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Goa Cong chief in poll fray, race to replace him hots up

india Updated: Jan 19, 2012 00:52 IST
Aurangzeb Naqshbandi
Aurangzeb Naqshbandi
Hindustan Times
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The Congress has begun its hunt for a new party chief in Goa after incumbent Subhash Shirodkar requested the high command to relieve him as he is contesting the assembly elections.

Shirodkar, who was retained as state party chief last year, had argued that since he would be “too busy” with his own campaign it would be “difficult” for him to look after party affairs till the elections are over.

The move has triggered a race between South Goa MP Francisco Sardinha, former CM and Congress Working Committee member Luizinho Faleiro and deputy speaker of the outgoing assembly and chief spokesperson Mauvin Godinho.

But Sardinha has emerged as the front-runner — his name is almost finalised — since he is not contesting the March 3 elections and will be able to focus on strengthening the party.

While the candidature of Godinho, a young face with a clean image, has been strongly opposed by Churchill Alemao, the past has come to haunt Falerio who on two previous occasions could not retain the CM’s post for even six months.

The party has already finalised names of candidates on 25 seats. The list is expected to be cleared by the central leadership in a week or so. Of the total 40 seats in the assembly, the Congress is going to leave 6 for its coalition partner NCP.

Agriculture minister Sharad Pawar’s party had initially demanded 12 seats and later scaled it down to 8. But the Congress stuck to its stand of repeating the 2007 formula when the NCP was allotted 6 seats.