulim and Jose  Philip D’Sozua from Vasco   
n Accordingly, NCP is likely to contest only two of the five  constituencies for which it has already declared candidates 
n This move  has spelled a major setback for NCP’s ‘no compromise’ candidates Nelly  Rodrigues in Cortalim, Vincent Rodrigues in Nuvem and Devanand Naik in  Saligao  

n Congress has invited Vijai Sardesai for further discussions in Delhi to define the contours of the proposed alliance
n We may leave for the national capital on Wednesday to hold discussions with the Congress leadership, Vijai said
# Though a little late, everyone should work towards taking the alliance proposal to the logical conclusion, he said