Congress MLAs Aleixo Reginaldo Lourenco and Ravi Naik have hit the road, going door-to-door in the respective constituencies of Panaji and Valpoi campaigning for the Goa Bypoll candidates Girish Chodankar and Roy Naik.
According to a Herald report, ten Congress MLAs were not present at Wednesday’s crucial meeting to discuss the Congress party’s preparations and strategy for the Panjim and Valpoi by-polls.
Party office-bearers in attendance were also few, and even the party’s Valpoi candidate, Roy Naik, opted not to attend, reports Herald.
This was the first Goa Pradesh Congress Committee (GPCC) meeting under new president Shantaram Naik and was to be attended by PCC executive committee members, Legislative wing members, block presidents and other office bearers.
However, only six of the 16 MLAs were present for the meeting. Health and outstation travel were the reasons cited by MLAs for their absence. The MLAs who attended the meet were Leader of the Opposition Chandrakant Kavalekar, Aleixo Reginaldo Lourenco, Ravi Naik, Francisco Silveira, Tony Fernandes and Wilfred D’Sa.
Asked the reason for the poor attendance of the MLAs, Kavalekar said, “Everyone went and came, meeting started at 10.00am.”
However, sources confirmed that none of the other ten MLAs were part of the meeting, which reflects the overall disinterest seeping into the party
When contacted, former GPCC President and MLA Luizinho Faleiro said he is outstation following the exhaustive monsoon session of the State Assembly. “I had informed the party that I won’t be available for next three-four days as I am travelling. The meeting plan was scheduled on Tuesday, when I had already left the State,” he said.
Reacting to a question as when he would join the party election campaign, Faleiro said, “I have not been told yet.”
Former Chief Minister and MLA Digambar Kamat too said he is travelling and hence could not attend the meeting.
MLA Subhash Shirodkar said he is unwell. “I am not keeping well and hence did not attend the meeting, about the campaign it is not yet decided,” he said.
Senior MLA Pratapsingh Rane was also not part of the meeting. “He has already told the party, that he will not attend any meeting related to the election. He is not campaigning against his son Vishwajit,” Congress sources said.
The other MLAs who skipped the meeting were Felipe Neri Rodrigues, Jennifer Monserrate, Dayanand Sopte, Nilkant Halankar, Isidore Fernandes and Clafasio Dias.
Though the party’s campaign has already started, except for Lourenco and Ravi Naik, no other MLAs have joined the candidates in their door-to-door visits. “The MLAs were busy with the Assembly and now they have taken a small break to relax. MLAs will join the campaign by Monday,” Lourenco said.