Nattily dressed, flashing gold and diamond rings on all fingers, Churchill Alemao, 62, is the sum of all his parts and more in his larger than life presence in Goa’s political landscape.
From a labourer at the Goa shipyard to one of the most influential men in the state, the Congress leader’s rags to riches journey has made him a Konkan legend.
Politics aside, he has a finger in sports (floated the Churchill Brothers football club), fishing and business.
His followers, however, steer clear of talk about his alleged smuggler past. In 1992, one of his brothers was killed in an encounter while allegedly smuggling gold.After entering politics in 1984, Alemao has been elected MLA six times and MP twice. He has been CM twice and a minister for many years, including in the incumbent Digambar Kamat government in which he holds the PWD portfolio.
Alemao is now positioning himself to strike big in the March 3 polls, having hinted at being ready for his thirdterm as CM if the leadership wishes.
“I am the only candidate who can contest from any of the 40 seats and romp home,” he said.
The coming elections will also be the launch pad for his advocate daughter Valanka, 31, who was disqualified in Youth Congress elections last year for allegedly using his position to garner votes. Alemao’s brother Joaquim, the urban development minister, is also in the fray. Joaquim’s son Yuri has been given a ticket by ally NCP.
Alemao brushed off talk of nepotism. “My brother, nephew and daughter are there in politics for many years and have proved their mettle.”