Mon, 27 May, 2019

Babush does ‘ghar wapsi’ to Cong; eyes on Panaji bypoll

 Supporters throng Cong headquarters  Girish says will have big impact on LS polls

19th April 2019, 03:48 Hrs

the goan I network

PANAJI

A day after quitting the Goa Forward Party, Babush Monserrate made his second re-entry into the Congress on Thursday amid much fanfare at the party headquarters.   

The party is likely to field him in the May 19 Panaji bypoll although GPCC president and its North Goa candidate Girish Chodankar said it will be a while before a candidate is finalised and the party has internal processes which will have to be followed. Chodankar, however, said the impact of Monserrate’s joining the party will be “seen immediately at the April 23 Lok Sabha elections.”  

With Monserrate’s supporters crowding the Congress headquarters and spilling onto the Dayanand Bandodkar Marg outside, the formal re-entry of the unpredictable politician took place in the presence of Leader of Opposition (LoP) Chandrakant Kavlekar, and the party top brass including former chief ministers Digambar Kamat, Luizinho Faleiro and Ravi Naik, besides his wife Jennifer.  

Interestingly, Monserrate had been expelled from the Congress for six years in 2015, when Faleiro was the GPCC president, and the two faced a barrage of questions from the media on whether they had buried the hatchet and whether he would now stick with the Congress and for how long. “My return to the Congress is like the return of the prodigal son. The son has basically learnt a lesson after roaming everywhere,” said Monserrate.   

Monserrate’s third entry into the Congress also found spontaneous praise from Kamat who said: “Monserrate has listened to the voice of the people of Panjim and joined the Congress. People should rally behind Babush.”   

He has re-joined the party after a gap of four years.   

“I didn’t leave the party. It was our ex-president who removed me,” he said, while patting Faleiro,who was standing next to him. 

Monserrate also said that when he had contested the Panjim seat in 2017, there was always a doubt in peoples’ minds about whether he would jump to another party.   

“People had to be sure whom they’re voting. There was a loud and clear call from the people that I should join Congress,” he said.   

Meanwhile, when asked if the party had regretted expelling Monserrate, Faleiro responded: “The question of regretting or not regretting doesn’t arise. The party will go as per the times.”   

Kamat also enumerated issues of Panjim which Babush would resolve if he won.   

“There are so many issues faced by Panjimites that have not been taken up - the St Inez creek, the garbage treatment plant... for years on end I’m hearing about these things, but where the issues have reached I don’t know,” said Kamat, who also slammed the Smart City project.   

“By taking one thing and putting it here, another thing and putting it there, doesn’t make a city smart. Babush knows exactly what to make smart and how. He will turn Panjim in three years. People coming from outside Panjim will ask -- was this the same capital of Goa?” said Kamat.