Even as natural storms associated with the monsoon season are on the wane, political storms have occurring in Goa which is slated to go to polls in another about 20 months with football tournaments being the launch pads for aspiring candidates and alliances.
Sunday witnessed a host political featherweights and lightweights converging at Betalbatim ostensibly to witness the finals of All Goa Inter Village Late Joao Francisco Pacheco Memorial Football Tournament. Heavyweight politicians including Micky Pacheco, were conspicuous by their absence with the only exception being Mormugao MP Francisco Sardinha.
As expected, Zilla Panchayat Members, Sarpanchas and panchayat members from present Benaulim and newly carved Nuvem Assembly constituencies were present with full strength. But of greater significance was the fact that aspiring candidates for the assembly elections were also present.
Aspiring candidates present were Dr. Hubert Gomes from Benaulim, Subhash Faldessai from Quepem, Radhika Naik from Ponda and Avertano Furtado from Navelim. Their presence at the finals fuelled speculations that these were the likely candidates of NCP for the next elections.
However, Dr. Gomes has clarified that though Micky Pacheco’s supporters had approached him earlier, he would be an independent candidate. Mr. Avertano Furtado who was a close aide of Luizinho Faleiro is reportedly checking out with different political parties following rumours that Mr. Faleiro was seeking to return to local politics.
Last week eyebrows were raised over Luizinho Faleiro making his presence felt in the Fatorda constituency which is tipped to be reserved for ST.
Although Micky Pacheco was not present being out of station, the tournament had his stamp all over it and his partner Viola was standing in for him. Given the recent happenings in Goa vis-à-vis Micky Pacheco, the presence of Francisco Sardinha and Damodar Naik was questioned.
However, both justified their presence with the MP pointing out that since the Benaulim MLA had supported him during his elections, he was duty bound to stand by Micky as and when required. When asked whether Micky was victimized by police, Mr. Sardinha gave a politically correct answer by saying that he was not aware of it as he was in Delhi.
Mr. Damodar Naik brushed aside all speculation about his presence by stating that since he was invited he accepted the invitation. Significantly it was Mr. Naik’s party the BJP that soon after Nadia Torado’s death was the first to demand that Mr. Pacheco be dropped from the State cabinet.