Goa allies NCP and Congress bicker away


Panaji : The Congress and ally Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) may have put up a consensus candidate for the North Goa parliamentary seat, but a war of words has already erupted between their state units over local issues.

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Congress spokesperson Ramakant Khalap Saturday said the diversion of water from Mandovi river would top their poll agenda even though Wilfred D’Souza, president of the Goa NCP, had categorically stated that no local issues would feature in their campaign.

“The river is extremely crucial to Goa. The illegal diversion of water from the river by Karnataka will top our local poll agenda. There is no question of us excluding this crucial issue during campaigning,” Khalap told IANS.

“The Goa unit of the Congress believes that Mhadei (another name for Mandovi) is to Goa, what the Ganges is to India,” he said.

When reminded about ally NCP’s stand on local issues, Khalap said: “What more can I say. Willy is Willy. As far as the Congress is concerned, we value the river and its importance to Goa. We will fight for its waters.”

The state NCP chief is also said to be unhappy about the consensus candidate from North Goa, Jitendra Deshprabhu.

D’Souza had expressed his distinct “lack of pleasure” over the nomination of Deshprabhu by the central leadership of both the parties. He will contest on the NCP ticket.

After the announcement, Deshprabhu, who had been a Congress man since 1976, resigned from the party and joined the NCP Friday before filing his nomination in the presence of senior leaders from both parties.

“Only winnability is valued in the NCP. Ethics and grooming grassroots leaders are not primary,” D’Souza had said. He told the media that six names forwarded by the NCP’s Goa unit had not been considered by his party’s top leadership.

Goa has two parliamentary seats, one of which is North Goa.