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Scam-tainted Congress looks to repeat win in Goa

Sunday December 25, 2011 07:19:24 PM, Mayabhushan Nagvenkar, IANS

Panaji: Though mired in various scandals and corruption allegations, Goa's ruling Congress party is looking to repeat its win against the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) even as social activists have vowed to campaign against corrupt leaders in the March 3 assembly polls.

Civil society groups, some backed by the influential Catholic church, which have been vehemently opposing the Digambar Kamat-led government over issues ranging from illegal mining, real estate scams, medium of instruction, have vowed to campaign against tainted legislators.

"The BJP could have done much more to take the government to task, but they have failed because they are also sharing the loot. This has forced peoples' groups to stop this loot of Goa. We will campaign, targetting all the corrupt MLAs (legislators), asking people not to vote for them," Prakash Bandodkar of the Village Groups of Goa said.

Kamat's tenure in Goa, which incidentally coincided with the 50 years of the state's liberation from colonial rule has been marked with scandals involving a big chunk of his dozen cabinet colleagues, which culminated in Kamat himself being incriminated in the multi-crore illegal mining scam.

"(Home minister) Ravi Naik's son is linked in the drug mafia nexus case, PWD Minister Churchill Alemao in the water tank scam, Education Minister (Atanasio) Monserrate was caught at the Mumbai airport carrying bags of foreign exchange. With what face can they go to the people," state BJP president Laxmikant Parsenkar asked, brandishing endorsing a booklet issued by the party listing scams of the Kamat government.

State Congress president Subhash Shirodkar said that several of the allegations of corruption were being probed by respective authorities, but also added that the Congress would not spare those guilty of corruption.

"Anyone can make allegations today. They (allegations) are being probed. If found guilty, those people will be punished," he said, adding that the procedure for finalisation of candidates for assembly seats was already on.

"On December 28 we will be screening the first list of aspirants, which will be sent to Delhi for vetting," Shirodkar said.

The Congress presently has a strength of 20 legislators in the 40 member house, and heads the coalition, which also comprises the Nationalist Congress party (NCP) (3) and the Maharashtrawadi Gomantak Party (MGP) (2).

The Congress is keen on repeating the 2007 coalition formula by teaming up with the NCP and the MGP and negotiations with both parties are already underway, even as the latter is also flirting with the BJP.

(Mayabhushan Nagvenkar can be contacted at









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