NCP-Congress seat sharing woes continue in Goa

April 2nd, 2009 - 5:24 pm ICT by IANS  

Panaji, April 2 (IANS) The tug-of-war between the Congress and the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) ruling combine for the North Goa seat in the state shows no signs of abating.
The two parties had warmed up to a unique formula to handle the ticklish North Goa seat sharing issue, after tough posturing for weeks on end.

The respective central commands of both the parties had decided to offer the ticket to Jitendra Deshprabhu, a two-time Congress legislator, directing him to quit the party and join the NCP before filing his nominations, a fact which has not gone down well with the state NCP unit.

“The NCP also has leaders who could be fielded. Our party president himself performed creditably when he fought the North Goa seat in 2004. The Congress is imposing its leadership on us,” an NCP leader told IANS Thursday.

The NCP’s displeasure could also be gauged by the fact that the party’s state chief Wilfred D’Souza skipped a crucial Wednesday joint party meet citing “ill-health”.

The Congress, however, has welcomed the move, which would allow Deshprabhu to switch parties with the official blessings from the party bosses.

Speaking to IANS, state Congress president Subhash Shirodkar said that if the NCP or any other party wanted, the Congress was in a position of offer 10 more candidates for elections in the future.

“We are a national party with a long standing record. We are known for creating able leadership,” Shirodkar said.

Shirodkar also said that the party had no qualms about Deshprabhu leaving its ranks. “His (Deshprabhu) leaving the party will not affect the party at all. We are happy for him,” he said.

Deshprabhu told IANS that he would be resigning from the Congress Thursday and would join the NCP and file his nomination April 4. But there is still no confirmation from the NCP state leadership.

“We will be clarifying our position on the seat sharing issue soon,” a party spokesperson said.

Meanwhile, with the last date for filing nominations just two days away, a joint meeting called by both parties late Wednesday virtually stopped short of a fist fight.

NCP leader and minister for tourism Francisco Pacheco and Joaquim Alemao, a Congress minister abused each other in front of other legislators and party leaders forcing Chief Minister Digambar Kamat and Shirodkar to intervene.

The meeting ended with the NCP members storming out of the meeting demanding a public apology from Alemao.

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