NCP state chief says directed to support Cong
churchill says he is not aware, seeks assembly poll alliance if congress wants support at lok sabha poll
16th April 2019, 03:49 Hrs
the goan I network
The Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) has finally given its green signal to the local leadership to extend support to the Congress in the Lok Sabha poll, but the party’s lone MLA from Benaulim, Churchill Alemao, struck a discordant note, saying the Congress should come clear whether the it would forge an alliance with the NCP in the Assembly poll in lieu of support in the Lok Sabha poll.
“Neither NCP Supremo Sharad Pawar nor general secretary Praful Patel has told me to support the Congress in the Lok Sabha poll. I do not know whether the party leadership has spoken to Jose Philip D’Souza, our Goa chief,” Churchill told The Goan on Monday.
He further went on to say the NCP Chief Jose Philip and the Congress leaders should come clear whether the Congress would leave certain seats including Benaulim to the NCP or whether they would field their candidates against him and other constituencies. “It’s only after these and other questions are addressed by the NCP leadership and the Congress leaders before he joins the campaign of Congress in the Lok Sabha poll, he said, adding that “if the two parties do not clarify on these questions, he would maintain neutrality in the ensuing elections.”
The NCP Goa unit chief Jose Philip D’Souza, however, said that party general secretary Praful Patel sent him a communique to extend the NCP’s support to the Congress candidates in Goa in the April 23 poll. “I have conveyed the party decision to all the party leaders in the state, including our party Benaulim MLA Churchill Alemao. Accordingly, we will all work for the success of the Congress candidates in the coming election,” Jose Philip said, adding that he would call for a meeting of his supporters in Vasco in the next two to three days to declare support for the Congress South Goa candidate Francisco Sardinha.
The NCP local leaders, including Jose Philip and Churchill Alemao, had been blowing hot and cold in the last few days, over extending the party’s support to the Congress in the April 23 election. Both Churchill Alemao and Jose Philip had even gone to the extent of saying that the NCP national leadership were pressurising them to field candidates in both the Lok Sabha poll as well as the bypolls.
The Benaulim MLA had even gone a step further to assert that the Congress should forge an alliance with the NCP if the party hopes to expect support from the party, demanding that the Congress should be ready to leave six Assembly seats, including Benaulim, Vasco, Cortalim, Sanguem and two other seats not represented by the Congress, to the NCP.