ROW OVER DR SEQUEIRA’S STATUE: BABITA QUITS
Questions raised over BJP-Congress combine joining hands to form next Council ,Goa Forward hopes to retain power, zeroes down on new consensus candidate
09th November 2019, 02:47 Hrs
the goan I network
Goa Forward party’s four-year rule in the Margao Municipal Council finally ended on Friday with party-backed Chairperson Babita Prabhudesai resigning from the post.
The moot questions, however, remains unanswered – whether the BJP-Congress combine will join hands to form the next Council till the civic body goes to the municipal polls in October 2020 or will the Goa Forward pull of a surprise and continue its stranglehold over the 25-member civic body.
On paper, the odds appeared loaded heavily against the Goa Forward with the party’s number in the 25-member body reduced to 11 – two short of a simple majority. The Goa Forward had 12 councillors in the civic body, but was later reduced to 11 after one of it’s councillors Clara Fernandes joined the opposition group. On the other hand, the BJP and Opposition leader-Digambar Kamat’s group of councillors together with councillor Clara Fernandes seemed to have 14 on their side, a factor that weighed heavily on the opposition mind when they threatened to move a no-confidence motion against Chairperson Babita Prabhudesai.
Goa Forward leadership in private, however, say that all is not lost in the Margao civic body and the haste with which party chief Vijai Sardesai made a counter move on Friday noon to get Babita tender her resignation is aimed at not only maintaining the flock, but woo councillors from the opposition camp to attain the magic figure of 13 in the 25-member civic body.
It may be recalled that when a group of Goa Forward councillors had requested Sardesai to effect a change in guard a couple of months ago, it was agreed by the party chief as well as the party-backed councillors to nominate young councillor Pooja Naik for the coveted post.
Hailing from the Bahujan Samaj, sources said that Pooja had emerged as the consensus choice, with her candidature not only receiving the backing of the 11-member GF councillors, but also from one or two councillors, who are presently part of the opposition group.
With Babita quitting
the post, the Goa Forward leadership is expected to approach the group of opposition councillors, who had in the past committed to support to Pooja’s candidature.
That the Goa Forward party has not given up hopes in retaining power at the Margao Municipal Council became evident when Babita said the party will prove the numbers at the right time. When pointed out that Goa Forward’s number in the Council has come down to 11, two less to retain power, Babita shot back saying “only time will prove whether we have the numbers or not”.
Sources in the Goa Forward said party chief Vijai Sardesai is expected to have a meeting with the party-backed councillors before formally proposing the name of Pooja Naik as the party candidate for the post of MMC chief.