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If elected, I will shift casinos out of Mandovi: Babush

The unofficial leader of United Goans (UG) Party Atanasio (Babush) Monserrate has begun with his door-to-door campaign in the city. In an interview with Padmavati Prabhu, he denies any ‘setting’ with BJP during Panaji by-poll and speaks about his pre-conditions for alliance with the Congress for the upcoming polls

11th January 2017, 05:09 Hrs


The Goan (TGE):  Finally you have decided to contest from Panaji for the upcoming State Legislative Assembly polls.
Babush Monserrate: I think it would have been a wrong move to contest Panaji by-polls in 2015 as I was not a defeated MLA, but a sitting MLA of St Cruz. Leaving one constituency half way and contesting another to become an MLA, would not have gone well with the people. May be just in haste I expressed willingness to contest. But I always believe that the biggest room in your house is the room for improvement. That was a mistake which I had made last time saying that I would contest. It would not have been right morally and ethically as far as people from my constituency were concerned.   
People in St Cruz wanted me to be their MLA this time too. But I felt I would be the best as far as Panaji is concerned. People of Panaji have already elected my council and shown faith in me despite being kicked out of the Congress. So it was the right time to contest from Panaji.   
TGE: In previously held elections, you first expressed willingness to contest and then withdrew indicating a ‘setting’ with BJP in Panaji constituency. Comment.
BM: As far as this thing called ‘setting’ is concerned, I never did any setting with Manohar Parrikar, nor did he have any setting with me. Let us put these things to rest once and for all. I won the election on my merit and he won it on his merit.   
TGE:With a four-corner fight, and that too in BJP’s bastion, what are your chances?
BM: In any election, your opponents are always there. I believe every election is a difficult election, it is never easy. But I believe I am at my best when I face any election. As far as Panaji is concerned, it would make no difference for me whatsoever even if Manohar Parrikar had to contest. I always had a wish to defeat Manohar Parrikar by contesting against him. I wish he would have contested this election.   
In this election, basically I am confident of securing 10,000 votes. It looks like the Goa Suraksha Manch candidate will be my main opponent in the upcoming elections.   
TGE:Where have your talks on alliance with the Congress reached?
BM: Presently, the talks are on at Delhi. I don’t think there should be any problem in having an alliance. I have just
Continued on P9

TGE: Are you comfortable with having an alliance with the  Congress which expelled you alleging your indulgence in anti-party  activities?
BM: I don’t understand in what way I have indulged  in anti-party activities. It was only that I refused to back the Congress  candidate. I have not gone and canvassed for the BJP candidate. In fact,  Congress did not issue me a show cause notice. I was just expelled. I  have no issues over it now. And I think alliance is the need of the hour  now.   

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