PWD minister Churchill Alemao on Friday issued a stern warning to the Congress leadership that he will take on the Congress party head-on if he is denied a party ticket to contest from Navelim constituency in the forthcoming assembly elections.
Accusing his bete noire, former minister Luizinho Faleiro, of instigating people against him, Alemao warned that he would be compelled to explore “other plans” if the Congress failed to “rein in” Faleiro’s anti-Churchill moves.
“Even if the party leadership decides against giving me a ticket and instead favours Luizinho Faleiro (as its candidate from Navelim constituency), I will still contest from Navelim on my personal worth as ‘Churchill’ and get elected. Churchill has the capacity and support of the masses to take on the might of the Congress,” Churchill warned.
He made these statements while addressing party workers at a meeting held at Navelim late Friday evening, in the presence of state Congress chief Subhash Shirodkar.
What apparently prompted the Salcete heavyweight to shift to combat mode was a letter written by one woman from Navelim to Congress president Sonia Gandhi complaining against Alemao about damage done to agricultural lands on account of the bridges being built at Navelim.
Alemao felt Faleiro’s hand behind the letter and voiced his suspicions in as many words.
“The Congress party has to take a decision, whether or not it wants Churchill inside the party. The choice of the candidates should be made known at least six months before elections are scheduled,” he said.
Shirodkar told the gathering that the Congress party was solidly behind Alemao and advised him not to get worked up by such complaints. “The Congress party needs Churchill to get a majority. Don’t pay attention to what people say against you. There are many who want Churchill to exit from the party so as to further their own interests, but I will not allow that to happen,” said Shirodkar, or words to that effect, and told Alemao not to worry about getting the Congress ticket to contest from Navelim constituency. “Congress cannot afford to lose Churchill,” Shirodkar said.